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 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

2018 Rose Bowl preview

The first College Football Playoff game is the 2018 Rose Bowl between Georgia and Oklahoma. Conflicting styles will go at it with one high-powered offense going up against a good defense. Here is the 2018 Rose Bowl preview:

3 Georgia Bulldogs (12-1)

2018 Rose Bowl preview

Roquan Smith (Photo by profootballfocus.com)

Georgia is one of the few teams that had a chance to avenge a loss and did so by beating Auburn in the SEC Championship Game. They were tested and beat plenty of tough teams in Notre Dame, Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina, Kentucky and Auburn. Facing Oklahoma is a new challenge, but they have some really good players who can make an impact.

The offense scores 34.9 points per game and is fueled by a good running game. Nick Chubb is the leader of three running backs who gain a lot of yardage. Chubb has 1,175 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Sony Michel chips in with 948 yards and 13 touchdowns. Freshman D’Andre Swift is the best third-string running back in the country with 597 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

When Jacob Eason went down with an injury, a lot of Bulldog fans got nervous, but Jake Fromm has stepped up to lead this team to an SEC Championship. He doesn’t have the biggest stat line, but has made some nice throws. He has 2,173 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and five interceptions on 63% completion. Javon Wims and Terry Godwin are the two leading receivers for the Bulldogs. Wims has 631 receiving yards and six touchdowns, while Godwin has 540 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

Their defense has been great and will need to be at its best against Oklahoma. They allow just 13.2 points per game, which is fourth best in the country. Georgia is 11th against the run and second against the pass. The best player on their defense is linebacker Roquan Smith. The SEC Defensive Player of the Year has 113 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks this season.

2 Oklahoma Sooners (12-1)

2018 Rose Bowl preview

Baker Mayfield (Photo by wsj.com)

The Sooners have ridden the great play of quarterback Baker Mayfield to the College Football Playoff. Oklahoma only lost to Iowa State this season and has some pretty impressive wins. They beat Ohio State, Oklahoma State and TCU twice.

They have a potent offense that averages 44.9 points per game. While Mayfield gets a lot of the headlines, the running game is good too. Rodney Adams leads the team with 960 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Trey Sermon and Abdul Adams also get a lot of carries and produce. Sermon has 710 rushing yards and five touchdowns, while Adams had 542 rushing yards and one score.

Mayfield has had a great season that has garnered him the Heisman Trophy. He has thrown for 4,340 passing yards, 41 touchdowns and five interceptions on 71% passing. This Georgia defense will put him to the test, but he hasn’t shown he can be totally stopped. His leading receivers are Marquise Brown and tight end Mark Andrews. Brown has 981 receiving yards and six touchdowns, while Andrews finished with 906 yards and eight touchdowns.

The defense is average, but only has to get a few stops a game with the good offense. They allow 25 points per game, with them ranking 41st against the run and 88th against the pass. Pass rusher Ogbonnia Okoronkwo has 70 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss, eight sacks and three forced fumbles this season.

Prediction

Baker Mayfield is a premier player who isn’t easily stopped. While he will be slowed down by Georgia’s great defense, the Sooners will come out on top. They can throw the ball and run it well, which will keep Georgia off balance. On defense Oklahoma will key on stopping the run and will make Jake Fromm try to keep up with Mayfield. Mayfield will come out on top.

Oklahoma Sooners 34 Georgia Bulldogs 30

 

 

 

 

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 from conference championship week

Teams are preparing for bowl season or for next season depending on how their season finished. Heading into bowl games, more coaching carousel drama, here is what we learned:

1. Oklahoma locks up CFP, Baker Mayfield locks up the Heisman

Conference Championship week

Baker Mayfield (usatoday.com)

Oklahoma dominated in the Big 12 Championship, beating TCU 41-17. The Sooners were ranked third in the most recent College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings, so this win virtually locks up their CFP spot. With a record of 12-1 and a Big 12 Championship at hand, Oklahoma will be watching the selection show just to see who they are playing in the first round of the CFP.

