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Playoff Picture: Week 7

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We take a weekly look at what happened in college football and how it will affect the race for the College Football Playoff.

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Iowa’s dream season went off the rails as Purdue dominated the Hawkeyes in Iowa City.
Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Last Saturday didn’t feature the most impactful slate of games ever when it comes to the race for the CFP (neither does this week, for that matter), but there were still plenty of results that provided clarity for people like us. However, we are past the halfway point of the season and still have many more questions than we have answers.

BIGGEST WINNERS:

Georgia - Georgia handled Kentucky in a workmanlike 30-13 win that, despite being a 14-7 game at half, never felt in jeopardy from the Bulldogs’ perspective. This team has emerged from its toughest three-game stretch of the season with wins by 37, 24, and 17 points and is not likely to be challenged the rest of the regular season — unless you can convince us that Florida has something in store for the Bulldogs in two weeks. But the Gators are a bit of a train wreck right now and are certainly no better than the teams Georgia has been dismantling on a weekly basis. The trip to Tennessee on Nov. 13 bears monitoring, but the Vols are not in Georgia’s class either.

Oklahoma State - Texas was quite frankly taking it to the Cowboys for the majority of the first half and looked well on its way to a 24-3 lead that would be tough to erase, but a timely jumping of a slant route resulted in an 85-yard pick six that brought Oklahoma State within a touchdown. From there, the Cowboys controlled the game, and they later scored the contest’s final 19 points en route to a statement road win that helped vault them into this week’s AP top 10. Has Okie State separated itself as the chief threat to Oklahoma in the Big XII this season? Check back with us next week after their trip to Iowa State.

BIGGEST LOSERS:

Iowa - We implied after Iowa’s somewhat fortuitous win over Penn State that the Hawkeyes were not a team that had the makings of a true Playoff threat, and it only took a matter of days for karma to turn against them. Purdue came into Iowa City and outgained Iowa by nearly 200 yards in a 24-7 victory that didn’t even feel that close. The Hawkeyes remaining schedule is still not particularly daunting, but this performance has us wondering if there aren’t more losses to come.

Kentucky - We knew going in that Kentucky would be overmatched against Georgia, and the battle for the SEC East played out about as one would have expected. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, that game was basically their one and only shot at a Playoff berth — as they don’t have enough potential quality wins left or enough of a pedigree to make it as an 11-1 team barring significant carnage. Couple that with an extremely low chance to backdoor their way into the SEC title game, and this will simply max out as just a great season for the Wildcats no matter how well they perform from here on out.

Texas - The Longhorns are developing a penchant for losing games in which they have early double-digit leads, and while this program looks incrementally improved under Sarkisian, there were clearly too many shortcomings for this to be a season where Texas kicked in the door to the Playoff. If the Longhorns could have pulled off wins over the Oklahoma schools like they were in position to do, we would have something to talk about here. But alas, Texas is ... not back.

Arizona State - The Sun Devils had been flying under the radar as the PAC 12’s best non-Oregon contender to crash the Playoff party, but they were outscored 28-0 in the second half against Utah after building a 21-7 halftime lead and suffered a loss that knocks them off the periphery of the conversation.

GAMES TO WATCH:

No. 16 Wake Forest @ Army - Noon
Clemson @ No. 23 Pitt - 3:30 p.m.
No. 8 Oklahoma State @ Iowa State - 3:30 p.m.
No. 10 Oregon @ UCLA - 3:30 p.m.
No. 5 Ohio State @ Indiana - 7:30 p.m.