List of legit contender’s remaining important games
- Alabama (No. 13 LSU, Miss St, Auburn, possibly Georgia/Florida in SEC championship game)
- Georgia (No. 13 LSU, No. 14 Florida, No. 18 Kentucky, No. 21 Auburn, possibly Alabama in SEC championship game )
- Ohio State (MSU, No. 12 Michigan, possibly Wisconsin in Big Ten championship game)
- Clemson (No. 20 NC State, maybe No. 16 Miami ACC championship)
- Notre Dame (At USC)
- West Virginia (No. 9 Texas, No. 11 Oklahoma, conference championship)
- Washington (No. 17 Oregon, No. 19 Colorado, Stanford, conference championship)
- Penn State (MSU, Iowa, No. 12 Michigan, No. 15 Wisconsin, conference championship)
- Texas (No. 6 WVU, OK State, conference championship)
- Oklahoma (No. 6 WVU, conference championship)
- Michigan (No. 15 Wisconsin, MSU, No. 8 PSU, No.3 OSU, conference championship)
- Wisconsin (No. 8 Penn State, conference championship)
- LSU (No. 2 Georgia, No. 24 Mississippi State, No. 1 Alabama, No. 22 Texas A&M, conference championship)
- Florida (No. 2 Georgia, conference championship)
Every college football season we get to this point. Five major conferences, only four spots in the college football playoff. Who is getting left out?
Well, for the most part it usually works itself out. The one example of a team being left out that people usually point to was in 2014 when 11-1 TCU and 11-1 Baylor were both not chosen for the playoff in favor of Ohio State. The Buckeyes proceeded to win the national championship as the No. 4 seed.
However, this year might actually be the time that someone who really deserves to be in the playoff misses out.
There are two primary reasons for that.
Number one is the emergence of Notre Dame as a legit contender for a spot. I discussed last week how their decision to put Ian Book in at quarterback and their weak schedule going forward has catapulted them into an elite position. If Notre Dame goes undefeated, they are in.
The other primary reason is the possibility that several teams from Power Five conferences will have legit resumes with just one loss.
First, let’s look at the SEC. Barring some kind of travesty, No. 1 Alabama is going to win the SEC West and they will likely be undefeated. If that happens, they will most likely face No. 2 Georgia in the SEC championship game.
Georgia has a bit of a gauntlet coming up with games against No. 13 LSU, No. 14 Florida, No. 18 Kentucky and No. 21 Auburn. As long as they don’t lose to Florida and win all of those games or all but one of those games they will be in the SEC championship. That would mean they will certainly have a strong enough resume to make the college football playoff.
Now if both Alabama and Georgia are undefeated, it’s pretty simple. They will both be in the playoff no matter who wins the SEC championship game. However, if one of those teams has one loss coming into that game things could get very complicated. Let’s say that Georgia is the team that has one loss coming into the SEC championship game and they beat an undefeated Alabama team. Would they both still go? Would a one-loss Alabama team be left out of the playoff? Not likely.
If one of the situations above plays out, that means the SEC is taking up two spots.
Now say that both Ohio State and Penn State run the table and OSU beats Wisconsin or Iowa in the Big Ten championship game. Would a one-loss Penn State team with wins over Michigan State, Iowa, No. 12 Michigan and No. 15 Wisconsin be left out? That would probably be up there as one of the biggest snubs in college football playoff history. That is without mentioning either Michigan or Wisconsin, who play each other this week and both have chances at making the playoff.
If Washington wins the rest of their games and finishes the season as the Pac-12 champion and their only loss is to Auburn, they are more than qualified to be in the playoff. They have games remaining against No. 17 Oregon, No. 19 Colorado and Stanford. Not easy by any means but not exactly Georgia’s gauntlet.
The same is true for whoever comes out of the Big 12. Right now it looks like Oklahoma, Texas or West Virginia will win the Big 12. As long as whoever wins the conference out of those teams has only one loss, they are in position to make the college football playoff.
Then there is Clemson. The Tigers haven’t been the absolute world-beaters that everyone expected them to be before the season, having close games with Texas A&M (28-26) and Syracuse (27-23.)
However, the ACC is having a serious down year. If Clemson is able to beat No. 20 NC State at home this week, they pretty much have a clear path to the ACC championship game with no more ranked teams on the schedule. The best team they could face in the ACC championship game is No. 16 Miami.
That is a lot of foreshadowing and predicting what we don’t know. But the point is, halfway through the college football season there are at least 14 teams who have a shot at making the college football playoff.
There is a very real possibility that Clemson, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Alabama, Georgia, Washington and the Big 12 champion could all be sitting at 12-0 or 11-1. That’s eight teams for four spots.
Yes, some of these teams will lose to teams they should beat. Some of these teams will eliminate each other. All in all though, it seems like some team or multiple teams are destined to be left out.