7. USC – The Trojans are the PAC-12’s last hope for a long-desired playoff bid, which could mean the world for the conference. This is practically a home game since the Rose Bowl is just across town. The following weekend USC plays Notre Dame. The playoffs start right now for Lincoln Riley.
8. Alabama – The Tide aren’t likely to break the Top Four anymore this season, but they showed they still have something left in the tank against Ole Miss. Now it’s time for that November tradition unlike any other: Alabama against a low-tier FCS program. Godspeed, Austin Peay.
9. Clemson – The Tigers need to win against Miami and South Carolina, but not even blowouts will get them any higher than this unless somebody ahead of them stumbles (cough…USC…cough). I do think a victory over North Carolina combined with an ACC Championship would give them a boost over teams that are idle during Championship Weekend. Will it be enough to get them past Tennessee or the loser of Michigan at Ohio State? I’m hesitant to go there.
10. Oregon – The Ducks could tumble a bit lower, but I tend to think the committee will keep them in the Top 10. Washington isn’t a bad team, and I do think the committee might consider some of the circumstances around Nix’s health during the game.