Week 8 did not provide nearly the excitement that weeks 6 and 7 brought us, but it still setup some great games over the next few weeks that will provide much more clarity on which teams are playoff worthy, and which ones aren’t.

After Notre Dame’s beating of USC, and Penn St’s beating of Michigan, that eliminates those two powerhouse programs.

There are, of course, the undefeated Power 5 teams that are remaining.

 

After that, there’s all of the one loss teams that could end up winning out.

We’re going to look at the resumes of all of these teams and see who has the best chance of getting in.

We won’t include any Group of 5 teams in this because their schedules (UCF, South Florida, Memphis) are not strong enough to be included in the playoff, even if they do finish undefeated.

Had UCF gotten a chance to play, and beat, Georgia Tech (the game was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma), that might have provided more of an argument for the Knights, but there’s not much more to go on right now.

We also won’t be including any 2 loss teams because, the trend, thus far, has been that only undefeated and one-loss teams make the playoffs.  But we might be willing to include somebody eventually (i.e. Auburn, etc), if their wins are impressive enough.

 

Currently Undefeated Teams

  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Penn St
  • TCU
  • Miami
  • Wisconsin

Alabama

Good Wins

  • Sept 2: 24-7 vs Florida St (FPI #16) (in Atlanta)
  • Oct 7: 27-19 at Texas A&M (FPI #33)

Biggest games remaining

  • Nov 4: vs LSU (FPI #22)
  • Nov 11: @ Miss St (FPI #18)
  • Nov 25: @ Auburn (FPI #9)

Synopsis: The front half of the schedule was weak, so it wasn’t the wins that were impressive; it was the way Alabama won.  Bama is 2nd in FBS in scoring defense, allowing only 9.8 ppg, and 6th in the FBS in scoring offense, averaging 43.0 ppg.  They are winning games by an average score of 33.2 ppg.

 

Georgia

Good Wins

  • Sept 9: 20-19 @ Notre Dame (FPI #5)
  • Sept 23: 31-3 vs Miss St (FPI #18)

Biggest games remaining

  • Oct 28: vs Florida (FPI #29) (in Jacksonville)
  • Nov 4: vs South Carolina (FPI #33)
  • Nov 11: @ Auburn (FPI #9)
  • Nov 25: @ Georgia Tech (FPI #23)

Synopsis: Georgia has a ridiculously tough back half of the schedule, with games away from home against Florida, Auburn and Georgia Tech – all top 30 FPI teams.  The only home game is against South Carolina, who could either have a great game or a terrible game, but SC still has one of the best QBs in the SEC, so anything could happen.  If Georgia wins out, it shouldn’t matter what happens in the SEC Championship – they should have a spot in the playoff.  I believe their team is setup to win the rest of the games on their schedule.

 

Penn St

Good Wins

  • Sept 23: 21-19 @ Iowa (FPI #28)
  • Sept 30: 45-14 vs Indiana (FPI #46)
  • Oct 7: 31-7 @ Northwestern (FPI #39)
  • Oct 21: 42-13 vs Michigan (FPI #24)

Biggest games remaining

  • Oct 28: @ Ohio St (FPI #2)
  • Nov 4: @ Michigan St (FPI #42)

Synopsis: They’ve gone through the difficult stretch in their schedule… but the back half includes a game at Ohio St, who is favored by about a touchdown over PSU, and at Michigan St, who Penn St should beat fairly easily.  If Penn St beats Ohio St, they should waltz into the Big 10 Championship game undefeated.  I don’t believe they’ll beat Ohio St at the Horseshoe, but hey… I’ve been wrong before.

 

TCU

Good Wins

  • Sept 23: 44-31 @ Oklahoma St (FPI #11)
  • Oct 7: 31-24 vs West Virginia (FPI #36)
  • Oct 14: 26-6 @ Kansas St (FPI #31)

Biggest games remaining

  • Oct 28: @ Iowa St (FPI #26)
  • Nov 4: vs Texas (FPI #21)
  • Nov 11: @ Oklahoma (FPI #7)
  • Nov 18: @ Texas Tech (FPI #34)

Synopsis: I think TCU is a really good football team… but I just don’t see any way that this team can go through the late stretch of the season undefeated.  3 road games against Top 35 FPI teams, and a home game against a tough Texas team tossed in there, along with a rematch against somebody (Oklahoma St, Oklahoma, whoever) in the Big 12 Championship game.  I’m just not buying it.  If they get through this, they absolutely deserve to be in the playoffs.

