College Football playoff Expansion

The College Football Playoff expansion: Money & transparency

A college football season filled with more questions than answers. A selection committee that makes decisions with less transparency than the Free Masons. A coast-to-coast chant to make like the Louisiana Purchase and double the size of the playoffs.

This four-year-old child has been immature in the sense that it has replaced some of the problems from the BCS computer system, but we cannot complain with the football that has been played over the past four seasons. The argument of the BCS system being better than the College Football Playoff is null and void. Especially, when the two teams who would have been selected in the old BCS system (No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Oklahoma) lost in their first-round contests for the 2017 College Football Playoff.

In the old system, Alabama would have been hung out to dry instead of looking to crown themselves champions for the fifth time in the past nine years. Furthermore, Georgia’s fans would have been stuck with only watching the Atlanta Falcons try to avenge their Super Bowl loss.

The main argument stems from the ever-changing guidelines that constitute admittance to the four-team playoff bracket. The committee sits high atop their ivory tower looking as 130 teams battle week in and week out determining who is the best in all of the land. This committee consists of 13 members, three of which had to recuse themselves from final votes due to conflicts of interest. These conflicts of interest range from Frank Beamer’s son being the special teams coach for the Georgia Bulldogs to the Clemson and Ohio State athletic directors being on the committee itself.

In the past, the notion of winning a Power Five conference championship was the golden ticket to get the inside track to the playoff bracket. The Big 12 typically found themselves with the most difficult path in, but this year, we were faced with an even more difficult decision with the  Big 12 championship being installed for the 2017 season. Before this year, the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC had uncontested seats at the table because of the leverage they had over the Big 12 and its regular season champion. Even though we saw Oklahoma get in two years ago, they had the most difficult path out of the five major conferences.

This addition of a Big 12 champion muddied the waters for two conferences this season. With Clemson, Oklahoma and Georgia winning their conference championships in dominating fashion, there was no question as to who the top three teams would be.

However, issues arose at the No. 4 spot unlike any of the problems seen in the previous three seasons. We had a conference champion with two terrible losses in the Ohio State Buckeyes and a Nick Saban led Crimson Tide with one loss and an eye test that wasn’t 20/20.

At the end of the day, and to the dismay of Buckeye Nation, Alabama’s loss to Auburn reflected better than a championship in a conference of teams who beat each other up all year. As we saw in their game against Clemson, it seems to be that Alabama was the correct choice.

Now fast forward to 10 seconds after Alabama was named No. 4 and we see the Ohio State fans looking to burn the 13-person committee at the stake. The entire city of Columbus began to cry out for an eight-team playoff, an argument started prior the commencement of the College Football Playoff in 2013.

After a UCF win in the Peach Bowl over the Auburn Tigers, this pulse for an eight-team playoff reached both ends of I-75. UCF will be pushing a few extra chips to the middle of the table with the “National Championship” banner they will be raising in Spectrum Stadium.

College Football Playoff expansion

Photo by ALYSSA POINTER

The initial goal for the College Football Playoff was to put fate into the hands of the players, coaches and schools rather than in an algorithm. The College Football Playoff, for the most part, has relinquished some of the authority from the college football powers that be, but it has not been perfect.

An expansion of four teams will negate some of the issues that are seen in the covert decisions made with the four-team blue print now, but we still have the potential of the trials and tribulations surrounding the No. 4 spot translating to the No. 8 spot. Even with an eight-team playoff this year, the UCF Knights would have been on the outside looking in as the playoff committee listed them at No. 12 in the final poll.

Ohio State has been batted around like a tennis ball between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for each year of the College Football Playoff. Ohio State has been the perfect example of the lack of guidelines the playoff committee has with the pushing of each poll, and these guidelines have changed with each season.

Each season is unique, and no cookie cutter set of regulations will satisfy the problems we have had throughout the first four years of the playoffs. We are looking for transparency and consistency, and the narrative as to how the committee reached their four-team bracket has changed year in and year out.

Last year, Ohio State was not a conference champion, but they made it to the No. 3 seed over a two-loss, conference champion Penn State. This year, Alabama gained the No. 4 spot over Ohio State, who won their conference championship. Alabama was left out of the SEC championship after their loss to Auburn.

Alabama’s Nick Saban said that you should win your conference championship to be eligible for the College Football Playoff last year, and he had to put on a different hat as he campaigned for the Crimson Tide to be admitted over the Big Ten champions. If anything, the committee has been consistent in their search for the four best teams, but their basis for choosing the four best teams needs to be translated to fans.

Logistically, it would be very difficult for an eight-team expansion to occur. Exhibit A for almost every lawn chair Stan with an expansion plan is the idea of reducing the regular season to 11 games, so teams wouldn’t have to add another game to physically demanding schedule. Why play the Little Sisters of the Poor or Orphan Annie and the Misfits? Without the big dogs playing these teams, we will see better football, and no one wants to see Alabama beat up on Buddy the Baker’s Cupcakes, and we don’t want teams to risk injury against a school who would need more than divine intervention to beat them. These arguments hold water and represent legitimate gripes, but trimming the fat won’t make this playoff conundrum fit into a glass slipper.

College Football Playoff Expansion

Photo from SI.com

On the surface, this is the simple way of solving the main gripe fans have with the College Football Playoff. We get better football, and teams don’t have to risk injury and waste their time.

However, the regular season has too many hands dipping into the honey jar. Businesses, restaurants, fans and schools have too much invested into the college football regular season for it to shrink to anything less than 12 games. Each home game attributes to millions of dollars accrued in each school’s local economy during college football weekends. The local community loses profits in contingency with schools losing profit margins. This isn’t just a deterrent for the top tier teams, but it has consequences for the small programs, which round out the rest of the NCAA.

An eight-team playoff will result in monetary benefits for the eight teams making the playoffs, but the other 122 teams lose either a potential home game or a huge pay day from one of the larger teams. In the 2017 season, there were 26 games which had payouts of $1 million dollars or more just to show up and play. Over $150 million in guaranteed payouts circulated throughout college football this season. These payouts include big-time neutral site matchups, but the majority are accumulated in big schools paying smaller programs to play at their stadium. It’s the reason we see the games such as Kent State vs. Clemson or Appalachian State vs. Georgia.

The “show up” payouts allow for small programs to build facilities and stadium additions that allow smaller schools to remain competitive in a college football landscape that is top heavy. Many of these smaller programs depend on this money to stay afloat, and it also serves to finance other sports within a school. The largest payout for just showing up this season was the $1.65 million sent to Arkansas State for playing at Nebraska. There are other intangible benefits to getting the snot kicked out of you for these teams, but nothing speaks louder than money.

