CFP Final Push

With only two weeks left in the college football season, I have narrowed down the only 10 teams left that I believe to have a shot at the College Football Playoff.  The committee has shown how important strength of schedule is, so even if North Carolina wins out I see no chance at them being in the CFP, same goes for Navy.

  1. Clemson (11-0, 8-0): With wins over some of the committee’s favorite teams in Notre Dame and Florida State and an upcoming bout with North Carolina.  The zero in the loss column is what is keeping them at #1 with some subpar performances the last few weeks.  Two more wins and they’re in.
  2. Alabama (10-1, 6-1): Love em or hate em, the Tide are looking like one of the top teams in the nation once again.  Haters will look to their “bad” loss and the fact when the new rankings come out Tuesday, they might have not a win over a CFP team.  Lovers will point to strength of schedule and Derrick Henry, and they have a good point.
  3. Iowa (11-0, (7-0):  Some poor FPI and strength of schedules where thought to hurt the Hawkeyes, and now they stand as one of only two undefeated teams left in the nation.  I am a huge proponent of winning being the most important win, and that is all this win has done.  A Big 10 Title will absolutely put this team in the playoff, provided they can do what Michigan State did not and win at Nebraska.
  4. Michigan State (10-1, 6-1):  I was never very high on the Spartans until Michael Geiger’s game-winning field goal went through in Columbus.  But all of a sudden State has wins over Oregon, Michigan, and Ohio State and control their destiny to win the Big 10 and make the playoff.  A visit from Penn State won’t be easy but if Connor Cook can get healthy I give this team a great chance against Iowa in Indianapolis on December 5th.
  5. Notre Dame (10-1):  NOTAH DAME looked brutal against a really bad BC at Fenway Park, but Notre Dame has looked all season and is still a top team.  DeShone Kizer will need to play much better when they visit a really strong Stanford team next Saturday.  A win against the Cardinal will give the Irish a good chance at the Playoff, but they still might need some help with other results around the country to be playing on New Year’s Eve.
  6. Oklahoma (10-1, 7-1): The Sooners are looking very strong after holding off a ferocious TCU rally on Saturday night.  They will head to Stillwater for a monster Bedlam matchup with Oklahoma State to determine at least a share of the Big 12 Title.  A win and they will be in good shape, but let’s not forget that loss to Texas, who Notre Dame beat 38-3 in their opener.
  7. Baylor (9-1, 6-1):  Briles finally picked up a win against a ranked opponent when Baylor handled Oklahoma State on the road.  They face TCU next Friday in a matchup that has lost a lot of it’s muster these teams recent losses.  Baylor needs to win out and hope that Oklahoma State wins, hoping the committee sees them as the Big 12 Champ with their win over the Cowboys.  However, without being able to win the Big 12 outright might really hurt this team once again.
  8. Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1):  The Cowboys looked to be in good shape before losing to Baylor and now they need help.  With only one win over a ranked team, and TCU may soon drop from the rankings, Oklahoma State needs to look really strong in the Bedlam game and hope for losses from Baylor and Notre Dame to have a shot, in my opinion.  That is not out of the question, but it will be tough.
  9. Ohio State (10-1, 6-1):  The Buckeyes waited until the end of November to play a quality opponent, and their offense decided to not show up, only scoring off of Michigan State fumbles.  Ohio State now has zero wins over CFP teams and need some help to even make the Big 1o Title game.  If Penn State pulls an upset over the Spartans next week and Ohio State beats Michigan the Buckeyes might have a shot, but it looks bleak at best at this point.
  10. Florida (10-1, 7-1):  This team has looked abysmal the last 3 weeks, barely squeaking out wins against Vanderbilt, South Carolina, and Florida Atlantic.  But the Gators finish with matchups against Florida State and Alabama, and wins in those games would probably put them in the playoff as a one-loss SEC team.  I do not see that happening, but if it did, the committee would fall in love with this team.

If Clemson and Alabama win out, I expect them to both be in the playoff with no questions asked.  The Big 10 Champion is close to a lock as well, which leaves the Big 12 and Notre Dame left fighting for the last spot.  Notre Dame has a huge leg up on those teams in strength of schedule and Oklahoma due to their win over Texas.  If the Irish lose to Stanford I think the Big 12 Champ will get in, but if Notre Dame is 11-1 then the committee will have some tough choices to make come December 6th.