With upsets this weekend, the College Football Playoff Committee’s job has just gotten harder. Here is how they should rank the teams:
Top Four Teams
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (10-0)
This is the easiest pick the committee will have this weekend. Alabama is the only undefeated power five conference team. They may even be able to afford a loss as long as it isn’t in the SEC Championship Game. With wins over USC, Arkansas, Texas A&M, LSU, Ole Miss and Tennessee there is no doubt that the committee will put Alabama at number one.
Remaining Schedule: vs. Chattanooga, at Auburn
2. Ohio State Buckeyes (9-1)
Michigan’s loss may hurt the Buckeyes down the road because of the possibility of it knocking Ohio State out of the Big Ten Championship Game, but for now that is still hypothetical. The good news for the Buckeyes is that their resume is very impressive. They have beaten Wisconsin, Nebraska and Oklahoma, all of whom are likely to be in the committee’s top 15 teams on Tuesday. Their one loss to Penn State looks a lot better now that the Nittany Lions will be in the top eight this week.
Remaining Schedule: at Michigan State, vs. Michigan
3. Clemson Tigers (9-1)
The loss to Pittsburgh this week doesn’t hurt Clemson that much. If they win out, they should still make the College Football Playoff. The reason they are ranked third? They were ranked second last week, so Michigan won’t be able to jump them with their loss, and they beat Louisville in their head to head match-up. If they lose in one of the last two regular season games they could be in real trouble.
Remaining Schedule: at Wake Forest, vs. South Carolina
4. Michigan Wolverines (9-1)
Michigan lost to an average Iowa team, but it was a road game, and they still control their own destiny. With their wins over Penn State, Wisconsin and Colorado, all of whom should be in the top ten this week, their case to be in the playoff is still strong. Win out and the Wolverines will be in the College Football Playoffs.
Remaining Schedule: vs. Indiana, at Ohio State
First Four Out
5. Louisville Cardinals (9-1)
Louisville moves up to number five, but can’t move up into the four playoff teams because of their loss to Clemson. If the committee values the head to head match-up the Cardinals will still be on the outside looking in. Their only big win this season is over Florida State, who is 7-3. The Cardinals have been trying to blow out teams to help their case, but they might need someone in the top four to lose to make it into the CFP.
Remaining Schedule: at Houston, vs. Kentucky
6. Wisconsin Badgers (8-2)
The only two losses for the Badgers on the season are to Michigan and Ohio State. They got screwed in the intra-division cross over games. More importantly for Wisconsin they have wins over LSU and Nebraska, who should both be in the top twenty when the committee releases their rankings. They have played five teams this year when they were ranked in the AP top ten and won three of those games. Wisconsin likely controls their own destiny to win the Big Ten Championship and would likely get in the CFP if that happens.
Remaining Schedule: at Purdue, vs. Minnesota
7. Washington Huskies (9-1)
The Huskies were hurt badly by their loss to USC. USC is a quality team, but the rest of their schedule hasn’t been great. Their non-conference schedule as awful (Rutgers, Portland State and Idaho). Washington has a big win over a great Utah team who will most likely be in the top 15 in the committee rankings this week. Their next best win is over the under-performing Stanford, who sits at 7-3.
Remaining Schedule: vs. Arizona State, at Washington State
8. Penn State Nittany Lions (8-2)
Beating Ohio State gets them up to number eight, with teams ahead of them losing. Their losses are against highly-ranked Michigan and Pitt, which looks a lot better after they were able to knock off Clemson. The rest of their games are wins, but against teams that aren’t very competitive. Iowa is their next best win. They need to make the Big Ten Championship Game and win to make the CFP.
Remaining Schedule: at Rutgers, vs. Michigan State
Next Four Out
9. Oklahoma Sooners (8-2)
Many people were ruling Oklahoma out after they lost two out of their first three games, but their is still a way they can make the CFP. They need some chaos to happen, but it is possible. The losses to Ohio State and Houston aren’t terrible. Their wins aren’t great, but their two biggest games of the Big 12 season are the next two weeks. Oklahoma doesn’t have the luxury of a conference championship game, but they will play a tough Oklahoma State team the weekend of other conferences’ championship games.
Remaining Schedule: at West Virginia, vs. Oklahoma State
10. Colorado Buffaloes (8-2)
Colorado in the top ten? The committee had them at 12 last week, so they have to move up due to the teams losing in front of them. The bad news for the Buffaloes? They only have one average win, over Stanford. They lost to USC and Michigan in their opportunities for big wins. The good news? They play tough teams the rest of the season, which will provide them with opportunities to soar up this list.
Remaining Schedule: vs. Washington State, vs. Utah
11. Utah Utes (8-2)
The Utes are in the same position as Colorado. They have no great wins, but can still make a run at the playoffs. They did beat USC this season, which looks a lot better after the Trojans’ recent stretch of play. They, like Colorado, need to win the Pac-12 to have a shot at the CFP.
Remaining Schedule: vs. Oregon, at Colorado
12. Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-2)
The losses to Central Michigan and Baylor are really hurting the Cowboys’ chances right now. There may have been controversy in their loss to Central Michigan, but they still should have won that game. They have a win over West Virginia, which will put them in the top twelve for now over the Mountaineers. In addition to that win, Oklahoma State’s win over Pittsburgh is looking pretty good now much like it does for Penn State.
Remaining Schedule: at TCU, at Oklahoma
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