Forde's Fab Four: Statement win vaults Oregon into projected playoff field

Every Sunday, I will play Selection Committee member, take a look at the College Football Playoff picture and offer my bracket. Feel free to agree or disagree. Forde’s Fab Four after Week 2:

Rose Bowl: No. 1 seed Oregon vs. No. 4 seed Florida State

The Ducks zoom in from out of my top four to the pole position based on their rousing rally to bury Michigan State on Saturday in Eugene. It’s the biggest win anyone has to date, and it came in impressive fashion after falling behind by two scores in the third quarter. Oregon hit the Spartans with a trademark flurry of explosive plays in the final 20 minutes, scoring the last 28 points of the game and putting more points on Mark Dantonio than any team has since the 2010 season. Playing at home certainly helped, but make no mistake: Michigan State is a good team, even if the Big Ten is not a good league as a whole. Beating the Spartans by 19 points is a major statement. Stat: Oregon’s 8.43 yards per play is third-best in the nation to date. This week: Oregon hosts Wyoming.

Florida State remains in the bracket despite an unspectacular performance in beating Citadel 37-12. That game was a throw-out, basically – FSU simply had to win without struggle, and it did that by taking a 34-0 lead after three quarters and backing off. The Seminoles earned their spot the week before by holding off Oklahoma State, 37-31, in Arlington. They weren’t great in that game, but it was a neutral-site victory over a good opponent. Although the goal here is to appraise this season as a completely blank canvas, Florida State’s abundant leftover talent from last year’s national championship team cannot be ignored. Stat: The Seminoles have been outrushed each of their last three games, dating back to BCS Championship Game last season. This week: Florida State has a bye.

Kenny Hill and Texas A&M posted 73 against Lamar on Saturday. (AP)
Kenny Hill and Texas A&M posted 73 against Lamar on Saturday. (AP)

Sugar Bowl: No. 2 seed Texas A&M vs. No. 3 seed Georgia

The Aggies crashed the party in stunning fashion the first week, routing favored South Carolina in Columbia. The preseason consensus on the Gamecocks as an SEC East contender could ultimately be proved wrong – they were not great in holding off East Carolina on Saturday – but until further results are in, a huge road win over a Southeastern Conference opponent remains a significant statement. Texas A&M followed that up with a 73-3 demolishing of Lamar on Saturday. At some point the Aggies’ defense will be tested in a close game, but it may be a while – like, October. Stat: Only Northern Illinois (187) has run more plays this year than the Aggies (177). This week: Rice comes to College Station.

The Bulldogs had a bye week after opening with a blowout of Clemson between the hedges. They looked like a much improved defensive team in their first game under coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, shutting out the Tigers after halftime, and running back Todd Gurley put himself prominently into the Heisman Trophy race with a nation-leading 293 all-purpose yards. We will get a handy comparative tool with Texas A&M this week when Georgia travels to South Carolina. Stat: Georgia held Clemson to 2.0 yards per rush, the lowest figure against an opponent from a power-five conference since Nov. 3, 2012.

Dropped out from last week: UCLA. Bruins got a pass for an unimpressive win against Virginia because it was on the road, early kickoff, cross-country travel against a power-five opponent. None of those apply to their even less impressive escape over Memphis at home Saturday night.

Also considered: Michigan State, USC, Notre Dame, Alabama, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, LSU, Mississippi and Auburn.