The path to an eight-team playoff won’t travel the way of a shortened regular season because people won’t lean where there ain’t green. The goal of the committee is to “increase revenue for all conferences and independent institutions,” but the expansion to eight teams will cause another hitch in the College Football Playoff that we live and die with each week.

We need to see transparency in the playoff committee if we want to see any productive changes in the near future. Eight-teams seems like a great idea until the economic logistics strike a nerve with each school in Division I football. Shortening the season will not benefit anyone, and the four-team, full regular season format we have now is the best we have.

Keeping the 12 game regular season and expanding to an eight-team playoff is a can of worms dealing with player safety that will be opened one day. But for now, transparency between schools, fans and the committee is the answer to the debacle we’ve seen in the four-team playoff.

 

Featured image from SI.com

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

2018 College Football Playoff National Championship preview

The SEC is going to win the National Championship, it’s just a matter of which team. Both Georgia and Alabama were able to win their semi-final matchups and now will go to Atlanta for the big game. Nick Saban will go up against his former defensive coordinator for a shot at his fifth national championship. Here is the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship preview:

4 Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1)

2018 College Football Playoff National Championship preview

Jalen Hurts (Photo by seccountry.com)

Alabama didn’t struggle at all with Clemson in the Sugar Bowl. Saban had his team ready to play with the defense not even allowing a touchdown. A lot of critics said that Alabama didn’t deserve to be in the College Football Playoff, but they used that as fuel to beat Clemson. Now they find themselves in the same position most great Alabama teams find themselves in: a chance to win a National Championship.

The offense wasn’t explosive, but got the job done against Clemson. Jalen Hurts completed 66.7% of his passes for 120 yards and two scores. He did what he has been doing all year, protecting the football and moving the chains. Hurts still has just one interception on the season. Protecting the ball will be at a premium once again when he goes up a very good Georgia defense.

Top receiver Calvin Ridley wasn’t the most productive he’s ever been, but had four receptions for 39 yards and a touchdown. Surprisingly defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne scored the other receiving touchdown when he was in as a fullback on the goal line. They have talent at the wide receiver position, especially with Ridley, but the key is making the most of their chances since Alabama isn’t the greatest passing offense.

Only three rushers got the ball in the semi-final against Clemson. Damien Harris led the way, like he has all year, with 77 rushing yards. Hurts added 40, while Bo Scarbrough could only muster 24 yards on 12 carries. They played an elite defensive front in Clemson, so this wasn’t a great surprise. Georgia’s defense is good, but the defensive line isn’t nearly as good as Clemson’s, so Alabama should have more success running the ball.

The defense stepped up to the challenge against Clemson and held the Tigers to under 200 total yards. They allowed wide receiver Deon Cain to do well, but for the most part didn’t let receivers get separation and completely shut down the running game. Rashaan Evans stepped up at linebacker with nine tackles, which was needed due to a lot of injuries at the linebacker position for Alabama. There are a lot of good players on this defense, who will have to step up against the Bulldog’s great running backs.

3 Georgia Bulldogs (13-1)

2018 College Football Playoff National Championship preview

Nick Chubb (Photo by fanragsports.com)

Georgia looked like they were going to lose to Oklahoma right before the half, when they were down by 17 points. They were fortunate to get a field goal before the break and then the defense started to play up to their potential in the second half. The game went into two overtime periods. In the second, Bulldog linebacker Lorenzo Carter blocked a field goal attempt and then Sony Michel ran in a touchdown to seal the victory for the Bulldogs.

Jake Fromm also did a great job of protecting the football with 210 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. If he can protect the football and help move it a little bit, the offense usually does well with the great running backs they have. He completed 20 of 29 passes in the game and didn’t waste too many opportunities.

The top receiver for the Bulldogs against Oklahoma was Javon Wims, who had six receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown. Sony Michel showed again that he can do more than run the ball with four catches for 41 yards and a touchdown. Like Alabama, the passing game isn’t the strong point of the team. The Bulldogs’ strongest position on offense is running back.

Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are the most dynamic duo of running backs in the history of college football. It is a great one-two punch, but Georgia also has freshman D’Andre Swift in the mix as well. Chubb and Michel had great games in the semi-final with 367 total yards and six touchdowns between the two. While Chubb is the more physical runner, Michel is multi-talented and has great quickness. They compliment each other really well and will need to have good games against Alabama.

The defense started off slow against Mayfield, but in the second half looked completely different. Oklahoma was only able to score 14 second half points, with seven of them coming from a defensive touchdown. While they allowed 48 points, no one is going to completely stop Oklahoma’s offense, but they hope to slow it down like Georgia did.

Roquan Smith had a rough first half, but when he stepped it up in the second half, the whole defense played better. He led the team with 11 total tackles. Smith did a good job spying on Mayfield, which will also come in hand against Alabama and Hurts. The other linebackers of Georgia are special too and will have to aid the defensive front in stopping the run.

Prediction

Beating Alabama at their own game is very tough and that is what Georgia will have to do. LSU has tried the blue print of having a pro-style offense, running the ball and playing tough defense for a while and have been largely unsuccessful against the Crimson Tide. Alabama definitely has the edge due to their history of beating teams who play similar styles.

Stopping the run is going to be something both teams focus on, which means it will likely come down to which quarterback and receivers can make the most plays. Hurts is the more experienced, has less turnovers and can run the ball well if he is pressured. He also has Calvin Ridley, one of the best receivers in college football, to throw to. The Crimson Tide have the advantage here too.

On defense, Georgia has the better linebackers. They have so many good ones they can’t even get all of them on the field all the time, while Alabama is struggling to stay healthy at the position. On the rest of the defense, Alabama is better than Georgia.

Expect a low-scoring game that centers around that style of running the ball and stopping the run. Alabama will let Hurts run, while feeding Scarbrough and Harris. If it doesn’t work, Hurts will protect the football and get it in Ridley’s hands. The Crimson Tide defense will at least be able to slow down the Georgia running backs, helping them secure the win.

 

 

NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Sugar Bowl

The two best programs in college football the past two seasons are Alabama and Clemson. They produce great players and play in the biggest games. There are a lot of players from this game that will be stars in the NFL. Here are the top NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Sugar Bowl:

Alabama Crimson Tide

Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB

Fitzpatrick has experience at both corner and safety for Alabama, but will fit in better as a safety in the NFL. He has gotten playing time since his freshman season at Alabama and is now a junior. In his three seasons he has 163 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, nine interceptions, 23 passes defended and one forced fumble.

