As college football's 2015 regular season heads down the home stretch, Week 11 made sure to deliver more chaos. The top five teams all won, but four of the top 10 teams in the College Football Playoff top 25 lost on Saturday, likely eliminating the Pac-12 from playoff contention, while the Big 12 continues to be unpredictable from week to week.
Below, check out our recaps from Saturday's notable games, plus five takeaways from Week 11.
Oklahoma 44, Baylor 34
Oregon 38, Stanford 36
Alabama 31, Mississippi State 6
Oklahoma State 35, Iowa State 31
Arkansas 31, LSU 14
Michigan 48, Indiana 41 (2OT)
Houston 35, Memphis 34
TCU 23, Kansas 17
Missouri 20, BYU16
Georgia 20, Auburn 13
1. Pac-12's playoff hopes might be finished
One by one, the Pac-12's ranked teams fell on Saturday, likely taking the league out of the playoff race. First, No. 7 Stanford lost 38-36 to Oregon, coming a two-point conversion short of forcing overtime. Then, No. 10 Utah lost 37-30 in double-OT at Arizona. If that wasn't enough, deep into the night, No. 19 UCLA lost 31-27 to Washington State after Gabe Marks caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Luke Falk with three seconds left.
The Pac-12 is a good league with depth. It has a lot of quality teams. It also, unfortunately, has no great teams, which means it is going to get left out of the four-team College Football Playoff, barring complete chaos over the last three weeks of the season that allows a two-loss team to sneak in.
Strangely, the league's playoff chances were ruined Saturday by the two disappointing teams that won their divisions last year. Oregon has three losses -- including one by 42 points to Utah -- but it has hit its stride behind a healthy Vernon Adams at quarterback, and it delivered with very Oregon-like big plays in taking down the Cardinal, who, for a stretch, had played as well as any team in the country around midseason.
With injuries and other issues, Arizona had fallen off the map with five losses, but it recovered to stun Utah at home, becoming bowl-eligible in the process, and turn the South Division into a mess. Technically, USC now controls its own destiny in the division, with both the Trojans and Utes sitting at 5-2 in the league.
It's been a fun season of Pac-12 football, and Saturday night was one of the most entertaining stretches of the fall. That will have to serve as a consolation for the Pac-12, because it is highly likely now that the league will be at least one of the conferences left out of the second-ever playoff. As the Big 12 knows too well, it's not a position that any conference wants to be in.
2. Oklahoma State is Big 12's last unbeaten … barely
Week 11 both helped and hurt the Big 12. On one hand, Stanford and Utah losing knocked a couple teams from the one-loss ranks, and it would be hard to see a two-loss Pac-12 champion jumping a one-loss Big 12 champion. If three playoff spots go to the SEC, ACC and Big Ten champions, the debate could come down to Notre Dame (who still plays Stanford) vs. the Big 12 champion for the fourth bid.
Notre Dame beat Wake Forest 28-7 on Saturday, but its resume may ultimately get devalued a bit, as one of its best wins, Temple, lost to South Florida, and its best remaining opponent, Stanford, also lost.
Of course, the Big 12 is still a mystery for the next few weeks as the backloaded schedule continues. Oklahoma upset Baylor 44-34 on the road in Waco on Saturday, while Oklahoma State survived what was almost another disastrous trip to Ames, beating Iowa State 35-31. With that win and Baylor's loss, Oklahoma State is the only undefeated team in the Big 12, sitting at 10-0 but still searching for respect.
The next two weeks, Oklahoma State has more chances to earn respect, as it welcomes both Baylor and Oklahoma to Stillwater. If the Cowboys finish undefeated, they will not get left out of the playoff. But they've also had an uncommon number of comebacks and close wins this season, and it's still hard to see them actually winning both of these next two games. With one bad loss to Texas but a nonconference win over Tennessee, it's possible that Oklahoma is the Big 12's best hope -- especially with Baylor QB Seth Russell out for the season and TCU QB Trevone Boykin's status unclear after he hurt his ankle in a close win vs. Kansas. All four teams are still in the mix, though, and while the Big 12 should understandably be nervous about its playoff hopes, Saturday proved that we can't make any assumptions just yet.
