Week 6 saw the hunt for the College Football Playoff grow in intensity, as then #3 Oklahoma and #7 Michigan fell to unranked opponents. The fall of the two undefeated Playoff hopefuls opened the door for a handful of other teams to jump right back into the Playoff picture. A team like Ohio State, now sitting at #9 in the country, could run the table and be right back in the mix. The loss for Oklahoma also placed the Playoff hopes of the Big 12 Conference squarely on the shoulders of #6 TCU, being the only unbeaten team in a conference that does not play for a conference championship game. Alabama and Clemson remain rooted as the #1 and #2 teams in the country and are the only two programs to receive votes for the #1 spot in the current poll. Penn State remained in the top four, moving up to #3 in place of Oklahoma, with Georgia moving up to round out the top four.
Out west, Washington and Washington State seem to be on a collision course that will leave the winner of the Apple Cup Playoff bound. The Huskies and Cougars each enter Week 7 undefeated at 6-0 and ranked in the top eight in the country. The winner of the PAC 12 North would still have to face off against #13 USC or Utah in the PAC 12 Championship Game. That being said, both the Cougars and the Huskies would likely be favored over any team from the PAC 12 South in the conference championship game.
The B1G saw Michigan fall, opening the door for Ohio State to climb back into the Playoff picture a bit more. The Buckeyes still play Michigan, as well as Michigan State and Penn State, all of whom are ranked after Week 6. OSU would also play in the Big Ten Championship Game if the team were to run the table, adding a fourth ranked opponent to what could be an impressive resume for a Playoff hopeful that lost early. With Oklahoma now falling behind them in the standings, look for the Buckeyes to really make a push for the program’s third Playoff appearance in four seasons.
As far as down south, little changed in a Week 6 that saw Clemson, Georgia, Alabama, and Miami (FL) all remain unbeaten. In the ACC, Florida State has suddenly become all but irrelevant in what has been a trying season for a variety of reasons, some of which have been out of the program’s control. Louisville also lost again, leaving Lamar Jackson doubtful to repeat as Heisman Trophy winner and the Cardinals unranked. The ACC has quickly become arguably the weakest conference of the Power Five’s. Meanwhile in the SEC, pleasant surprise Kentucky won again improving to 5-1 on the season. The SEC is never easy, but the Cats have four games in a row against unranked conference opponents. That is about as easy a stretch as you’ll find in the SEC and the stretch leads up to a potentially monstrous showdown between Kentucky and Georgia. If the Cats can head into that game against the Bulldogs 9-1, it could be a game to keep an eye on.
Halfway through the season, the Playoff landscape is beginning to take shape and some intriguing storylines are budding in the college football world. After six games, it looks safe to assume Clemson and Alabama will both be back in the Playoff. Out of the rest, I would say Washington State and Penn State have the best chances of joining the Tide and the Tigers. Ohio State has very good outside chances and the difference between Washington and Washington State seems to be a coin flip. It seems there are more good teams, albeit only two great ones, this season which will make for quite an exciting finish over the second half of the season.