On top of the Sooners winning the Big 12, their quarterback, Baker Mayfield, has cemented himself as the Heisman winner. In the Big 12 Championship Game, he threw for 243 yards and four touchdowns. With over 4,000 yards passing and 40 total touchdowns on the season, Mayfield is the obvious choice.

2. UCF has completed a great turnaround, but lose coach

Scott Frost was announced as the new head coach of the UCF Golden Knights after the 2015 season. UCF had just gone 0-12 and needed a lot of work. In his first season as head coach, Frost led the team to a 6-7 record, which included an appearance in the Cure Bowl. It was a great start to the turnaround, but Frost wasn’t done yet.

This season, UCF was not favored to win the conference, with teams like USF and Houston stealing the headlines. They were expected to take another step forward, however. They surprised everyone and ripped off 12 wins (one was cancelled due to a hurricane) and won the AAC Championship. The Golden Knights have earned the right to play in a New Year’s Six Bowl. The complete turnaround has been completed.

Unfortunately for UCF, Frost has reportedly taken the job at Nebraska. While it is a bittersweet moment for the Golden Knights, I don’t think they would trade the undefeated season and AAC Championship.

3. Georgia fans can relax….for now

Conference Championship week

D’Andre Swift (Photo by saturdaydownsouth.com)

Georgia has been a team that looks like a contender early in the season, but nearly always blows it. The administration fired Mark Richt for his failures to compete at the highest levels. They hired Kirby Smart, who in his second season, has led the Bulldogs to a SEC Championship and the chance to win the whole thing.

The Bulldogs will be in the CFP and will be waiting to see how they play. They may have overcome the thought that they would choke, but they have to prepare for more big games if they want to win it all. Their wins over Auburn and at Notre Dame prove they can play with anyone in the country.

4. Clemson is battle tested

Clemson has put together another great season. They won the ACC Championship Game and are going to be in the CFP. Can the Tigers repeat as champs?

While the Tigers did lose to Syracuse, they beat a lot of good football teams this year. They won nine games against bowl eligible teams, including big wins over Auburn, Louisville, Miami, Virginia Tech and N.C. State. There were questions to start the season about Clemson, but they have answered most of those questions.

Does anyone want to play Clemson in the first round of the CFP?

5. J.T. Barrett is one of the toughest players of all time

J.T. Barrett re-aggravated a knee injury against Michigan and had to exit the game. Dwayne Haskins Jr. was able to take over and lead the team to victory. Barrett had surgery on his knee on the day after the Michigan game and was questionable to play in the Big Ten Championship.

He was able to start and play the whole game against Wisconsin. It wasn’t the prettiest performance, but he once again got the job done and led the Buckeyes to victory. He had 271 total yards and three touchdowns while playing so banged up. While he may not go down as one of the greatest players in the history of Ohio State, he certainly is one of the toughest.

 

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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 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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College Football Playoff bracketology 11/12/17

College football just gets crazier and crazier. In this edition of the college football bracketology, things are a bit different as a result of the games this week. Here are the top teams in college football for this week:

Playoff teams

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (10-0)

One of three remaining undefeated teams from a power five conference, Alabama got the job done again, getting a win over Mississippi State. The Bulldogs kept it close and were actually leading late, but could not hang on for the win. Alabama got a balanced effort and calmly came back to win.

The Crimson Tide are clearly going to be the number one team when the rankings come out on Tuesday. They haven’t lost and have played a much better schedule than the other two undefeated teams from power five conferences. Their best wins are over Mississippi State and LSU. They may not have the best wins, but being undefeated this late in the season gets the number one spot.

Alabama has one easy and one tough game left in the regular season and they need to win the latter to get into the SEC Championship Game.

