Wake Forest, Michigan State Losses Have Different Impacts

Wake Forest footballs

The Storyline

After singing the praises of undefeated Michigan State and Wake Forest in last week’s edition of “The Storyline,” the story this week is that neither team survived the weekend unscathed.

Both had tough road games, with Michigan State losing, 40-29, to No. 35 Purdue, while Wake Forest lost to North Carolina, 58-55. Both teams remain in the thick of their respective conference races, but the loss was more damaging for Wake Forest, since the ACC’s preseason favorites — including North Carolina and Clemson — have underperformed this year. Wake’s loss almost certainly will leave the ACC on the outside looking in when the playoff field is announced.

Michigan State, on the other hand, plays in the mighty Big Ten East Division, the best division in college football outside the SEC West. The Spartans will still win the division if they win out, so they control their destiny and would almost certainly still make the playoff field if they win the Big Ten Championship game. Sparty gets a breather back in East Lansing this weekend, hosting Maryland, and if they can avoid the upset bug, they should get back into the win column.

Meanwhile, the week’s premier contest was again in the SEC West, with No. 9 Auburn squaring off against No. 10 Texas A&M. The game was a dogfight, with the Aggies clinging to a 6-3 lead after three quarters before pulling away at home for a 20-3 win that wasn’t as easy as it sounds.

The division race is far from over, with a lot of big games still left to play, starting this weekend when A&M – now ranked No. 8 – pays a visit to No. 13 Ole Miss, putting the Aggies in the spotlight yet again in a season where they still have high hopes of a playoff run. An A&M win Saturday would knock Ole Miss out of the running with a third conference loss, but the two-loss Aggies would then hold head-to-head wins over both Alabama and Auburn heading into the final three weeks of the regular season. They would likely need Auburn to upset Alabama in the regular season finale while winning out to get to the league championship game, where they’ll have to find a way to beat Georgia – but the potential path is still there.

The College Football America Top 30

Georgia routed Missouri to remain undefeated at No. 1, while Alabama survived a scare against LSU to hang onto No. 2. No. 3 Oklahoma was idle, and No. 4 Ohio State held onto its spot with a gritty win at Nebraska.

Michigan State’s loss drops the Spartans from No. 5 to No. 9, while the Oregon Ducks move up into that five slot. Cincinnati and Notre Dame maintain their positions at No. 6 and No. 7 while Texas A&M settles in at No. 8 ahead of Michigan State after the big win against Auburn. Michigan rounds out the Top 10, easing up a spot after roughing up Indiana.

The only newcomer to the Top 30 is No. 28 Purdue — up seven spots after the upset win over Michigan State.

1. Georgia (9-0)

2. Alabama (8-1)

3. Oklahoma (9-0)

4. Ohio State (8-1)

5. Oregon (8-1)

6. Cincinnati (9-0)

7. Notre Dame (8-1)

8. Texas A&M (7-2)

9. Michigan State (8-1)

10. Michigan (8-1)

11. Oklahoma State (8-1)

12. Auburn (6-3)

13. Ole Miss (7-2)

14. Iowa (7-2)

15. Penn State (6-3)

16. Wisconsin (6-3)

17. NC State (7-2)

18. Clemson (6-3)

19. Arkansas (6-3)

20. Baylor (7-2)

21. Pittsburgh (7-2)

22. Wake Forest (8-1)

23. Kansas St. (6-3)

24. Iowa State (6-3)

25. Kentucky (6-3)

26. BYU (8-2)

27. Utah (6-3)

28. Purdue (6-3)

29. Virginia (6-3)

30. Minnesota (6-3)

Published by Kendall Webb

Kendall Webb is a sports writer and photographer based in Middle Tennessee. He is a graduate of Kilgore College (A.A., 1992), the University of Texas at Austin (B.J., 1995) and Middle Tennessee State University (B.S., 2000), and is currently a master's candidate (A.L.M.) in Harvard University's extension studies program with a major in journalism.

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