Some had to toil far more than others, but as has been the case for most of the season, the major favorites all survived a wonky Week 11. Ohio State, Georgia and Alabama all won by four to five touchdowns. Michigan, Florida State, Oregon and Texas all fended off late comeback attempts of varying degrees of success. Washington trailed Utah at halftime but rallied to win, just as Louisville did Thursday night after entering the fourth quarter trailing Virginia.
We continue to cruise toward what should be a fascinating final couple of regular-season weeks, and we continue to do so with the smallest number of title-related upsets and surprises. But there are always surprises elsewhere, and not just of the "Jimbo Fisher gets fired right after winning a game by 41" variety. Just this past Saturday, Missouri and UCF plowed Tennessee and Oklahoma State, respectively, with unexpected ease, Texas Tech upset Kansas, and Iowa scored 22 points!
As we get ready for the season's denouement, then, let's look at a few more surprises. Who has most greatly defied expectations this season? Who has improved or regressed the most?
Let's talk surprises.
Biggest increase in projected win total
Despite all the roster turnover and the effects of the transfer portal, the preseason SP+ projections seemed to do a pretty good job of properly setting expectations for most FBS teams. About two-thirds of the 133 teams have a current projected win total within 1.5 games of where they started in August, and expectations for teams such as Notre Dame (8.8 projected wins in the preseason, 8.9 now) and Penn State (9.6 then, 9.8 now) have barely moved a millimeter.
There have been some pretty big whiffs, however. It wouldn't be fun if there weren't. Let's look at some of the more pleasant surprises in the country, starting with the power conferences.