6. Saint Mary’s Gaels
The Gaels entered last week with a 3-5 record, including losses to Boise State and Weber State. It was looking as if they were entering “autobid or bust” territory, or at least needing one win over rival Gonzaga to have any at-large hopes. But after beating Cleveland State, Saint Mary’s went on the road to take out previously unbeaten Colorado State, a win that’s guaranteed to be a Quad 1 victory.
That win did wonders for the metrics of the Gaels, taking its NET rankings from around 150 to inside the top 100. There’s still plenty of work for them to do but assuming they can win its final five non-con matchups, they’ll get into WCC play with a resume good enough to be in the at-large discussion.
5. Clemson Tigers
The Tigers took on a pair of unbeaten teams last week in South Carolina and TCU, two teams who may not be all that good by the time league play gets going for both of them. That’s why Clemson needed to beat them, to simply make sure they don’t start racking up potential bad losses.
With those wins, the Tigers stand at 9-0 and have currently four Quad 1 victories, including road wins over Alabama and Pittsburgh. The “bad losses” are what doomed the ACC team a year ago and so far, they’ve been perfect in avoiding those.