This week: vs. Mercer Bears (FCS)

2. Oklahoma Sooners (9-1)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Baker Mayfield (Photo by usatoday.com)

Oklahoma got another great win when they dismantled TCU this week 38-20. Baker Mayfield and the offense are rolling on all cylinders. The best defense in the Big 12, TCU, couldn’t stop them and it looks like no one can. The Sooners genuinely look like they could be the best team in the country right now.

Now, Oklahoma has three top tier wins, over Ohio State, Oklahoma State and TCU. The loss to Iowa State prevents them from being the number one team. With their great wins, Oklahoma takes the number two spot in the rankings and control their own destiny for the CFP.

Oklahoma, like Alabama, has one game that will be easy and one game that won’t be.

This week: vs. Kansas Jayhawks

3. Clemson Tigers (9-1)

The Tigers beat Florida State this weekend, in what many years would’ve been a good win. This year however, the win is not that impressive. It was close for a lot of the game, but Clemson ended up pulling away 31-14.

Clemson has plenty of quality wins, which has helped them stay ahead of some of the undefeated teams. Their win over Auburn looks really good after Auburn upset Georgia. With other solid wins coming over Virginia Tech, Louisville and others, Clemson has earned the number three spot. The majority of their wins have come over teams that can make bowl games.

With the win over N.C. State and the results this weekend, Clemson has locked up a spot in the ACC Championship Game.

This week: vs. The Citadel (FCS)

4. Miami Hurricanes (9-0)

Miami got the biggest win they have had since the early 2000s. They destroyed Notre Dame 41-8 and are now back in big time college football. The defense showed its speed and athleticism by stopping Josh Adams and the Notre Dame offense. They made some first round draft picks on the Notre Dame offensive line look bad and are now in the CFP picture.

The Hurricanes have a great win over Notre Dame and a win over Virginia Tech that looks worse after their loss to Georgia Tech. They are carried by their win over Notre Dame and their undefeated record, but now that they have locked up the ACC Coastal, they will get a chance to prove themselves against another CFP contender in Clemson.

The remaining schedule for Miami slots them against two average or below average ACC teams.

This week: vs. Virginia Cavaliers

First four out:

5. Georgia Bulldogs (9-1)

Georgia lost to Auburn this week and slides down four spots in these rankings. They didn’t look good in the game, losing 40-17. It was a tough game to win at Auburn, but the Bulldogs looked bad and need to step it up in the next couple of weeks to make the CFP.

Although they lost this week, Georgia can still make the CFP without much chaos happening. They still have good wins over Notre Dame and Mississippi State to fall back on. Every FBS team they have played can still make a bowl game. If Georgia can win out, they will be in the CFP.

They play two solid teams in their last two regular season games, but should be able to win out until the SEC Championship Game.

This week: vs. Kentucky Wildcats

6. Wisconsin Badgers (10-0)

Wisconsin won a big game against Iowa and showed how tough they can be. They won 38-14 and did not allow Iowa to score an offensive touchdown. Iowa is now 6-4 so the win will likely not go as far as they hope, but it was a dominating performance that made the Badgers look good.

The Badgers look better as a result of Northwestern turning it on in the back half of the season. The problem is they have two decent wins, one over Northwestern and one over Iowa. The undefeated record has gotten them to number six in the country, but they have no margin for error.

With two Big Ten games left, Wisconsin needs to bring their “A” game every week.

This week: vs. Michigan Wolverines

7. Auburn Tigers (8-2)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

Kerryon Johnson (Photo by al.com)

Auburn helped create some chaos in the college football landscape with their win over then number one ranked Georgia. They played their best game of the season in their 40-17 win. They may have two losses, but they control their own CFP destiny with games against Alabama and a possible rematch with Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.

The Tigers lost to LSU and Clemson, but the wins and possible future wins have Auburn in a great position. With wins over Mississippi State and now Georgia, Auburn has the best case out of any two loss team. If they keep winning, it will make the committee’s decisions very interesting.

They have one easy game and then the Iron Bowl before the possible SEC Championship Game appearance.

