College Football Playoff: Week 2 results from Michigan State perspective


Wow, what a week two that was. Michigan State took care of business against Oregon and is now sitting pretty with regard to national perception.

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The Spartans moved up to No. 4 in the polls and even received a couple of first place votes. The polls don’t have any influence on the College Football Playoff like they used to in the BCS system, but perceptions do matter and the polls are a reflection of the perception.

Michigan State hasn’t earned a spot, by any means, and there is a ton of work to be done, but the Spartans have done almost as well as they could have up to this point. They will be favored to win all of the rest of their games, save Ohio State.

If MSU can take care of the games it should win, it will likely come down to the matchup against the Buckeyes. Big Ten staff writer Brian Bennet made a case for both MSU and tOSU getting in, I don’t really buy it, but still an interesting read.

However, beating Oregon wasn’t the craziest part of week two, MSU was favored and should have won at home against a team with a new quarterback. The craziness came from games across the country that may have playoff implications with the SEC taking a bit of hit.

With the caveat that this is only the second week, let’s see what happened around the country from a College Football Playoff perspective.

The most important result

Sep 12, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans linebacker Chris Frey (23) celebrates after making a play during the fourth quarter against the Oregon Ducks at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans beat the Ducks 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

MSU 31, Oregon 28: This was not just the most important result from a MSU perspective, but really from a national perspective, as well.

Results that help

Sep 12, 2015; Little Rock, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema leaves the field after action against the Toledo Rockets War Memorial Stadium. The Rockets defeated the Razorbacks 16-12. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

BYU 35, No. 20 Boise St 24 : Boise State was one of those non-Power Five teams that could have made some noise in the College Football Playoff picture with an undefeated record. This eliminates Boise from consideration.

On the flip-side, it seems that BYU might have just taken Boise’s place. The big difference is that the Cougars still play several Power Five conference opponents including UCLA, Michigan, and Missouri. If they can get through that schedule, they will be deserving of serious consideration. BYU will be a team to pay attention to going forward.

Toledo 16, No. 18 Arkansas 12: The mighty SEC took a big hit with one of its ranked members losing to a MAC team. This comes after Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema spoke out about Ohio State’s weak conference schedule and the SEC’s superiority.

This helps State in that wins against Arkansas will now not look so great and losses to the Razorbacks will seem relatively bad. Basically, any loss by a ranked SEC team to a unranked non-SEC team is good for MSU.

Also Bielema might want to heed the advice: MACtion speaks louder than words.

Too early to tell but probably matter results

Sep 12, 2015; Starkville, MS, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Brandon Harris (6) drops back to pass under pressure from Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive back Will Redmond (2) during the 2nd quarter at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

No. 19 Oklahoma 31, No. 23 Tennessee 24 (2OT): Oklahoma was able to come back after being down 17-3 to Tennessee early to win in two overtimes. Ranked Big 12 vs. ranked SEC will likely play a role in the playoffs one way or another.

No. 14 LSU 21, No. 25 Mississippi St 19: LSU withstood a late Mississippi State charge to hang on to victory in this SEC Top 25 matchup. This is the first of many Top 25 SEC matchups and these will merit keeping an eye on.

Results that could have helped but then they didn’t

Sep 12, 2015; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer (14) celebrates after throwing the game-winning touchdown pass against the Virginia Cavaliers with twelve seconds left in the fourth quarter at Scott Stadium. The Fighting Irish won 34-27. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

No. 6 Auburn 27, Jacksonville St 20 (OT): What an incredible result this could have been in denting the SEC. In reality the result still helps MSU a bit anyway as Auburn dropped quite a bit in the polls. However, a loss could have really been the icing on the cake.

No. 21 Missouri 27, Arkansas St 20: Another SEC nail-biter that should have been a blowout. Arkansas State was actually up 17-10 at halftime, but wasn’t able to hang on to a win that could have been beneficial to MSU. This, among other results in week two, did weaken the perception of the SEC (for now, at least) and the weaker the SEC looks, the better for MSU.

No. 9 Notre Dame 34, Virginia 27: With Boise State losing, the most credible non-Power Five playoff threat will continue to be Notre Dame. A touchdown with 12 seconds left allowed the Fighting Irish to come from behind after losing their starting quarterback to injury — DeShone Kizer will replace Malik Zaire for the season.

Results that hurt

Sep 12, 2015; College Park, MD, USA; Bowling Green Falcons running back Fred Coppet (28) gains yardage before being tackled by diving Maryland Terrapins defensive back William Likely (4) at Byrd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Washington State 37, Rutgers 34 and Bowling Green 48, Maryland 27: A couple of Big Ten losses by future opponents do not help Michigan State. Nobody is expecting Maryland or Rutgers to be ranked when they play the Spartans, but they could have built a much more solid resume without embarrassing losses.

Key games this weekend

Next: Big Ten Football Power Rankings: Week 3