At 6’1″ and 201 pounds, Fitzpatrick has good enough size for the NFL at either position he has played. He likely won’t have to wait long to hear his name called.

Projected draft range: 1st round

Calvin Ridley, WR

NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Sugar Bowl

Calvin Ridley (Photo by saturdaydownsouth.com)

Ridley is one of the best receivers in the draft class, if not the best. He has continued to put up numbers, despite not always having the greatest quarterback play. At Alabama, he has 2,710 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. His best season was his freshman year with Blake Sims at quarterback.

He is 6’1″ and 190 pounds and will need to add some play strength to beat his man off the line of scrimmage. If he isn’t the first wide receiver drafted, Ridley will be shortly after.

Projected draft range: 1st round

Da’Ron Payne, DT

Payne doesn’t have the production of a lot of other prospects, but is asked to do something completely different for Alabama. He is a freakish athlete who takes on multiple blockers and helps stop the run well. He has 94 total tackles, five tackles for loss and three sacks in his time at Alabama.

At 6’2″ and 308 pounds, Payne has good size for an interior defensive lineman. He plays nose tackle in Alabama’s 3-4, but can also play defensive tackle in the 4-3 system.

Projected draft range: 1st round-2nd round

Other notable Alabama prospects: RB Damien Harris (2nd round-4th round), RB Bo Scarbrough (4th round-6th round), G/C Ross Pierschbacher (3rd round-5th round), C Lester Cotton (5th round-7th round), C Bradley Bozeman (3rd round-5th round), DE Da’Shawn Hand (6th round-undrafted free agent), LB Rashaan Evans (3rd round-4th round), LB Shaun Dion Hamilton (3rd round-5th round), CB Anthony Averett (3rd round-5th round), CB Tony Brown (4th round-6th round), S Ronnie Harrison (1st round-2nd round)

Clemson Tigers

Clelin Ferrell, DE

NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Sugar Bowl

Clelin Ferrell (Photo by independentmail.com)

Ferrell has been the leading sack-man on the Tigers’ defense this season. That is impressive due to how much talent they have on their roster. In his two years of playing time at Clemson, Ferrell has 106 tackles, 29.5 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks.

At 6’5″ and 265 pounds which is good size for a defensive end in the NFL. He will have to battle some fellow teammates for positioning in the draft class.

Projected draft range: 1st round-2nd round

Austin Bryant, DE

Bryant is the other half of a great sack tandem of defensive ends. He has 7.5 sacks on the season to make it tough on opposing quarterbacks. In his career, he has 82 total tackles, 21 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks. He has some inconsistency, as some games he will have multiple sacks and some he will have none, but NFL teams can work with that.

He also has solid size at 6’4″ and 265 pounds. The junior could go back to Clemson and work on his consistency, but he already has enough tape to be drafted early in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Projected draft range: 1st round-2nd round

Christian Wilkins, DT

Wilkins is a leader for Clemson and one of the best defensive tackles in the country. The junior was a big part of the National Championship team last year. He has 133 total tackles, 26.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks in his career. Wilkins has shown the ability to rush the passer from the interior, which is appealing to NFL teams.

He is 6’4″ and 310 pounds, which makes his best fit as a defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme. Wilkins will be one of the first interior defensive linemen selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Projected draft range: 1st round-2nd round

Other notable Clemson prospects: WR Deon Cain (3rd round-5th round), WR Hunter Renfrow (5th round-7th round), OT Mitch Hyatt (2nd round-4th round), LB Kendall Joseph (3rd round-5th round), CB Mark Fields (2nd round-4th round), S Van Smith (4th round-6th round)

 

2018 Sugar Bowl preview

The Sugar Bowl features a rematch of the last two National Championship Games. Clemson and Alabama will be fighting for the right to go to a third straight National Championship. While some are upset this game isn’t happening for a title, it will be a great matchup of familiar foes. Here is the 2018 Sugar Bowl preview:

4 Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1)

2018 Sugar Bowl preview

Minkah Fitzpatrick (Photo by youtube.com)

Alabama lost one game to Auburn and had to watch the SEC Championship Game from home. They were still able to get into the College Football Playoff despite not playing in the final week. Their best wins are over Fresno State, LSU and Mississippi State. The Crimson Tide aren’t just happy to be here, they are in it to win it.

The offense scores 39.1 points per game and is based off of the running game. They rank eighth in the country with 265.3 rushing yards per game. Damien Harris is the leading running back with 110 carries for 906 yards and 11 touchdowns. His backup, Bo Scarbrough, has added 549 yards and eight touchdowns. Quarterback Jalen Hurts is a dual-threat who has 768 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.

Hurts isn’t the greatest passer, but has protected the football. He has thrown for 1,940 yards, 15 touchdowns and one interception on the season. They have one receiver that produces a lot in Calvin Ridley. Ridley has 896 receiving yards and three touchdown catches.

They have the best scoring defense in the country that allows 11.5 points per game. They are first in rush defense and sixth in pass defense. Defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick is one of the best players in college football. He has 52 total tackles six tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, one interception and six passes defended.

1 Clemson Tigers (12-1)

2018 Sugar Bowl preview

Kelly Bryant (Photo by ncaa.com)

The Tigers are the ACC Champions and number one seed in the College Football Playoff. They lost on the road to a bad Syracuse team, but didn’t have their quarterback, Kelly Bryant, for the entire game. Clemson beat nine bowl eligible teams with their best wins coming over Miami, Virginia Tech and Auburn.

Offensively, they scored 35.4 points per game. Their run offense isn’t as good as Alabama’s, but is still solid at 204.1 rushing yards per game. Travis Etienne and Tavien Feaster have split carries and done well. Etienne has 744 rushing yards, while Feaser has 659. Bryant is also a threat to run from the quarterback position with 646 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.

Bryant is efficient in his passing at 67.4% completion. He has 2,678 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions this season. Three receivers do a lot of damage for the Tigers. Deon Cain leads the team 659 with receiving yards and six touchdowns. Hunter Renfrow leads the team with 55 catches and to go with it, has 571 yards. Ray-Ray McCloud has 502 receiving yards and one touchdown.

The Tigers have the second best scoring defense in the country at 12.8 points per game. They rank 12th against the run and seventh against the pass. Clemson has the most sacks per game at 3.38 this season and are led by the likes of Austin Bryant (7.5 sacks) and Clelin Ferrell (8.5 sacks).

