As the bowl season of the NCAA football season nears, the college football rankings continue to get more stressful. Will there be any change?
The NCAA college football playoff picture remains the same as the results of the top four resulted in all of them winning. Oregon fell to #14 after being upset by Herm Edward’s Arizona State. That moved Utah up to the #6 spot this week in the CFP rankings. Meanwhile, Alabama continues to win without Tua Tagovailoa, but as it stands will continue to be on the outside looking in.
Despite this, it is not impossible for the Crimson Tide to make a run and sneak in. However, a lot of scenarios would have to play out to make that happen. Here is the case for the top five teams making or missing the playoff.
#2 LSU 11-0
Remaining Schedule: vs Texas A&M, SEC Championship vs. #4 Georgia
While the defensive side of the ball has been questionable for the Tigers, Joe Burrow and the offense have more than made up for it. However, by no means is there a guarantee for this team. Why is that? Well, the next two games are tough and not to be taken lightly. Especially the Aggies.
If you recall last season’s matchup in College Station, the Aggies and Tigers played in a marathon that lasted seven overtimes for a final of 74-72. The Aggies took that one. Things are a bit different this time around. While the Aggies continue to grow into a contender, LSU is ranked number two in the country. It only takes one loss to ruin everything.
Despite being a lock to represent the SEC West in the conference championship game, a two-loss team is certainly not getting in without some help. Basically, all LSU has to do is win out to be guaranteed a spot. However, there is a slight chance they can make it with a loss in the championship game, but I highly doubt it. If Alabama is out with a loss and no conference championship game, there will be no mercy on LSU.
The bottom line for LSU is, win and they’re in. The only concern for them is, as usual, their defense. If the offense can outscore the Aggies and the Bulldogs, the Tigers are in control of their own fate. Boy the NCAA is strange.
#1 Ohio State 11-0
Remaining schedule: At #13 Michigan, Conference Championship TBA
Ryan Day has certainly done a great job with this Buckeyes program. However, this is another case where the finale is as difficult as anything on the schedule. Once again, here is another case where the NCAA and the CFP committee will value the conference championship. While it looks like the opponent will be Minnesota, there is still nothing set in stone.
However, the Buckeye’s next opponent is no cakewalk. Especially when it’s a rival as big as Michigan. This game could mean just as much to Jim Harbaugh and his coaching job as it does to Ohio State’s playoff chances. Much like the LSU Tigers, Ohio State’s formula is simple. Win out and they are guaranteed a spot in the playoff. Lose to Michigan or lose the conference championship game, and now you give Alabama a chance to sneak in. I doubt they would blow such an opportunity.
In my opinion, I see Minnesota giving the Buckeyes a harder matchup as opposed to Michigan. But only time will tell. Look forward to some drama for the CFP and the Big 10 championship. Once again, the NCAA is strange.
#3 Clemson 11-0
Remaining schedule: At South Carolina, ACC Championship TBA
Just when everyone was panicking, Clemson continues to truck forward and remains at number three in the rankings. Dabo Sweeney and Trevor Lawrence look good towards the end and once again end up in the top four. However, their road to remain in the picture is not so bad.
I warn people, do not overlook the Gamecocks. This is the same South Carolina team that gave Georgia their only loss of the year so far. As of right now, Clemson is waiting to see whether Virginia or Virginia Tech will be their opponents from the Coastal division. Regardless, I truly expect South Carolina to be the biggest test for the Tigers.
It is one of those games that a team like Clemson can overlook and fall asleep. Knowing Coach Swenney, he will prepare his team well. It is up to his players to take care of business. Out of the four teams right now, Clemson worries are the least. They have, by far, the easiest schedule of the remaining teams and the team most guaranteed to remain in.
Did I mention the NCAA is strange?
#4 Georgia 10-1
Remaining schedule: At Georgia Tech, SEC Championship vs. #2 LSU
The team with the highest chance to fall out of the top four is indeed the Bulldogs. Their biggest hiccup of the year is the loss to South Carolina and their offense has been questionable at times. Nonetheless, they have held their own and have earned the number four spot.
Unfortunately for Georgia, their destiny falls upon beating LSU in the conference championship game of the SEC. Basically, should the Bulldogs lose to LSU, they put the committee in a tough spot. Hand their spot over to Alabama or choose another team from another conference that also has one loss.
There is a slight chance Georgia can remain, but I doubt a two-loss team, let alone a non-conference champ, will get in. Minnesota, Utah, Oklahoma, or Baylor all have outside chances of sneaking in. Of course, if the Bulldogs pull off the upset, the NCAA and CFP committee will have a big dilemma on their hands.
It is setting up to be quite the ending. We still have one more team to discuss, however.
#5 Alabama 10-1
Remaining schedule: At #15 Auburn
It is simple for Alabama. Beat Auburn in the Iron Bowl and the CFP committee will have to think about slotting them in the top four. However, in true War Eagle fashion, I expect the Auburn defense to expose Mac Jones and make life difficult on the Crimson Tide offense.
The Tide are at a great disadvantage since they don’t get to participate in a conference championship game. Basically they have to win and hope some of the others in the top four lose. It doesn’t help that they have to fight with four or five other teams that could make an impression as well.
Get ready for a wild end to the regular season of the college football season. It will be interesting to watch the teams handle their business.
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Until next time folks.
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