Another week of the College Football Playoff rankings have come and gone and now it’s time to break things down. Looking at the top ten of the rankings, we can see some patterns with how the committe views these teams. Head-to-head and type of loss come into play. With only a few weeks left in the season, each game becomes magnified and these teams only have a short time left to make their case.
10. Utah Utes (8-2, next game #12 Oregon)
Utah entered the season with high hopes of possibly making a run to the Playoff but an opening day loss to the Florida Gators all but shattered that. They can still have a very successful season but it starts with taking down the Ducks on the road this week. Complete chaos would need to ensue for them to have a chance to move up far enough to number four.
9. Clemson Tigers (9-1, next game vs. Miami)
Clemson is still alive for the playoff but they must win out and hope others loss. The fact that they are behind Alabama and LSU tells me that the committee doesn’t view them as a better football team. They play in the ACC which can go against them in this arguement. The Tigers need to make statements to end the year if they want a chance.
8. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-2, next game vs. Austin Peay)
Somehow Alabama is still alive in this contest. Two last second losses to the fifth and sixth ranked teams in the country will do that to you. The Crimson Tide will not be playing for the SEC title but could find their way into the Playoff if things fall the right way. They would likely need Georgia to keep winning, USC to lose to UCLA, and Tennessee to drop another game. It’s slim but never say never.
7. USC Trojans (9-1, next game @ #16 UCLA)
The Trojans are an interesting case. They don’t have many statement wins on the year and do have one loss. It was to Utah during an emotional charged game for the Utes. And they only lost by a point as well. They end the year with UCLA and Notre Dame. Win those and they likely meet Oregon for the PAC-12 title. If they can win the rest of their games and conference, it would be difficult to not seriously consider them for the Playoff.
6. LSU Tigers (8-2, next game vs. UAB)
Maybe the most interesting team of them all is LSU. They have two losses on the year but have taken down some of the better teams around the country. They seem to have finally found their stride and will be playing for the SEC championship game against Georgia. If the Tigers win out and take down the Bulldogs to win the SEC, you have to put them into the Playoff. They would be the first two loss team to ever make it. It’s a longshot but not completely crazy.
5. Tennessee Volunteers (9-1, next game @ South Carolina)
The Volunteers are sitting pretty. Depite losing to Georgia, they still find themselves right outside the Playoff. Just waiting for someone to slip up. The committee obviously thinks they are a great team and may be able to put them into the top-four again soon. They have an easy schedule to close the season and like Alabama, won’t play for the conference title but still have a very real shot to make the Playoff.
4. TCU Horned Frogs (10-0, next game @ Baylor)
TCU is undefeated and deserves to be where they are right now. However, they may be the weakest link among the teams on this list. They play in a bad Big-12 conference and have won some games that they probably should have lost. Still credit to them for winning every game so far. They have a tough contest with Baylor this weekend and this is a team that can’t slip up at all if they want to reach the Playoff.
3. Michigan Wolverines (10-0, next game vs. Illinois)
Once again, the Wolverines find themselves fighting for a Playoff spot. Yet, nothing likely matters until next week when they play Ohio State. That is the game that will decide a lot for the Playoff. They shouldn’t take Illinois lightly but they have shown that they are good enough to handle them. Hopefully both Michigan and Ohio State take care of business this weekend and enter their matchup undefeated.
2. Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0, next game @ Maryland)
Much like Michigan, the Buckeyes are looking ahead to next week. Maryland can give them a tough game but it would be a major shock if Ohio State dropped this game. Having two 11-0 teams go up against each other in one of the best rivalries in all of sports would do wonders for ratings. Again, let’s hope we see it.
1. Georgia Bulldogs (10-0, next game @ Kentucky)
Unless the Bulldogs drop a game before the SEC championship game, they are in the Playoff. They have been the best team all year long and have almost a 99% chance to reach the Playoff.