Prediction

While Alabama looks better statistically, Clemson has played the tougher schedule and has still gotten to the College Football Playoff as the number one seed. The defensive line will pressure Hurts and make it hard to throw the ball. Alabama will be one dimensional with the run game, which is easier to stop. Bryant is mobile and can throw, which has caused problems for Alabama’s defense in the past. With all this, Clemson should be able to edge out a win.

Clemson Tigers 34 Alabama Crimson Tide 29

College Football Playoff Bracketology 12/3/17

The season is over and all that is left is for the committee selecting the teams for the College Football Playoff (CFP). Here is how the committee should rank the teams in their final rankings of the season:

In the playoff:

1. Clemson Tigers (13-0)

The Tigers won the ACC yet again. This time they beat Miami to secure the ACC crown. They were ranked first last week by the committee and that shouldn’t change in the final rankings.

Clemson has a great resume and beat nine teams who are playing in bowls this winter. The loss to Syracuse happened when Kelly Bryant wasn’t healthy and didn’t play the full game. If the Tigers aren’t ranked first by the committee it would be a surprise.

2. Oklahoma Sooners (12-1)

Oklahoma locked up a spot in the CFP with their 41-17 win over TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game. Winning would’ve been enough, but they really put their stamp on this game and proved to the committee that they belong in the CFP.

The Sooners have the one blemish on their record that came at the hands of Iowa State. Their resume is great outside the loss. They beat Ohio State, Oklahoma State and TCU twice. With the second best strength of record at the completion of their game, Oklahoma doesn’t have much to worry about.

Can the Sooners’ defense step up in the College Football Playoff?

3. Georgia Bulldogs (12-1)

Georgia avenged their only loss of the season with a big win in the SEC Championship over Auburn. This was a play-in game for the CFP, so Georgia is in.

The Bulldogs tested themselves with a game at Notre Dame and passed the test. Adding that game to their wins over Mississipi State and Auburn, along with the fact that they are the SEC Champions, puts them in the CFP.

Georgia finally has the chance to play for a national title, but what can they do now that they have the chance?

4. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

J.T. Barrett (Photo by espn.com)

Ohio State was able to hold on in the Big Ten Championship and beat Wisconsin 27-21. The Buckeyes will now be hoping their resume looks better to the committee than Alabama’s does.

The Buckeyes have a lot of solid wins, which puts them in the conversation to be in the CFP. They beat Penn State, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Michigan. Three of these teams will be in or around the top 15 in the CFP committee’s final rankings. Alabama will have one team beat near the top 15, being LSU. I’ll take Ohio State beating three top 15 teams over, Albama’s possible one.

A Big Ten Championship is nice, but the Buckeyes feel they deserve to make the CFP.

First four out:

5. Auburn Tigers (10-3)

The Tigers lost in the SEC Championship Game. They would have been in had they won, but since they didn’t they will have to settle for a New Year’s Six bowl game.

Auburn lost three games, all coming to good teams, but was the only team to beat Alabama. They also beat Mississippi State and Auburn in their first meeting. At the end of the day, Auburn was in the position they wanted to be in at the end of the season, but failed to execute.

6. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1)

College football playoff bracketology

Nick Saban (Photo by usatoday.com)

Alabama was the only team with realistic CFP chances that was idle this weekend. The Crimson Tide will be hoping that their metrics and resume can get them into the playoff.

The strength of record was sixth in the country heading into the weekend, but likely will drop when all the metrics are updated. They beat LSU, Mississippi State and Fresno State for solid wins, but other than that their resume isn’t great. They failed to beat an elite team all season (unless LSU is considered elite) and are paying for it now.

Had Florida State been as good as expected the resume might have had the necessary boost to get Alabama in the CFP.

7. Wisconsin Badgers (12-1)

Wisconsin lost in the Big Ten Championship and lost their chance to play in the CFP. It was a well fought game, but they ultimately fell short.

The Badgers didn’t play a great schedule, which meant they had no room for error this year. Wins over Northwestern and Michigan are nice, but won’t get anyone in the playoff without a conference championship.

It isn’t what Wisconsin fans wanted, but the team will still get to play in a big time bowl game.

8. USC Trojans (11-2)

USC won the Pac-12 Championship over Stanford in a 31-28 win. It’s a too little too late for the Trojans, but they have secured a second straight New Year’s Six bowl.

The Trojans beat Stanford twice and Arizona for their best wins of the season. Their losses to Washington State and Notre Dame aren’t bad, but they haven’t beaten enough good teams to warrant a higher ranking than this.

Next four out:

9. Miami Hurricanes (10-2)

Miami got off to a slow start against Clemson and were never able to recover in the ACC Championship Game. They had a great season, but came up just short of the CFP. A New Year’s Six Bowl game is not a bad result for Mark Richt in his second season.

The Hurricanes successfully beat Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, but were unable to accrue any other great victories. The loss at Pittsburgh, who didn’t qualify for a bowl game, really hurt Miami’s chances. If they were undefeated heading into the ACC Championship Game, they may have been able to afford a loss.

Mark Richt has started to bring the “U” back, but they haven’t gotten all the way back.

10. UCF Golden Knights (12-0)

UCF completed the undefeated record heading into the bowl games. They beat Memphis in a double overtime thriller 62-55 to win the AAC Championship.

It’s a shame that UCF, isn’t getting more recognition for the CFP, but they did lock up a chance to play in a New Year’s Six bowl game. Their two wins over Memphis are great and they also beat a Power 5 conference team in Maryland. If their game against Georgia Tech wasn’t cancelled due to a hurricane, they would’ve gotten much more love from the committee.

Scott Frost is reportedly out, so how will UCF respond in their big bowl game?

11. Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2)

Penn State did not play this weekend, but drop in the rankings as a result of other teams winning conference championships.

The Nittany Lions only have two solid wins, one over Michigan and one coming at the expense of Northwestern. They lost in both games in which they had a chance to really impress the committee. Had they beaten Ohio State and/or Michigan State, they would rightfully be in the CFP talk. They’ll have to settle for a New Year’s Six bowl.

Might we see another Penn State vs. USC matchup?

12. Washington Huskies (10-2)

Like Penn State, the Huskies didn’t play anyone this week. They benefit from teams losing in conference championship games though.

The Huskies couldn’t put it all together this season against good competition. Their best wins were over Fresno State and Washington State, but had a horrid schedule outside of those games.

Washington will also have to settle for a New Year’s Six bowl game.