This week: UL Monroe Warhawks

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-2)

The Fighting Irish lost another game to a top tier team this week. They stood no chance against Miami by the time halftime hit. Losing that big won’t do them any favors with the committee, but at least it came at the hands of an undefeated and good football team.

Notre Dame lost to two of the best teams in the country, which will count for something with the committee, even if they got blown out in one of the games. They still have some solid wins over Michigan State, USC and N.C. State. It will be hard to get back into the CFP without a conference championship game to play in, but in college football, never say never.

They play Navy and Stanford in the next two weeks, so Notre Dame has to remain focused and hope for some losses from the teams ahead of them.

This week: vs. Navy Midshipmen

Next four out

9. Ohio State Buckeyes (8-2)

Ohio State seemingly can’t figure out what team they are this season and followed up a loss with a big time win over Michigan State 48-3. Michigan State had risen up the rankings to number 12, making it another good win for the Buckeyes, but it might be too little too late.

The Buckeyes have the two losses to Oklahoma and Iowa, with the latter really holding them back. Iowa is just 6-4 now. Ohio State does have two good wins, over Penn State and now Michigan State, but they have to finish strong in orderto keep their CFP hopes alive.

They get Illinois before their regular season finale against Michigan.

This week: vs. Illinois Illini

10. TCU Horned Frogs (8-2)

The Horned Frogs lost to Oklahoma by 18 this week to get their second loss of the season. TCU looked outmatched and now has some serious work to do to get back in the CFP picture.

TCU beat Oklahoma State and West Virginia for solid wins, but the problem is the Big 12 beating up on each other. Three teams are tied for second place and a chance for the Big 12 Championship. TCU currently holds the tie-breaker over these two, Oklahoma State and West Virginia, so they should be able to make the title game if they take care of business.

If they can hold off two of the teams in the bottom half of the Big 12 standings in the last two regular season games, TCU will get a rematch with Oklahoma.

This week: at Texas Tech Red Raiders

11. Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-2)

Oklahoma picked up a big win over Iowa State that helps their case for the CFP and also significantly improved their chances of making the Big 12 Championship Game. The Cowboys won with a controversial finish, but it still counts as a win.

The Cowboys’ two losses, to Oklahoma and TCU, can prevent them from making the Big 12 Championship Game, so they need some help to win a conference championship. In terms of a CFP resume, they have beaten both Iowa State and West Virginia.

They won’t pick up much love playing the two Kansas teams in the Big 12 to finish the season, so they really need to make the Big 12 Championship Game.

This week: vs. Kansas State Wildcats

12. USC Trojans (9-2)

USC picked up another win, this time against Colorado. The Buffaloes aren’t the same team as last year, but could still make a bowl game.

The Pac-12 is likely out of the CFP, but USC holds its best chances. USC has beaten Arizona and Stanford for solid wins and will likely have a tough time picking up too many more solid ones. The Trojans  need a lot of help.

USC has one more regular season game left and then the Pac-12 Championship to prove themselves. It likely won’t be enough.

This week: at UCLA Bruins

 

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College Football Playoff bracketology 11/5/17

There were plenty of ranked matchups this weekend, which means that these rankings are changing yet again. The College Football Playoff committee will rank the teams on Tuesday once again and this is how they should rank the teams. (All rankings in the “this week” section are based on AP Poll ranking)

Playoff teams:

1. Georgia Bulldogs (9-0)

The Bulldogs remained undefeated by beating South Carolina 24-10. It may not be the biggest scoring margin of all time, but Georgia controlled the game and had a good game on both offense and defense. Jake Fromm is remaining efficient, while the many talented running backs help move the chains. The defense is dominant.

With the committee ranking Notre Dame at number three last week, they obviously value Georgia’s win over them pretty highly. Mississippi State is also moving up the rankings and Georgia blew them out. The rest of the wins have been pretty mundane, but those two wins help carry the resume.

Georgia still has a few tests left this season and are not a guarantee to win out, although they are playing like the best team in the country.