 

Miami

Good Wins

  • Sept 29: 31-6 @ Duke (FPI #44)
  • Oct 7: 24-20 @ Florida St (FPI #16)
  • Oct 14: 25-24 vs Georgia Tech (FPI #23)
  • Oct 21: 27-19 vs Syracuse (FPI #43)

Biggest games remaining

  • Nov 4: vs Virginia Tech (FPI #15)
  • Nov 11: vs Notre Dame (FPI #5)

Synopsis: Miami has won tight games in 3 straight weeks.  The back part of the schedule doesn’t look nearly as daunting as it did early on, with only 2 Top 50 FPI games, both at home… but both against Top 15 teams.  I don’t think Miami gets through the season undefeated, but if they beat Virginia Tech, they’ll get to the ACC Championship game with only 1 loss, and an ACC Championship could earn them a playoff berth in Mark Richt’s 2nd season.  They’ll have to play significantly better than they did against Georgia Tech and Syracuse to beat either VaTech or Notre Dame… and WRs HAVE TO STOP DROPPING PASSES.

 

Wisconsin

Good Wins

  • Sept 30: 33-24 vs Northwestern (FPI #39)

Biggest games remaining

  • Nov 4: @ Indiana (FPI #46)
  • Nov 11: vs Iowa (FPI #28)
  • Nov 18: vs Michigan (FPI #24)

Synopsis: Wisconsin could, after an entire season, have no wins over any Top 25 teams.  Iowa still has games against Minnesota, Ohio St, Purdue, and at Nebraska, and Michigan still has Minnesota, at Maryland, and vs Ohio St.  Both of those teams could be outside the FPI Top 25 at the end of the season, so where would Wisconsin’s signature win be?  They will, 100%, be in the Big 10 Championship game, and if they win (probably over Ohio St or Penn St) then it’s up to the committee as to whether their resume is playoff worthy.  I would imagine they would get in… but it’ll be close.  Would you give a 1 loss Notre Dame the nod over Wisconsin?  A 1 loss Clemson?

 

 

Current One-Loss Teams

  • Ohio St
  • Clemson
  • Notre Dame
  • Oklahoma
  • Oklahoma St
  • Washington
  • Virginia Tech
  • NC State
  • Washington St
  • Michigan St

Ohio St

Good Wins

  • Aug 31: 49-21 @ Indiana (FPI #46)

Loss

  • Sept 9: 31-16 vs Oklahoma (FPI #7)

Biggest games remaining

  • Oct 28: vs Penn St (FPI #3)
  • Nov 4: @ Iowa (FPI #28)
  • Nov 11: vs Michigan St (FPI #42)
  • Nov 25: @ Michigan (FPI #24)

Synopsis: Ohio St lost their biggest game of the first half of the schedule (at home vs Oklahoma), and hasn’t played a single Top 50 FPI team since.  Granted, they’ve beaten those teams by an average of 42 points.  But how hard is it to run up the score on UNLV, Army, Rutgers, Maryland, and Nebraska?  Penn St, this week, will provide a real test to see if Kevin Wilson’s offense is capable of getting things going against a good defense.

 

Clemson

Good Wins

  • Sept 9: 14-6 vs Auburn (FPI #9)
  • Sept 16: 47-21 @ Louisville (FPI #25)
  • Sept 23: 34-7 vs Boston College (FPI #49)
  • Sept 30: 31-17 @ Virginia Tech (FPI #15)
  • Oct 7: 28-14 vs Wake Forest (FPI #37)

Loss

  • Oct 13: 27-27 @ Syracuse (FPI #43)

Biggest games remaining

  • Oct 28: vs Georgia Tech (FPI #23)
  • Nov 4: @ NC State (FPI #17)
  • Nov 11: vs Florida St (FPI #16)
  • Nov 25: @ South Carolina (FPI #33)

Synopsis: Clemson’s 2nd half of the season sets up a lot like Ohio St’s, only not as difficult.  They host Georgia Tech and Florida St – two teams that Clemson sets up well against – and play at NC State a week after the Wolfpack travel to Notre Dame, and Clemson ends with a trip to South Carolina, who will still be missing their best offensive player, Deebo Samuel.

