Big Ten needs a playoff pick-me-up after disastrous weekend

Big Ten stumbles as Oklahoma rises in CFP race (0:59)

With Ohio State and Penn State now firmly out of the playoff picture, Baker Mayfield and the Sooners eye a top-four spot. (0:59)

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer seemed as stunned as anyone Saturday following his team's 55-24 loss at unranked Iowa. The 31-point loss tied for the largest ever suffered by a Meyer-coached team and was his worst loss against an unranked opponent. Meyer said he didn't see it coming, though he conceded he was concerned about the possibility of a letdown following such an emotional win over Penn State the previous week.

"I didn't see it, and I tried to watch very closely like I normally do and I didn't see the signs," he said. "Usually I do see signs. If I do, I address them and I move forward. But I didn't see them."

While Meyer struggled to find words beyond "turnovers" to explain his team's collapse, Penn State coach James Franklin had plenty to say following his team's 27-24 loss at Michigan State. There was the three-hour, 22-minute weather delay, and of course, the pressure that comes with being a contender for the College Football Playoff -- months of expectations that began the minute last season ended.

"We're not mature enough to handle that," Franklin said, "and I don't know if anybody is, to be honest with you, so we're going to get back to what I know works, our formula."

The upsets in the Big Ten East were the biggest playoff plotlines from Week 10, as the stock of the entire conference dropped as a result. While the Big Ten took a step back, others made the most of their opportunities.

Here's a look at the CFP winners and losers from Week 10:


The Big Ten: It's undefeated Wisconsin or bust. There's no way around it. The Big Ten East is now guaranteed to have a two-loss winner, as Ohio State and Michigan State are the only teams remaining that control their own destiny, and they play each other in Columbus this week. Penn State, with losses to Ohio State and Michigan State, is officially out of the CFP conversation.

It's the worst possible scenario for Wisconsin, which has zero ranked opponents on its regular-season schedule and desperately needs to knock off a highly ranked opponent in the Big Ten championship game to boost its résumé. The past 12 CFP semifinalists have each entered the bowl season with at least two wins over ranked opponents, and they have averaged 4.3 wins against ranked opponents.

Wisconsin has to win out and win convincingly, leaving no doubt it's one of the top four teams in the country. While the Badgers should move up a few spots this week as a direct result of the losses by Ohio State and Penn State, it's still unlikely to crack the committee's top five because Georgia, Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson and Oklahoma all won. In fact, it's more likely Miami jumps Wisconsin after earning a win against ranked Virginia Tech.

Oklahoma State: The Cowboys' playoff hopes are over now that they have suffered their second loss of the season, even if they wind up winning the Big 12 title. With losses to TCU and Oklahoma, Oklahoma State has squandered the biggest opportunities it had to impress the committee.


The ACC: Clemson's win at NC State, coupled with Miami's win over Virginia Tech, was the best-case scenario for the ACC. The conference still has two legitimate CFP contenders and the possibility of a one-loss Clemson and undefeated Miami meeting in the ACC championship game is a win for both teams' playoff hopes. Remember, though, that Miami still has to play Notre Dame.

The SEC: As long as Georgia and Alabama keep winning, so does the SEC. With Kentucky's loss, Georgia officially clinched the SEC East. Alabama, meanwhile, finally beat a ranked opponent in LSU, a much-needed boost to its strength of schedule.

Don't forget about two-loss Auburn, which hosts Georgia this week. If Auburn can beat Georgia and Alabama during the regular season and win the SEC title, it's likely to become the first two-loss team to make the CFP. No team has a bigger opportunity down the stretch to impress the committee, leaving the SEC with three remaining contenders.

The selection committee: With each of its top five teams winning, the first ranking was validated, and the top of the second ranking shouldn't be too difficult.

There could be a debate about the No. 4 spot, between Clemson and Oklahoma, but considering the Sooners' unimpressive defensive performance in their win at Oklahoma State, they're likely to stay on the bubble this week. Oklahoma gave up 661 total yards and 52 points in the win. It also had no answer for running back Justice Hill, who racked up 228 rushing yards. The committee could very easily justify status quo at the top, and it no longer has to worry about an Ohio State-Oklahoma debate.

Oklahoma: The Sooners kept their playoff hopes alive, setting up a critical home game against TCU this week. Both teams have only one loss -- both to Iowa State -- and it didn't help either that the Cyclones lost to West Virginia. Even with Ohio State's second loss, though, OU's Week 2 win in Columbus will still help separate it from CFP contenders with a weaker schedule.

Notre Dame: The Irish overcame injuries to quarterback Brandon Wimbush (hand) and leading rusher Josh Adams, who "just wasn't feeling right," according to coach Brian Kelly. By beating Wake Forest, Notre Dame earned another respectable win before heading to Miami on Saturday (ABC and ESPN App, 8 p.m. ET). Notre Dame and Clemson both have three wins over teams currently ranked in the CFP top 25, the most in the FBS.