This week: at 10 Auburn Tigers

 

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (9-0)

College football playoff bracketology

Jalen Hurts (Photo by gridironnow.com)

Alabama also had a win that wasn’t by the biggest margin, but was controlled by them the whole time. They beat LSU 24-10 in a very tough, physical game. The Crimson Tide remains undefeated and a lock of a top two team when the committee comes out with their rankings.

After Florida State’s fall this season, this is Alabama’s best win of the season. Their wins over Colorado State and Texas A&M are their next most impressive. Alabama has looked like a great football team and blows out inferior competition, making them deserving of the number two spot.

Their are still a few games that will be difficult for the Crimson Tide that need to be won in order to get to the SEC Championship Game.

This week: at 18 Mississippi State Bulldogs

3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-1)

The Fighting Irish battled injury, but were able to hold off Wake Forest 48-37. Wake Forest is likely going to a bowl game, so the committee will value the win a little bit. This was one of the easiest games that Notre Dame has in the back of their schedule and they were able to get the win.

Notre Dame still has only one loss to Georgia by one point, but they also have some impressive wins. Their win over Michigan State looks better after they upset Penn State this week. They also have wins over top 25 teams in North Carolina State and USC. There is no doubt that Notre Dame is one of the top four teams on Tuesday again.

More toughness remains in the Notre Dame schedule as they have another big matchup this week.

This week: at 7 Miami Hurricanes

4. Clemson Tigers (8-1)

Clemson was able to hold off a late come back by N.C. State to win 38-31. The Tigers racked up another win over a top 25 team, which should help them hold their spot in the CFP rankings for the week. Their defense needs to be addressed, as they allowed the most points all season to the Wolfpack.

Their win over Auburn is looking better as the weeks go on, while their wins over Louisville and Virginia Tech look worse. Clemson gets the nod in the rankings over Oklahoma for beating a lot of quality teams rather than just a few big wins. Every team on their schedule, besides Kent State, has a chance to become bowl eligible. At this point in the season that is an accomplishment.

The Tigers’ schedule eases up down the stretch, so they may lose ground to other teams who play in more marquee games.

This week: vs. Florida State Seminoles

First four out:

5. Oklahoma Sooners (8-1)

Oklahoma has the best pair of road wins in the country after they won in Stillwater on Saturday. In a high scoring affair, the Sooners were able to shut Mason Rudolph down on the last drive to secure the victory, 62-52. Their playoff chances look really good if they can win out.

The Sooners now have big road wins against Oklahoma State and Ohio State. On top of those they have solid wins over Texas Tech, Kansas State and Texas. Their loss had looked better, but Iowa State just lost to West Virginia. Don’t be surprised if Oklahoma jumps into the top four this week, but their two marquee wins now have two losses and are leaving people questioning how good of teams they are.

If the Sooners win again this week they will be in the top four for sure in the next edition of the rankings.

This week: vs. 8 TCU Horned Frogs

6. Miami Hurricanes (8-0)

College Football Playoff bracketology

Malik Rosier (Photo by twitter.com)

Sound the alarm and cue up the smoke, because Miami is back. The Hurricanes got a big win at home over Virginia Tech 28-10. This drastically helped out a lackluster case to the committee despite Miami being undefeated.

This win is the best on the season for the Hurricanes and with a few more wins, can help propel Miami into the CFP. They also have wins over Toledo, a very solid MAC team that has just one loss, and a .500 Georgia Tech team. They haven’t lost, so if they win out they are in, but a lot more football is left to be played.

Miami has one more tough test in the regular season that needs to be passed this weekend. After that, it’s all about avoiding upset bids.

This week: vs. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

7. TCU Horned Frogs (8-1)

TCU got a win over a Texas team that always seems to fall just short of big upsets. Their defense stepped up again, only allowing seven points. The balance of good offense and defense is what makes this team so good.

Their win in Stillwater over Oklahoma State looks less monumental now that the Cowboys have also lost at home to the Sooners. The Horned Frogs also have solid wins against West Virginia and Kansas State to help their case. The loss to Iowa State likely won’t hold the Horned Frogs back too much going forward if they take care of business.