3. Big Ten frontrunners all survive
On a day in which four top-10 teams lost, the Big Ten can breathe a sigh of relief. The Big Ten entered Saturday with six ranked teams. All five that played won, setting up an enormously important final two weeks of the regular season for the conference.
No. 3 Ohio State, with J.T. Barrett back at quarterback after his one-game suspension, beat Illinois 28-3, in a game that wasn't always pretty but got the job done with ease. Ezekiel Elliott racked up 27 carries for 181 yards and two touchdowns, setting up a late-season Heisman push, and the Buckeyes held the Fighting Illini out of the end zone.
No. 5 Iowa, Ohio State's fellow unbeaten team, held off Minnesota to win the Floyd of Rosedale 40-35. The teams traded touchdowns for the last 16 minutes, but Iowa built enough of a cushion in the first half to hold on, behind 195 rushing yards and three TDs from LeShun Daniels.
No. 14 Michigan survived a thriller 48-41 in double-OT at Indiana, keeping its playoff hopes alive behind 440 yards and six touchdowns passing from Jake Rudock, and despite an uncharacteristic 307 rushing yards allowed. The Wolverines forced OT on a touchdown from Rudock to Jehu Chessen -- who had 10 catches for 207 yards -- as time expired in regulation. Michigan has won games with incredible finishes in two of the last three weeks, joining the Minnesota game, to stay alive in the Big Ten title race.
No. 18 Northwestern beat Purdue 21-14, and No. 13 Michigan State beat Maryland 24-7 despite a shoulder injury to quarterback Connor Cook, who is expected to be OK going forward.
No top Big Ten team lost in Week 11, and a bunch of big games are coming up. Next Saturday features Michigan State at Ohio State, Michigan at Penn State and Northwestern at Wisconsin. The following weekend features Ohio State at Michigan, Iowa at Nebraska and Penn State at Michigan State.
In an ideal world, for the Big Ten's playoff hopes, Iowa and Ohio State would both win out, setting up a Big Ten Championship Game showdown that serves as a play-in game for the College Football Playoff. A one-loss Big Ten champion could easily get into the playoff, but everything would be a lot easier if either the Buckeyes or Hawkeyes go 13-0.
4. Alabama distancing itself from rest of SEC
You could look at Saturday and say that Alabama's best win took a hit, and that would be true. No. 9 LSU, who was No. 2 when Alabama demolished it a week ago, got demolished again by unranked Arkansas … the same Arkansas that lost to Toledo and Texas Tech back in September. In other words: The SEC isn't nearly as strong as hoped this year.
It's Alabama … then Florida … then everyone else. But despite Alabama's loss to Ole Miss in September, it's hard to take anything away from the Crimson Tide, who look every bit like a top-four team and playoff frontrunner. Now ranked second, Alabama followed up its impressive win over LSU with an impressive 31-6 win at No. 17 Mississippi State. The Tide sacked Dak Prescott nine times and shut down the Bulldogs running game, and they made a handful of big plays to make it all look easy. The charge was led by tailback Derrick Henry, who racked up 204 rushing yards -- his third 200-yard game in four weeks -- and is a Heisman frontrunner as Alabama bolsters its playoff resume.
Groan about Alabama in the top four all you want, but it's abundantly clear that this team is one of the best in college football. Henry might win the Heisman, and the defensive front is one of the best we've seen in years.
5. Top-ranked Clemson moves to 10-0
By no means was it a great win, but there is no bad win on the road in a conference game, even if that games is against Syracuse. Clemson struggled to put Syracuse away all afternoon, as the Orange kept responding to the Tigers' runs. Clemson scored twice in the first three minutes, but the game was tied 10 minutes later. The game went on like this, with Syracuse chipping away at Clemson's leads but never quite closing the gap, until the Tigers finally won 37-27.
It's hardly the finest win for the No. 1 team against a team that is 3-7, but Deshaun Watson threw for 360 yards and ran for 105 yards -- his second straight game with over 400 total yards -- and Clemson emerged unscathed, avoiding a colossal letdown after last week's emotional win over Florida State. Alabama may have made up some ground this week, but 10-0 Clemson still deserves to be ranked No. 1.