 

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Five things we learned in college football week 13

For most teams, the college football regular season has wrapped up and conference championships are coming. It may be late in the season, but something can be learned from every game of college football. Here are five things we learned from week 13’s action:

1. Alabama still doesn’t have any great wins

Alabama lost their rivalry game with Auburn and will be in misery for about a year. The Crimson Tide are out of the SEC Championship Game and don’t control their own destiny for the College Football Playoff. Losing to Auburn also makes them very vulnerable to the committee, because they don’t have many great wins this season.

Saban’s squad was able to beat Florida State in a highly anticipated season opener, but the Seminoles ended up struggling this season. Alabama beat LSU and Mississippi State, both of which are solid wins, but not great. The Crimson Tide had their chance against Auburn, but were unable to get the job done. Now they are at the mercy of the CFP committee.

2. J.T. Barrett is a legend and will have a story to tell

College football week 13

J.T. Barrett (Photo by sportingnews.com)

J.T. Barrett started his fourth straight game for Ohio State against Michigan. Although he has had to leave two of these games due to injury, Barrett has been able to go 4-0 as a starting quarterback in one of the biggest rivalries in sports. He may get criticized a lot, but going 4-0 as a starting quarterback has never happened in this rivalry. Barrett also has plenty of records and memories to keep his legacy in tact, even if there are a lot of haters.

Interestingly enough, Barrett had to leave the game against Michigan due to a re-aggravated knee injury. While most fans thought Barrett was hurt during the game, he actually disturbed his injury when warming up. Reportedly, a cameraman ran into Barrett right before kickoff. Barrett was tough enough to gut it out for over two quarters, but was unable to complete the game. Luckily, Ohio State has Dwayne Haskins as a backup, who made some key throws down the stretch to win the game for the Buckeyes.

3. Coaching Changes already in motion

This is the point of the season that always has coaching changes, so that new coaches can come in and start recruiting. Some coaches have already been fired and need to be replaced with one such opening already being resolved.

Jim Mora was fired and recently replaced by Chip Kelly at UCLA. Arkansas didn’t even let Bret Bielema leave the field before firing him. Mike Riley had one of the worst seasons in Nebraska history and won’t be returning. With Florida, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Oregon State searching for coaches, there should be an active coaching carousel. Kevin Sumlin, as usual, is also rumored to be fired which opens up yet another power five job.

4. Baker Mayfield can pencil in his name for the Heisman

college football week 13

Baker Mayfield (Photo by usatoday.com)

Baker Mayfield sat out the first drive, which lasted all of two plays, due to suspension against West Virginia. He made obscene gestures and had some choice words for the Kansas Jayhawks after they refused to shake his hand before the game. While some people have said they won’t choose him as their Heisman winner, he has had the best season in college football and deserves it.

In the game against West Virginia, Mayfield went 14-17 for 281 yards and three touchdowns to add to his impressive season. With over 4,000 passing yards, some key wins and a likely CFP appearance, Mayfield is clearly the guy that should be voted as this year’s Heisman.

5. Clemson has the best CFP resume

Clemson was able to win comfortably over South Carolina to finish the regular season at 11-1. While some people will complain about their loss to a bad Syracuse team, they still have the best case to be the number one team in the CFP rankings.

The Tigers beat four different eight win teams on the road: Louisville, Virginia Tech, South Carolina and N.C. State. On top of these good wins, Clemson also beat Auburn, who now is going to be in the CFP top four. With wins over Wake Forest, Boston College and Florida State, Clemson has literally had a schedule littered with bowl eligible teams.

 

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College Football Playoff bracketology 11/26/17

Conference championship games are set. There is still a lot of different scenarios that can happen, which will make the next week in football, on the field and off, fun to watch. Here are how the teams should be ranked after rivalry week (rankings of opponents are based off last week’s CFP rankings):

Playoff teams

1. Clemson Tigers (11-1)

College football bracketology

Kelly Bryant (Photo by greenvilleonline.com)

The Tigers beat yet another ranked team, South Carolina, to finish the regular season 11-1. With other teams ahead of them losing, they move up to the top spot of these rankings.

Clemson has beaten so many quality teams this season it is almost impossible to keep them out of the top spot. Their win against Auburn looks really good after the Tigers were able to beat Alabama. With other wins over Louisville, Virginia Tech, N.C. State and South Carolina, Clemson is sitting pretty entering the ACC Championship Game. The knock on them is their loss to Syracuse, but because they didn’t have their starting quarterback healthy for the game, the committee gives them a slight pass.

Ultimately, if Clemson wins in the ACC Championship Game, they are in.

This week: vs. 2 Miami Hurricanes

2. Oklahoma Sooners (11-1)

Baker Mayfield was suspended for two plays, but it didn’t matter. Oklahoma outscored another Big 12 team in West Virginia. They too benefit from teams ahead of them losing and are now in a great spot.

Oklahoma has big wins over TCU, Oklahoma State and Ohio State, making their resume really impressive. The loss to Iowa State isn’t that bad. With so many wins over great teams, including over a top ten team in Ohio State, Oklahoma controls their own destiny.

There haven’t been too many upsets in conference championships during the CFP era, but Oklahoma needs to stay focused against a tough opponent.

This week: vs. 12 TCU Horned Frogs

3. Auburn Tigers (10-2)

Auburn knocked off a number one team for the second time this season when they beat Alabama by 12. The Tigers played a physical and defensive game to beat Alabama and will get one more chance to prove what they can do to the committee.

The Tigers have beaten Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi State for a list of really good wins. They do have two losses, to Clemson and LSU, but the wins make up for it. At this point the committee can’t put Alabama or Georgia over them, so by virtue of winning their tough games, they are in the CFP slot at three.

They get a rematch in the SEC Championship Game to solidify their spot in the CFP.

This week: vs. 7 Georgia Bulldogs

4. Wisconsin Badgers (12-0)

The Badgers finished off the regular season undefeated after destroying their rival Minnesota. They may not have played the toughest schedule, but they are undefeated in a power conference, so they should be ranked within the top four this week.

Wisconsin’s big wins are over Northwestern and Michigan. Northwestern has won nine game on the season, while Michigan has won eight. Neither are great wins, but both are solid.

They will need to have their biggest game of the season, but if the Badgers win the Big Ten Championship, they are in the playoff.

This week: vs. 9 Ohio State Buckeyes

Next four out

5. Georgia Bulldogs (11-1)

Georgia didn’t have any trouble with their rival, Georgia Tech, and finished the season at 11-1. They get to move up the rankings slightly, but will need to win the SEC Championship Game to make the CFP.

The win at Notre Dame really helps them, as well as their win over Mississippi State. While they did get blown out by Auburn, they get a chance at revenge against them in the SEC Championship Game.