For a chance to really bolster their resume and keep their hopes for the CFP more real, TCU has to win this weekend against a very tough Oklahoma team.

This week: at 5 Oklahoma Sooners

8. Wisconisn Badgers (9-0)

Wisconsin looks good, but that’s about all you can say about them. They beat a sub-par Indiana team that is likely going to miss a bowl game, 45-17. The Badgers are tough and physical, but have yet to be tested by a challenging team.

The problem for their case to be in the CFP is that their biggest wins on the year are over Northwestern and Florida Atlantic. Their win over Northwestern is looking better now that the Wildcats are on a four game winning streak. In order to climb up the rankings, other teams need to lose and the Badgers have to beat a good football team.

The Badgers may get their stiffest test of the season when Iowa comes to town, as the Hawkeyes are brimming with confidence after blowing out Ohio State.

This week: vs. 25 Iowa Hawkeyes

Next four out:

9. Washington Huskies (8-1)

College Football Playoff bracketology

Myles Gaskin (Photo seattletimes.com)

The Huskies are slowly making their way back up in these rankings by continuing to win, even if it isn’t against the greatest competition. This week they beat an Oregon team that is trying to fight it’s way to bowl eligibility. To be fair, Washington did blow them out 38-3.

Washington played an awful non-conference schedule and is now paying for it. They beat a 6-3 Fresno State team, who is better than expected, for their only decent non-conference win. In conference they are beating .500 teams or below. They need some help to move up higher in these rankings.

Fortunately, Washington gets a chance to play a few games that should help their case in the last three weeks of the season.

This week: at Stanford Cardinal

10. Auburn Tigers (7-2)

Auburn is an intriguing two loss team that can inflict the most chaos over the last three weeks of the regular season that college football has ever seen. This week though, they defeated Texas A&M, who is a solid team even if the rumors continue to swirl around Kevin Sumlin.

The Tigers have two road losses, one to Clemson and one to LSU. Neither of those is a terrible loss. To go with their decent win over the Aggies, Auburn also has beaten Mississippi State, who is also moving up the CFP rankings. Auburn will get a chance to improve their ranking by playing the top two teams in the country over the last three weeks.

The schedule is tough for Auburn, but if people want the most chaos, Auburn is the team to root for.

This week: vs. 1 Georgia Bulldogs

11. Ohio State Buckeyes (7-2)

Ohio State ran into a buzz saw in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes looked like they were going to get a sizeable win, but then kept their foot on the pedal to blow out the Buckeyes. The loss knocks Ohio State down quite a bit in the rankings, but they are lucky in that a lot ranked teams lost this week.

The Buckeyes have now lost to both Iowa and Oklahoma and don’t have many great wins on the season. They do have a win over Penn State, which isn’t as good after the Nittany Lions lost to Michigan State. Ohio State is likely eliminated from the CFP and needs some serious disarray to even come close to the top four.

The next few weeks features some opportunities for some good wins for the Buckeyes if they can get back on track.

This week: vs. 13 Michigan State Spartans

12. USC Trojans (8-2)

USC has made their way back into the rankings this week after defeating Arizona 49-35. Arizona was a newly ranked team that hadn’t lost with new quarterback Khalil Tate under center. The Trojans are in a position much like last season and might be in store for a New Year’s Six bowl.

The Trojans have wins over Arizona and Stanford now, but both teams are fringe top 25 teams. Their losses, to Notre Dame and Washington State, are both to good teams, but it is always hard to make a case to the committee with two losses. USC is another team that is hoping that absolute chaos happens to help them move up in the rankings.

With their win over Arizona, USC likely now will clinch the Pac-12 South. They won’t have any more opportunities until the Pac-12 Championship Game to make a statement, so they will be scoreboard watching a lot the last few weeks of the season.

