College Football Playoff Final Four Starting to Take Shape
The College Football Playoff Committee will announce its first playoff order on October 30th. So far, it has been a roller coaster ride for some teams and some conferences, but there have been some staples so far too.
Alabama has solidified itself as No. 1 and nobody has come close to looking as impressive as the Tide. Expect them to be ranked No. 1 when the committee announces it’s first ranking of the season. ‘Bama is off this week in advance of their showdown with LSU next Saturday.
Clemson has been at the top for a few years now and that doesn’t look to change anytime soon. They have a signature win on the road at Texas A&M, one of the finest defenses in the country, and a developing superstar at quarterback in Trevor Lawrence.
Notre Dame has the best team they have had in years. The Irish will be favored in every game they play the rest of the season. If Notre Dame runs the table, there is no chance they don’t get in.
After the top three, its a crap shoot. There are a number of one-loss teams who can make a case for themselves, starting with LSU. The Tigers have a showdown next week hosting the Crimson Tide in Baton Rouge. If LSU can find a way to win, they solidify their spot. If the Tide gets by LSU, then LSU is essentially eliminated. To the Tiger faithful, this is a huge playoff game.
Michigan comes into this week on a mission, having won an important contest on the road at Michigan State. I don’t expect the Wolverines to lose until they face Ohio State at the end of the year, so Michigan will be in the top-4 right until the last game. The Michigan defense is as good as any in the country, so I really expect them to run the table.
Texas comes in with one loss too. Not sure what to think about the resurgence of the Longhorns, especially since they looked so bad against Maryland. But, their win against Oklahoma looks pretty strong, so we will see where the Big 12 goes from here. If Texas runs the table, I think it would be hard for them to be left out of the equation.
Oklahoma is another one-loss team with an uphill battle. The voters always love the marquee programs with marketable players, and OU is no different. Kyler Murray is as exciting a player as there is in college football, so expect the Sooners to get a lot of love if they keep winning. The problem is they have a blowout loss to Texas, which will hurt them with the committee.
Probably the most interesting team in the entire mix is Pac 12 leader Washington State. Mike Leach has his high flying Cougars playing superior football, so a win this weekend at No. 24 Stanford will move them up in the polls. The Pac 12 is really balanced this year, with four teams from the North ranked in the top-25. If Washington State runs the table, they will have six wins against top-25 teams, which will really create a problem for the CFP committee.
That is it. Nobody else has a chance. Central Florida, undefeated again, has no quality wins and have struggled against mediocre competition. South Florida and Central Florida play each other at the end of the year, but their overall strength of schedule keeps them out of the mix.
We will get a first hand look next Tuesday when the first CFP rankings come out.