College Football Playoff: Week 4 results from Michigan State perspective


Week four did not quite produce the fireworks of the previous weekend, but there were still a lot of meaningful results that shaped the College Football Playoff landscape.

Must Read: MSU Football: 5 takeaways from win over Central Michigan

In the aggregate, the weekend did not help Michigan State all that much and the case could be made that it hurt the Spartans quite a bit. Of course, as long as Michigan State keeps winning the other results are moot with respect to a playoff bid.

Last weekend, the Pac-12 started its conference season in earnest, the SEC had already featured a few key matchups the prior weekend, and this weekend the ACC, Big 12, and Big Ten all get their conference races started. With conference season in full swing, playoff fates will change on a weekly basis. This short season has already proven that anything can happen so we’ll keep tabs on the results to see how this will all shake out.

The most important result

Sep 26, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans linebacker Darien Harris (45) tackles Central Michigan Chippewas tight end Ben McCord (89) during the 1st quarter of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State 30, CMU 10: It wasn’t the prettiest victory for MSU, but it was good enough. The MSU defense (with significant assistance from the special teams) held Central to 10 points, the fewest they’ve given up all season.

The offense scored 30 points once again to end the game with a comfortable margin of victory. The national talking heads mostly glossed over this game, focusing on the 30-10 scoreline which belies the struggle MSU had through most of the first three quarters.

Results that help

Sep 26, 2015; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils running back Shaquille Powell (28) breaks away from the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defense and heads to the end zone for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of their game at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan 31, No. 22 BYU 0: Most Spartan fans wanted to see Michigan fall flat on its face against a ranked opponent, but this win actually helps MSU. It helps simply from a Big Ten perception standpoint, but more specifically if Michigan can take care of its next two opponents it will give State a quality and ranked opponent.

The story being told about the Big Ten in the beginning of the year was that it was Ohio State, Michigan State and then the rest. With this impressive win, Michigan is now ranked in the Top 25 with a good chance of being ranked in the top 15 with wins over Maryland and a ranked Northwestern. Having another quality win is especially important after the debacle that was Oregon this weekend.

Duke 34, No. 20 Georgia Tech 20: This one isn’t as directly helpful as the Michigan result, but helps in a couple of tangential ways. First, it basically ends Georgia Tech‘s bid for a playoff spot, however, with their strange offense they are still a legitimate threat to knock off Clemson or Florida State. Second, getting smoked by Duke knocks some of the luster off of Notre Dame‘s win against Georgia Tech.

Kentucky 21, No. 25 Missouri 13: Missouri had not impressed this year so this wasn’t too big a help, but now with this loss they can feel free to knock off an unsuspecting SEC East foe like Georgia or Florida.

Too early to tell but probably matter results

Sep 26, 2015; Tucson, AZ, USA; UCLA Bruins running back Soso Jamabo (1) is tackled by Arizona Wildcats safety Will Parks (11) during the fourth quarter at Arizona Stadium. UCLA won 56-30. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

No. 9 UCLA 56, No. 16 Arizona 30: This complete shellacking makes it seem like maybe this result won’t matter except remember when Oregon lost to Arizona but then still made the playoff? Arizona is still a potent team offensively and will most likely have a say in how the Pac-12 shakes out.

Results that could have helped and then they didn’t

Sep 26, 2015; Lubbock, TX, USA; Texas Christian University Horned Frogs quarterback Trevone Boykin (2) looks for running room against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the second half at Jones AT&T Stadium. TCU defeated Texas Tech 55-52. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

No. 3 TCU 55, Texas Tech 52: This could have been a super result for MSU, and TCU probably should have lost. They were down to 4th-and-goal from four-yard-line the with just 29 seconds left and the intended receiver was overthrown by Heisman candidate Trevone Boykin. However, the receiver got a hand on it and it caromed to his teammate in the back of the end zone. Time will tell if this is who TCU is, in which case they will be taking a few losses, or if this was just a blip on the way to a playoff season.

No. 3 Ole Miss 27, Vanderbilt 16: Vanderbilt gave Ole Miss all that it could handle after the Rebels’ big win against Alabama the previous week. Vanderbilt was tied in the third quarter and it took an Ole Miss blocked punt to finally turn the tide. Vanderbilt had chances to take the lead in the fourth quarter, but Ole Miss held them off and punched in an insurance touchdown to make the score look more respectable.

No. 14 Texas A&M 28, Arkansas 21 (OT): With Arkansas up eight late in the fourth quarter, it seemed that this new SEC contender was going to take its first lump. Instead, Texas A&M pulled out the improbable win and stays in the top 15 and in the playoff hunt.

No. 24 Oklahoma St 30, Texas 27: Oklahoma State has been moving up the AP poll and found itself undefeated and ranked going against a snake-bitten Texas team. Texas managed to implode again to give the game away to Okie State.

Results that hurt

Sep 26, 2015; Eugene, OR, USA; Utah Utes defensive end Jason Fanaika (51) rushes pst Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Tyler Johnstone (64) as Oregon Ducks quarterback Jeff Lockie (17) throws the ball at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

No. 18 Utah 62, No. 13 Oregon 20: Ouch, this one stings. Oregon was thoroughly beaten and at home, no less. MSU was given lots of credit for beating Oregon in week two, but the win is being all but discounted this week. Oregon fell out of the Top 25 and must be doing some serious soul-searching. If they can get their confidence back and make a run at the Pac-12 title then MSU’s win might look respectable again, but Oregon has a lot of issues to sort out before that can happen.

West Virginia 45, Maryland 6: It’s not like Maryland was supposed to win this game or even come close — WVU was a 17 point favorite — but this was an ugly, ugly beat down. Now if MSU doesn’t do the same, they will look weaker than the now-ranked West Virginia.

Key games this weekend

Next: Michigan State Football: Grades for win over CMU

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