This week: at Colorado Buffaloes

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Five things we learned in college football week 9

Week nine was wild and crazy. College football is an awesome sport an there is still a lot more to be played. Here are five things we learned in college football week nine:

1. It’s going to be chaotic

There has already been a fair amount of chaos, but there is more coming. This weekend Ohio State beat Penn State, which knocks the Nittany Lions out of the top four for now. TCU was also in the top four and lost to Iowa State. In a matchup of two good teams Notre Dame enhanced their case to be considered for the CFP with their win over N.C. State.

The field has been narrowed down to four teams from power five conferences who are undefeated. Alabama and Georgia are two of these teams and will likely play each other in the SEC Championship. Miami and Wisconsin are also undefeated, but haven’t played anyone of note. With plenty more good games (Oklahoma-Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech-Miami, Notre Dame-Miami, Alabama-Auburn, etc.) the current rankings will not hold to form.

Buckle in, more great football is coming.

2. J.T. Barrett is Clutch

week 9 college football recap

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

J.T. Barrett is a record setting quarterback at Ohio State, but takes a lot of blame for the losses he has suffered while at Ohio State. His first few years as quarterback he had a lot of NFL talent around him, but lately that hasn’t been the case, particularly this season. He hasn’t played well in big games and he hasn’t had much help from the rest of the offense.

Ohio State needed to win to stay alive in the College Football Playoff race and that was a tall order with Penn State coming to town. They started off trailing and had to try to play catch up the rest of the game. It looked like the game was over at several different points, but Barrett kept on scoring. In the fourth quarter he was 13/13 passing for 170 yards and three touchdowns. This concluded with a touchdown pass to Marcus Baugh with under two minutes left to take a one point lead over the Nittany Lions. The Buckeyes were able to hold on for the big win.

Barrett turned in one of the best fourth quarter performances of all time to get his team the victory and proved a lot of haters wrong in the process.

3. Iowa State is really good

When Iowa State beat Oklahoma a lot of people thought it was a fluke, but the Cyclones have put a nice season together now. This week they took on TCU and won a tough, physical game 14-7. They have now beaten two top five teams this season and are 6-2. Because of their success Iowa State is in a four way tie for first place in the Big 12.

Matt Campbell has done a great job of turning this program around and they are already bowl eligible. They still have tough games against Oklahoma State and West Virginia, but there is a possibility they can go to the Big 12 Championship Game. Even if they don’t get that far, Campbell has to be in the discussion for a lot of coach of the year awards.

4. Notre Dame’s offensive line is the best in college football

Notre Dame got another good win this week over the N.C. State Wolfpack. The big matchup in the game was the Notre Dame offensive line against the stout Wolfpack defensive line. The Fighting Irish were able to control the line of scrimmage again and win the game, which put themselves in the thick of the College Football Playoff picture.

The offensive line did allow a sack to future NFL player Bradley Chubb, but otherwise played a great game. Josh Adams was able to rush for 202 yards, which is partially due to his talent and partially because of the great line in front of him. Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson, future NFL draf picks on the Notre Dame offensive line were able to clear a lot of holes for Adams. McGlinchey did allow the sack to Chubb, but the line still looks like the class of college football.

5. Arizona can win the Pac-12

College football week 9 recap

Khalil Tate (Photo by sfgate.com)

Arizona picked up another win this week to set them up nicely for the Pac-12 race. This week they beat Washington State 58-37, which officially ended Washington State’s CFP hopes. The offense has been sparked by quarterback Khalil Tate, who has used his dual threat abilities to torch opposing defenses. This game Tate had 275 yards passing and 146 yards rushing.

With Tate at the Helm, Arizona can win the Pac-12. Right now their main competition in the Pac-12 South is USC. The Trojans still only have one loss in Pac-12 play and look to be back on track with their domination of Arizona State this weekend. Arizona has been on a tear and can take advantage of the holes in USC’s defense. If they can get by USC they will find themselves in the Pac-12 Championship Game after starting the season off with lower expectations.

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