Basically, if Georgia wins, they are in.

This week: vs. 6 Auburn Tigers

6. Miami Hurricanes (10-1)

In a Friday noon game that was easy to lose in the shuffle of the holiday weekend, Miami lost a road game to Pitt. This was a game they couldn’t get the offense going and suffered their first loss of the season because of it.

Miami blew Notre Dame out and also had a big win over Virginia Tech. They were not able to play a full 12 game schedule due to all of the hurricanes this fall, which hurts them, but only minimally. The Hurricanes lost to Pitt, who is not a good football team. The good news is that they still control their own destiny.

Can the “U” come all the way back and win an ACC Championship Game with so much at stake?

This week: vs. 3 Clemson Tigers

7. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1)

Alabama is out of the SEC Championship race after losing to Auburn. It was their first loss of the season, but their offense couldn’t get much done against a stifling Tigers’ defense.

Even though it is their first loss, they have to wait and see how other teams do next weekend to see if they can make the CFP. They have solid wins over LSU and Mississippi State, but have yet to beat an elite team. Their hope is that they can squeeze into the CFP, but they will need help.

The wait and see approach is never fun, but that’s all Alabama fans can do right now.

This week: N/A

8. Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2)

College football playoff bracketology

Dwayne Haskins Jr. (Photo by thelantern.com)

The Buckeyes got the win in their big rivalry game over Michigan. They finished with 10 wins in the regular season and now get to play Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship.

The loss to Iowa hurts, while losing to Oklahoma is a little more understandable. For good wins, the Buckeyes bring their wins over Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan to the table.

If they beat Wisconsin, Ohio State will have a shot at the CFP.

This week: vs. 5 Wisconsin Badgers

Next four out

9. Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2)

Penn State beat Maryland this week to finish off a second straight double digit win season. This win will solidify their spot in a New Year’s Six bowl game, but they will not be able to make the CFP.

Their two losses are to Ohio State and Michigan State, but they don’t have many good wins. Their best wins are over Iowa and Michigan, so their resume will not be good enough.

A New Year’s Six Bowl is not a bad finish, but Penn State fans had higher hopes.

This week: N/A

10. USC Trojans (10-2)

USC finished their season a week early and got to watch all of the football unfold this week. They already have 10 wins and qualified for the Pac-12 Championship Game.

The Trojans lost to Notre Dame and Washington State. Those teams are both of good quality, but the wins haven’t made up for the losses. Arizona and Stanford are their best wins and that isn’t good enough to make the CFP. The only way they have a chance is if the committee goes crazy and thinks that the PAC-12 Champion deserves to be in.

They get to try to avenge one of their losses in the Pac-12 Championship Game, but it is likely too little, too late.

This week: vs. 17 Washington Huskies

11. TCU Horned Frogs (10-2)

TCU gets to play in the Big 12 Championship Game as a result of their win over Baylor this week. The Horned Frogs pulled away late to secure the victory.

Unfortunately, even if they win the Big 12 Championship Game over Oklahoma, they likely won’t get in. They do have good wins over Oklahoma State and West Virginia. The losses to Oklahoma and Iowa State aren’t bad, but the resume isn’t good enough to get them in the CFP.

Can the Horned Frogs be the spoiler for Oklahoma’s CFP chances?

This week: vs. 4 Oklahoma Sooners

12. UCF Golden Knights (11-0)

College football playoff bracketology

Shaquem Griffin (Photo by yahoo.com)

The Golden Knights finally find their way to the top 12 after defeating rival USF to finish the season off undefeated. They did lose the opportunity to play 12 games due to a hurricane, but are undefeated nonetheless.

UCF has beaten Memphis and USF who are both quality teams. They also beat a power five team in Maryland. The hurricane canceled a game against Georgia Tech that could have helped their resume, even though the Yellow Jackets are below .500. Their wins over Memphis and USF are better than they’ll ever get credit for, but they don’t play quality teams every week in the AAC.

They play Memphis in the AAC Championship Game this week, which should once again bolster their case to move up the rankings. With other teams losing ahead of them, they could get close to the CFP top four, but will likely be a handful of spots short.

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College football week 13 picks

Joe DiTullio and Rob Doerger make their picks for every single FBS college football game for week 13. With it being rivalry week, and the last week of the regular season for most conferences, they have some fun with the coaching carousel too. Here are the picks for week 13 in college football:

Away Home Location Rob Joe
Ole Miss #14 Mississippi State Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS Miss State Miss St
Western Michigan Toledo Glass Bowl, Toledo, OH Toledo Toledo
#2 Miami Pittsburgh Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA Miami Miami
Baylor #12 TCU Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX TCU TCU
Northern Illinois Central Michigan Kelly/Shorts Stadium, Mount Pleasant, MI NIU CMU
Navy Houston TDECU Stadium, Houston, TX Navy Houston
Ohio Buffalo UB Stadium, Buffalo, NY Ohio Ohio
Missouri Arkansas Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, AR Mizzou Missouri
South Florida #15 UCF Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, FL UCF UCF
New Mexico San Diego State SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, CA SDSU SDSU
Texas State Troy Veterans Memorial Stadium , Troy, AL Troy Troy
Iowa Nebraska Memorial Stadium , Lincoln, NE Iowa Iowa
Western Kentucky Florida Intl FIU Stadium, Miami, FL FIU FIU
#25 Virginia Tech Virginia Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA VT VT
Texas Tech Texas Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX Texas Texas
California UCLA Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA UCLA UCLA
#7 Georgia Georgia Tech Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA Georgia Georgia
#9 Ohio State Michigan Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI OSU OSU
Kansas #19 Oklahoma State Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK OK State Ok State
East Carolina #20 Memphis Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN Memphis Memphis
Florida State Florida Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL FSU FSU
Louisville Kentucky Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KY Kentucky Louisville
Indiana Purdue Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN Purdue Indiana
Connecticut Cincinnati Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH Cincy UC
Tulane SMU Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX SMU SMU
Boston College Syracuse Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY BC BC
Duke Wake Forest BB&T Field, Winston-salem, NC Wake Wake
North Texas Rice Rice Stadium, Houston, TX UNT UNT
UTEP UAB Legion Field , Birmingham, AL UAB UAB
Appalachian State Georgia State Georgia State Stadium, Atlanta, GA App St App St
Florida Atlantic Charlotte McColl-Richardson Field, Charlotte, NC FAU FAU
Southern Mississippi Marshall Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Huntington, WV So Miss USM
Old Dominion Middle Tennessee Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TN MTSU MTSU
Arkansas State Louisiana Monroe Malone Stadium, Monroe, LA Ark St Ark St
UNLV Nevada Mackay Stadium, Reno, NV UNLV UNLV
#1 Alabama #6 Auburn Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL Auburn Alabama
#5 Wisconsin Minnesota TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN Wisconsin Wisconsin
#10 Penn State Maryland Maryland Stadium, College Park, MD Penn St PSU
#23 Boise State Fresno State Bulldog Stadium , Fresno, CA Boise Boise
North Carolina NC State Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC NC State NC State
Iowa State Kansas State Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS Kansas St Iowa State
West Virginia #4 Oklahoma Memorial Stadium , Norman, OK Oklahoma Oklahoma
#16 Michigan State Rutgers High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ Mich St MSU
#22 Northwestern Illinois Memorial Stadium , Champaign, IL NW NW
Vanderbilt Tennessee Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN Vandy Vandy
Temple Tulsa Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, OK Temple Temple
Idaho New Mexico State Aggie Memorial Stadium, Las Cruces, NM Idaho Idaho
Arizona Arizona State Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ Arizona Zona
Georgia Southern Louisiana Cajun Field, Lafayette, LA ULL ULL
Wyoming San Jose State CEFCU Stadium – Home of the Spartans, San Jose, CA Wyoming Wyoming
Oregon State Oregon Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR Ducks Oregon
#3 Clemson #24 South Carolina Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC Clemson Clemson
Texas A&M #18 LSU Tiger Stadium , Baton Rouge, LA LSU LSU
UT San Antonio Louisiana Tech Joe Aillet Stadium, Ruston, LA La Tech LA Tech
#8 Notre Dame #21 Stanford Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA Stanford Notre Dame
#13 Washington St #17 Washington Husky Stadium, Seattle, WA Wash St Wazzu
BYU Hawai’i Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI Hawai’i Hawaii
Colorado Utah Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT Utah Utah
Utah State Air Force Falcon Stadium, Usaf Academy, AFA AFA
Gameday Guest Picker (Auburn) Charles Barkley Charles Barkley
# of coaches fired/resigning  by midnight Sunday 7 6