 

Notre Dame

Good Wins

  • Sept 16: 49-20 @ Boston College (FPI #49)
  • Sept 23: 38-18 @ Michigan St (FPI #42)
  • Oct 21: 49-14 vs USC (FPI #20)

Loss

  • Sept 9: 20-19 vs Georgia (FPI #8)

Biggest games remaining

  • Oct 28: vs NC State (FPI #17)
  • Nov 4: vs Wake Forest (FPI #37)
  • Nov 11: @ Miami (FPI #14)
  • Nov 25: @ Stanford (FPI #13)

Synopsis: If Notre Dame wins out, they will have wins over 4 Top 20 FPI teams, a loss to a top 10 FPI team, and 7 total wins over Top 50 teams (maybe 8, if Navy cracks the top 50).  There would be no way to keep them out of the College Football Playoff.  But I’ll go ahead and tell you — I don’t think they make it through this stretch without another loss.

 

Oklahoma

Good Wins

  • Sept 9: 31-16 @ Ohio St (FPI #2)
  • Oct 14: 29-24 vs Texas (FPI #21) (in Dallas)
  • Oct 21: 42-35 vs Kansas St (FPI #31)

Loss

  • Oct 7: 38-31 vs Iowa St (FPI #26)

Biggest games remaining

  • Oct 28: vs Texas Tech (FPI #34)
  • Nov 4: @ Oklahoma St (FPI #11)
  • Nov 11: vs TCU (FPI #12)
  • Nov 25: vs West Virginia (FPI #36)

Synopsis: It’s been a tough first half of the season for Oklahoma, with 4 games against FPI top 31 teams, including a loss at home to Iowa St.  They’ve got the most impressive win so far this season, a game at Ohio St, at night.  The last stretch is difficult, with 4 games against Top 36 FPI teams, including two straight against Oklahoma St and TCU, but 3 of the 4 games are at home.  If the Sooners get a win at Oklahoma St, I look for them to win out the rest of the season and head into a rematch with TCU in the Big 12 Title game.

 

Oklahoma St

Good Wins

  • Sept 30: 41-34 @ Texas Tech (FPI #34)
  • Oct 21: 13-10 (OT) @ Texas (FPI #21)

Loss

  • Sept 23: 44-31 vs TCU (FPI #12)

Biggest games remaining

  • Oct 28: @ West Virginia (FPI #36)
  • Nov 4: vs Oklahoma (FPI #7)
  • Nov 11: @ Iowa St (FPI #26)
  • Nov 18: vs Kansas St (FPI #31)

Synopsis: Oklahoma St has been great at blowing out bad teams, but they’re in incredibly tight games when they play good football teams.  A 7 point win at Texas Tech, and a 3 point overtime win at Texas, combined with a 44-31 loss at home to TCU shows that it could be a rough stretch for the Cowboys to end the season.  Mike Gundy’s crew finishes with 4 games against top 36 FPI teams, including games at West Virginia and Iowa St.  If they win out, they still have to play in the Big 12 title game against either TCU or Oklahoma.  That’s a tall order.

 

Washington

Good Wins

  • Sept 16: 48-16 vs Fresno St (FPI #50)

Loss

  • Oct 14: 13-7 @ Arizona St (FPI #40)

Biggest games remaining

  • Oct 28: vs UCLA (FPI #30)
  • Nov 4: vs Oregon (FPI #32)
  • Nov 10: @ Stanford (FPI #13)
  • Nov 18: vs Utah (FPI #47)
  • Nov 25: vs Washington St (FPI #27)

Synopsis: There’s an issue here… Washington has beaten only one Top 50 FPI team, and they lost to the highest ranked team they faced – #40 Arizona St.  The issue here is that all 5 of their remaining games are against Top 50 competition, with 4 of them against Top 32.  Luckily, 4 of the 5 games are at home, and one team (Oregon) is dealing with a ton of injuries, so their ranking is not what the team currently is.  Knowing what we know, I would not expect Washington to win out.

