College Football Rankings: What Michigan’s Loss to MSU Means for Ohio State, Oregon & More


Another week, another team in the top 10 down.

This time, however, it was guaranteed: The Michigan State No.8 won 37-33 over Michigan’s No.6 at Spartan Stadium. Michigan State overcame a 30-14 second-half deficit, scoring touchdowns and 2-point conversions on back-to-back practices to tie the game late in the game. The Spartans’ defense was also huge, limiting the Wolverines to three points in the fourth quarter and forcing two turnovers during the period – including a decisive interception – to seal the victory.

MORE: How Michigan State Raised Its Rally

It was a huge game, not only in the way it was played, but also for the implications it has on the Big Ten and College Football Playoff races. Oh, and the ranking of the top 25 will also be revamped. The Wolverines’ loss puts them at a disadvantage for the final four games of the season, but doesn’t completely prevent them from competing for a championship.

With that, Sporting News breaks down who benefits the most from Michigan’s loss:

Rankings reflect the AP Top 25 / Coaches survey

BENDER: Michigan’s latest collapse brings the heat back on Jim Harbaugh

Ohio State (7-1)

Previous row: 5/5

The Buckeyes got a tougher game at Penn State than they might have expected, but still managed to win in double digits in a 33-24 win in the Horseshoe. It wasn’t the most impressive victory, but quarterback CJ Stroud was efficient and took care of the ball, completing 22 of 34 passes for 306 yards and one score. TreVeyon Henderson was also excellent, rushing 28 times for 152 yards and a score. Ohio State is expected to remain No.5 in both polls, but that’s secondary at this point in the season. Ohio State knew that an undefeated Big Ten East rival would lose their opener, which only means good things for moving forward in the division race.

Oregon (6-1)

Previous row: 7/8

Oregon is set to remain static going into the Week 10 standings, even with a 52-29 win over Colorado in the Pac-12 game – its first game that hasn’t ended with a possession difference since a win. 41-19 over Arizona in September. 25. Either way, the Spartans will almost certainly skip the Ducks in the next standings due to their top 10 victory over rival Wolverines. Conversely, the Buffaloes are 2-6 this season – not exactly the type of win that impresses voters.

The good thing for the Ducks is that they still have that precious win over the Buckeyes from the start of the season. If Oregon and Ohio State win and claim a playoff appearance as a one-loss conference champion, it will be extremely difficult for the selection committee to justify the exclusion of the Ducks.

Michigan State (7-0)

Previous row: 8/7

Sparty is clearly the big winner in this scenario. Mel Tucker not only became the first Michigan State coach to defeat the Wolverines in his first two attempts, but he also led his team to a likely bump in the standings. The Spartans are expected to jump Oregon in the upcoming standings, replacing Michigan in sixth place in the Top 25 AP and Coaches Poll.

The Spartans won games against Purdue and Maryland over the next two weeks before facing Ohio State and Penn State to end the season. Michigan State will not yet be crowned division champion.

MORE: Harbaugh explains his decision to play JJ McCarthy against Cade McNamara in game-changing fumble

Iowa (6-2)

Previous row: 9/10

How are the Hawkeyes doing in the Big Ten West? Not great. They looked completely lackluster in a 27-7 loss to Wisconsin in Week 9, not only excluding them from playoff consideration, but putting their status as potential division champion at risk as well. The Badgers (3-2 Big Ten record) are now second in the division, one place ahead of Iowa (3-2 Big Ten) thanks to their head-to-head victory.

Iowa, which suffered the same fate as Penn State in the East – losing a game, passing goodbye, then losing again – now needs help winning the division. But a 10-game winning season isn’t out of the question, given the Hawkeyes still play in the Northwest, Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota. The Gophers, who currently lead the division, will be a decisive game.

Olé Miss (6-2)

Previous row: 10/9

Lane Kiffin’s aggressive play calls returned to bite the Rebels against No.18 Auburn in a 31-20 loss. The Rebels have been pushed back three times to fourth in Auburn’s red zone. Ole Miss falls to No. 3 in the SEC West with the loss, requiring both Alabama and Auburn to lose if he is to represent the division in the SEC Championship game.

The Rebels’ loss is Michigan’s gain. Ole Miss will likely drop to 15 or less in the final round of rankings, almost certainly ensuring Michigan doesn’t fall below 10th.

Notre-Dame (6-1)

Previous row: 11/11

Notre Dame didn’t shrink into the prime-time spotlight, even as North Carolina and Sam Howell refused to walk away in what was ultimately a 44-34 Fighting Irish victory. Brian Kelly and Co. were perhaps the biggest winners on Saturday with Ole Miss, Iowa and Michigan all falling in front of them. They are expected to gain at least two spots – potentially three, if Michigan goes down far enough – putting them within striking distance of the playoffs before the first round of standings.

Michigan (7-1)

Previous row: 6/6

The bad news, of course, is that Michigan lost. The good news? It’s still likely a Top 10 team – it remains to be seen whether the Wolverines drop to 9th or 10th overall – and vying for a Big Ten Championship spot and playoff bid. The Wolverines need the Spartans to give up two games in the last four weeks – that’s not an impossible task, given they face the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions in back-to-back games – but need to bounce back in a big way to stay in the running.

Michigan must avoid an emotional hangover in a home game against Indiana next week, then turn around and beat the Nittany Lions in Week 11. Maryland is the penultimate game. of the season, followed by that very important game with Ohio State. There is still a lot of football to play and a lot of hope for Jim Harbaugh and Co.

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