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Five things to watch for in college football week 13

Rivalry week is now upon us, which means good football games are back. While not everyone is playing a rival, week 13 is going to be crazy for all college football fans. Here are five things to watch for in college football week 13:

1. The Iron Bowl

Alabama and Auburn is a great rivalry that has gotten even better over the last ten years. A lot of times at least one team has national title aspirations by the time the game comes around and some times both teams are in that position. This year both teams control their own destiny in terms of making the College Football Playoff.

The Crimson Tide are undefeated and haven’t even really been challenged too many times. This will definitely be a test for Alabama. Nick Saban has tried to get his team away from “rat poison” this season, but the Crimson Tide average the seventh most points per game and allow the least. They are ridiculously good.

Auburn has two losses, one to Clemson and one to LSU. Their season has been so great because of their defense and running game. They have a top ten defense and average 244 yards per game. The Tigers are tough to beat and have really come on the last few weeks.

The winner of this game will come as a result of better quarterback play. Jalen Hurts and Jarrett Stidham will need to make throws in key situations in order to get the win. The running games will be slowed due to the good defenses, so keeping the defense honest will win the game.

2. The Game

College football week 13 preview

Curtis Samuel in 2016 (photo by usatoday.com)

Ohio State and Michigan meet up for their annual game this weekend. The Buckeyes still have a feint hope of making the College Football Playoff and need to win. For Michigan, they don’t have too much to play for, but in this game, they don’t need much.

J.T. Barrett and the Buckeyes have been one of the most inconsistent teams in college football, yet they still only have two losses. When the offense is clicking, the team is one of the best in the country. If Barrett and the offense can limit turnovers they will be in a good position to win the game.

Michigan’s strength is its defense. They allow the 11th fewest points per game in the country and are especially tough against the run. They slowed down Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor for most of the game before wearing down in the second half. If Ohio State’s offense shows up, Michigan’s defense will need to have its best game of the season.

3. Running backs in Notre Dame vs. Stanford

Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick has decided that one of Notre Dame’s biggest rivals is Stanford. He decided wrong, but it is still a good game. The Fighting Irish still have a very slim chance to make the College Football Playoff, but should be thinking more about a New Year’s Six bowl game.

A week after beating Navy, Notre Dame gets a chance to finish the season with 10 wins. They have a good ground game and are great at causing turnovers. Their running back, Josh Adams, has had a great season behind a great offensive line. He will highlight a matchup of elite college running games.

Bryce Love is the other quality running back in this game. Love actually still has a chance to win the Heisman with his great statistical season. The offense runs through Love and if the Cardinal have any chance of winning, he will need to have a great game.

4. The Apple Cup

College football week 13 preview

(Photo by mercurynews.com)

One of the better emerging rivalries is the Apple Cup between Washington and Washington State. This year the Pac-12 Championship Game is on the line for the Cougars and both teams are ranked to make it a very appealing game.

Mike Leach has turned Washington State’s program completely around. This season they only have two losses and are knocking on the door for the Pac-12 Championship Game. That is something a lot of people would have never expected. A thing most people expect is how much Washington State throws the ball, as they have one of the best passing attacks in the country.

Washington had College Football Playoff hopes entering the season after making it last season. They are out of that picture now due to having two losses and a weak non-conference schedule. The Huskies are still a talented team that could sneak into a New Year’s Six bowl game with a win and some help.

The big matchup to watch is the Cougars’ passing attack against the Washington pass defense. If the Huskies can shut down the passing attack they can win.

5. UCF vs. USF

A couple weeks ago the thought was that this could be a matchup of undefeated teams. Unfortunately USF lost to Houston to ruin that. The Florida teams in the AAC still have a lot to play for. The winner of this game will get to play in the AAC Championship Game and could make a New Year’s Six bowl game.

UCF has had a tremendous turnaround under Scott Frost. The year before he got there, they were 0-12. Last season, Frost’s first year, UCF went 6-6. Now they have a chance to turn it all the way around and finish with a 12-0 regular season record. The Golden Knights will make an exciting game out of this one way or another, as they have the highest scoring offense in the country.

The Bulls were the team that were thought to be undefeated at this point in the season. They had an easy schedule and a lot of players returning from a successful team last year. While they do have a loss, they can still reach a great bowl game, something that was likely their ceiling this year anyways. With Quinton Flowers at quarterback and a good defense, they can spoil UCF’s perfect season.

