Four Playoff Teams
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-0)
It was an unimpressive performance for the Crimson Tide against FCS team Chattanooga. The good news for Alabama is that they are the only power five conference team that is still undefeated. They are in the CFP if they win out. If they lose to Auburn and win the SEC Championship, they might still get in.
This Week: vs. #15 Auburn
2. Ohio State Buckeyes (10-1)
The Buckeyes were at number two in the committee’s rankings last week, but struggled against Michigan State. Michigan had the same struggles, as the Spartans get up for big games. There is no reason to drop Ohio State in the rankings at this point. Their wins over Oklahoma and Wisconsin are looking really good now that both are solidly in the top ten. The win over Nebraska is an added bonus and their loss to Penn State isn’t that bad. If Penn State is able to win the Big Ten Championship even if Ohio State wins this week, the Buckeyes will have to hope that their resume speaks for itself. A lot will be decided in “The Game”.
This Week: vs. #3 Michigan
3. Michigan Wolverines (10-1)
Michigan has more big wins than anyone in the top four, but they lost to an average Iowa team. They have wins over three current top ten teams in Wisconsin, Penn State and Colorado. The Wolverines struggled to beat Indiana with starting quarterback Wilton Speight out, so that is something to watch in the coming weeks. If Michigan can beat Ohio State this week they will go to the Big Ten Championship Game. Ultimately the Maiz and Blue control their own destiny.
This Week: at #2 Ohio State
4. Clemson Tigers (10-1)
The Tigers got back on track, beating Wake Forest this week. Unfortunately for them, none of the teams ahead of them lost, but they are in the driver’s seat in the ACC and should be favored heavily in their next two games. Their next two weeks should be a lot easier than any other team in contention for the CFP. Win out and they are in.
This Week: vs. South Carolina
First Four Out
5. Washington Huskies (10-1)
USC’s upset of Washington may not have been much of an upset at all. The Huskies’ biggest win this season was over Utah and the Utes’ loss to Oregon this week really hurts them. The wins over Utah and Stanford are still decent wins, but they are not marquee. Now Washington plays Washington State, who will likely be out of the top 25 when the rankings come out, after their loss to Colorado. The winner of this game does however go to the Pac-12 Championship.
This Week: at #22 Washington State
6. Wisconsin Badgers (9-2)
If Wisconsin beats Minnesota this week, they represent the Big Ten West in the Championship Game. The week one win over LSU is solid and a win over Nebraskas helps out too. Their only losses are to Ohio State and Michigan. Ultimately, if the Badgers win out the lowest they can be is the first team left out of the CFP.
This Week: vs. Minnesota
7. Penn State Nittany Lions (9-2)
To be honest, the Nittany Lions’ win over Ohio State is completely carrying them, but the committee seems to like that win enough to keep Penn State this highly ranked. Penn State has the two losses to Pitt and Michigan, which aren’t as “good” of losses as Wisconsin’s. All Penn State fans will be rooting hard for Ohio State to beat Michigan and that their team will beat Michigan State, so that they can play in the Big Ten Championship Game.
This Week: vs. Michigan State
8. Oklahoma Sooners (9-2)
Oklahoma is surging up the rankings after losing two of their first three games. They scheduled tough, which gets the committee’s attention, but they failed by losing to Houston and Ohio State. The Sooners have flown through the Big 12 schedule, but picked up their best win this weekend on the road at West Virginia. They need a lot to happen ahead of them, but their is still a slight chance they can get into the CFP.
This Week: BYE, Next Week: vs. #11 Oklahoma State
Next Four Out
9. Louisville Cardinals (9-2)
Houston has shook up the playoff more than a lot of teams and they aren’t even in consideration to make it. The Cardinals lost to the Cougars on Thursday night, which leaves their chances at making the CFP a long shot. Their win over FSU helps their case a lot, as they don’t have a win over a top 15 team. Louisville needs to win their last game and hope for complete chaos.
This Week: vs. Kentucky
10. Colorado Buffaloes (9-2)
The Buffaloes may have gotten a big win this week over a ranked Washington State team, but their overall case to the committee is pretty weak. They only have three wins against teams with winning records. They need to get into the Pac-12 Championship Game by winning this weekend and then hope that the teams ahead of them fall by the wayside.
This Week: vs. #12 Utah
11. Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-2)
The loss to Central Michigan, which shouldn’t have been allowed, is really hurting the Cowboys right now. They also lost to Baylor, making them a long shot to make the CFP. They do have a win over West Virginia and have a chance to win the Big 12 with a win over Oklahoma.
This Week: Bye, Next Week: at #9 Oklahoma
12. USC Trojans (8-3)
USC is on a roll and have wins over Colorado and Washington. The best thing that happened to the Trojans this weekend, other than their win over UCLA, was Utah losing to Oregon. Now if Utah beats Colorado next week, USC will be in the Pac-12 Championship Game. They are going to need a few upsets each week to make the CFP, but anything is possible.