 

Virginia Tech

Good Wins

  • Sept 3: 31-24 vs West Virginia (FPI #36) (in Washington DC)
  • Oct 7: 23-10 @ Boston College (FPI #49)

Loss

  • Sept 30: 31-17 vs Clemson (FPI #4)

Biggest games remaining

  • Oct 28: vs Duke (FPI #44)
  • Nov 4: @ Miami (FPI #14)
  • Nov 11: @ Georgia Tech (FPI #23)

Synopsis: Virginia Tech missed a huge opportunity to grab Justin Fuente’s signature win in Blacksburg when they lost to Clemson earlier this season, but they’ve rolled through everyone else on the schedule, pretty handily.  The end of the schedule is not super daunting.  They get a Duke team that has fallen off big time after a 4-0 start to the season, a road game to Miami – who has made a habit of winning ridiculously close games lately, and a game at Georgia Tech after a stretch of games at Clemson and at Virginia for the Yellow Jackets.  If Virginia Tech finds a way to win out, they can get either a game against NC State, or a rematch against Clemson, in the ACC Championship game for a shot at the College Football Playoff.  With a freshman QB, I would wager they’ll lose at Miami and just end up with one helluva season.

 

Washington St

Good Wins

  • Sept 9: 47-44 (3 OT) vs Boise St (FPI #48)
  • Sept 29: 30-27 vs USC (FPI #20)
  • Oct 7: 33-10 @ Oregon (FPI #32)

Loss

  • Oct 7: 37-3 @ Cal (FPI #53)

Biggest games remaining

  • Oct 28: @ Arizona (FPI #38)
  • Nov 4: vs Stanford (FPI #13)
  • Nov 11: @ Utah (FPI #47)
  • Nov 25: @ Washington (FPI #6)

Synopsis: Washington St lost a game (against Cal) that they couldn’t afford to lose.  Their schedule was home-heavy early, so the majority of the end of the schedule is on the road, including games at red-hot Arizona, a good Utah team, and the finale against Washington.  I think Washington St could end up losing at Arizona this weekend, and then they may lose at home against Stanford, which would completely knock them out of the conversation.

 

North Carolina St

Good Wins

  • Sept 23: 27-21 @ Florida St (FPI #16)
  • Sept 30: 33-25 vs Syracuse (FPI #43)
  • Oct 5: 39-25 vs Louisville (FPI #25)

Loss

  • Sept 2: 35-28 vs South Carolina (FPI #33) (in Charlotte)

Biggest games remaining

  • Oct 28: @ Notre Dame (FPI #5)
  • Nov 4: vs Clemson (FPI #4)
  • Nov 11: @ Boston College (FPI #49)
  • Nov 18: @ Wake Forest (FPI #37)

Synopsis: NC State’s star is about to drop off.  I don’t see any way this team beats Notre Dame AND Clemson in back to back weeks… but if they do, you can bet they’ll be ranked in the Top 5 and geared up for the playoff.  On top of that, the game at Boston College, after that 2 game gauntlet, looks a lot more difficult now that BC has a 2 game winning streak on the road against Louisville and Virginia.  I don’t see how NC State wins out here, and I would expect they’ll lose at Notre Dame this weekend.

 

Michigan St

Good Wins

  • Sept 30: 17-10 vs Iowa (FPI #28)
  • Oct 7: 14-10 @ Michigan (FPI #24)
  • Oct 21: 17-9 vs Indiana (FPI #46)

Loss

  • Sept 23: 38-18 vs Notre Dame (FPI #5)

Biggest games remaining

  • Oct 28: @ Northwestern (FPI #39)
  • Nov 4: vs Penn St (FPI #3)
  • Nov 11: @ Ohio St (FPI #2)

Synopsis: Michigan St has 3 wins over teams ranked 24-46 in the FPI by 7 points, 4 points (in a monsoon), and 8 points.  This is the old school Big 10 team that muddies up every game they play.  They may be able to play like that against Northwestern this week, but if they get caught looking ahead to the 2 game stretch with Penn St and Ohio St, Northwestern could catch them.  I think they win this weekend, but PSU and OSU will handle them.

 

My CFB Playoff Prediction (on Oct 23rd)

If I had to wager right now, this is what I’m looking at:

#1 Alabama vs #4 Ohio St

#2 Clemson vs #3 Georgia

I think Clemson will win out, so long as Kelly Bryant stays healthy.  Ohio St will also win out against Penn St, Michigan St, Michigan, and Wisconsin to help build up their resume.

Georgia will beat Florida, South Carolina, Auburn and Georgia Tech, and the SEC will be the first ever conference with 2 playoff teams from the same conference.