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College Football Playoff bracketology 11/19/17

This week of the season was not very eventful with a bunch of cupcakes on the schedule. The bad games this week will prep college football fans for a great rivalry week that has a lot of good matchups. Here are how the teams rank before the big weekend:

Playoff teams

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-0)

College football bracketology

Jalen Hurts (Photo by gridironnow.com)

Alabama won big over Mercer (FCS) this weekend. It was an easy game, in which Alabama even held out some of their players as a precaution. Hopefully they are at their best for rivalry week.

The wins over LSU, Mississippi State and Texas A&M are solid, but Alabama lacks a big win. Still though, with the undefeated record, the Crimson Tide will stay in the top spot in the rankings.

Rivalry week is here and Alabama has a chance for a great win over Auburn.

This week: at 6 Auburn Tigers

2. Clemson Tigers (10-1)

The Tigers didn’t have a problem with The Citadel (FCS). Clemson rolled 61-3. They look primed for big things in the next few weeks.

Clemson has some of the most impressive wins in college football, especially their win over Auburn. Their victories over Louisville, Virginia Tech and N.C. State also add to their good resume and help them stay in the second spot.

They will have a small test against South Carolina on rivalry week.

This week: at South Carolina Gamecocks

3. Miami Hurricanes (10-0)

Miami is one of the few teams that played a decent team this week. Although they trailed Virginia for much of the game, they scored 30 unanswered points to run away with the game. They played like they did before the last two weeks, which is up and down with the level of their competition, for most of the time against Virginia.

The Hurricanes have jumped up to this spot in the rankings and will stay here because of their performances in recent weeks. Wins over Virginia Tech and Notre Dame aren’t quite as impressive as the wins Clemson has overall. They should still feel confident though, as they will get to play Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.

Unfortunately Miami doesn’t play one of its biggest rivals this week, but they should be able to get the win to stay undefeated.

This week: at Pittsburgh Panthers

4. Oklahoma Sooners (10-1)

Oklahoma had a conference game this week, but it was still an easy game, as they played Kansas. While there was a lot of extra-curricular activity, the important thing is that Oklahoma won 41-3.

With good wins over Ohio State, Oklahoma State and TCU, Oklahoma is in a good position. They are already in the Big 12 Championship Game and if they win out, they will be in the CFP.

The Sooners will get a tough game this week, albeit not against a rival.

This week: vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

First four out

5. Wisconsin Badgers (11-0)

The committee decided to put the Badgers at number five last week, so they will likely be ranked at five again. This week Wisconsin got a win over a decent Michigan team. Michigan has a good defense, but really shouldn’t have been ranked in the top 25.

Beating Michigan still gives Wisconsin another solid win, but it won’t be enough to get into the top four, yet. The wins over Iowa and Northwestern are nice, but if Wisconsin wants to make the CFP, they will need to beat a really good team.

The Badgers’ rival is Minnesota, so they will likely go into the Big Ten Championship undefeated.

This week: at Minnesota Golden Gophers

6. Auburn Tigers (9-2)

College football playoff bracketology

Kerryon Johnson (Photo by al.com)

Auburn started slow against UL Monroe, but picked it up and ended up winning 42-14. This sets up another great Iron Bowl that will have CFP implications.

The Tigers have big wins over Georgia and Mississippi State. Their losses to LSU and Clemson aren’t that bad either. If Auburn wins out, they will be a CFP team.

If the Tigers can win this week, they will be rewarded with a chance to play Georgia again in the SEC Championship.

This week: vs. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide

7. Georgia Bulldogs (10-1)

The Bulldogs bounced back from their loss to Auburn very well by beating Kentucky 42-13. Kentucky is a solid win for Georgia, but ultimately the important thing is that they won, as they still control their own destiny.

Georgia’s wins over Notre Dame and Mississippi State are both good. The loss to Auburn is something they will want to avenge if possible. If they win their rivalry game and the SEC Championship Game, they are in the CFP.

Can Georgia shut down Georgia Tech’s triple option this week?

This week: at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-2)

Notre Dame won a tough game over Navy this week to stay in the top ten. While it was one of the tougher games that a top ten team faced, the Fighting Irish should’ve played better.

Wins over Michigan State, USC and N.C. State have kept Notre Dame this high in the rankings. It will be hard for the Fighting Irish to make the CFP, but not totally impossible.

Bryce Love and Stanford are on the schedule for the last week of the season, so Notre Dame better be ready for a physical game.

This week: at 22 Stanford Cardinal

Next four out

9. Ohio State Buckeyes (9-2)

College football playoff bracketology

Urban Meyer (Photo by newsok.com)

It has been an up and down season for Ohio State, but this week they destroyed Illinois. With the win they kept their small CFP hopes alive.

The Buckeyes have beaten Michigan State and Penn State for some really good wins. The two losses are holding them back. If they can win out, which includes a victory over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship, Ohio State will be very close to the cutting line, one way or another.

The big game is this weekend for Ohio State. Throw records aside for how big of a rivalry game this is. Ohio State hasn’t struggled with Michigan much in the 21st century, but anything can happen.

This week: at 24 Michigan Wolverines

10. Penn State Nittany Lions (9-2)

Penn State beat Nebraska pretty easily this weekend. The Nittany Lions are pretty much out of the CFP picture, but getting another ten win season is nice.

James Franklin has to hope for absolute disaster and chaos to happen to make the CFP. It would take some upsets in the final week of the regular season and some during conference championship week to make it even slightly possible. All Penn State can do is win this week and then wait and see where the chips fall.

Ten wins should be the expectation when they take on Maryland this weekend.

This week: at Maryland Terrapins

11. USC Trojans (10-2)

The Trojans finished off their regular season with a win over rival UCLA. They get a nice week off to prepare for the Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC probably has a better chance of making the CFP than some teams ahead of them (Notre Dame, Penn State). It all depends on how they play in the Pac-12 Championship Game and if the teams above them hold to form. They are rooting for Washington State to win the Apple Cup, so they can play them in the Pac-12 Championship for another solid win.

A week off before a conference championship is unique, but can USC make the most of it and win the Pac-12?

This week: Bye

12. TCU Horned Frogs (9-2)

TCU was able to beat Texas Tech pretty easily, despite not having quarterback Kenny Hill. If they can beat Baylor in the final week, they will get a chance to play in the Big 12 Championship Game.

The Horned Frogs need some help to make it into the CFP. Beating Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game would be a nice start, but it will not be enough on its own. It will likely take: USC losing in the Pac-12 Championship, Ohio State winning the Big 10 and much more to go their way.

They should be focusing on what they can control and winning the Big 12 would be a great feat for TCU.

This week: vs. Baylor Bears

 

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