The annual debate around this point in the college football season: Will [whichever conference] get two teams into the Playoff? It’s never happened before, but the Big Ten and SEC have multiple contenders the week before the first committee rankings come out, so here we go.
Each week, I update a board of picks and results for every game on the schedule, then see which postseason that’d give us. Below are this week’s updated guesses.
Another wrinkle: Notre Dame’s absolutely in the running. If a few P5 champs suffer losses, the Irish finish 11-1, and a team like Penn State or Georgia is 12-1, that could mean we end up with a Playoff representing only two power conferences, rather than the usual four. I’m not projecting that just yet, but your nightmare/dream EXPAND THE PLAYOFF NOW!!! scenario is just sitting right there.
College Football Playoff
- Championship (Atlanta): Alabama vs. Ohio State
- Sugar (New Orleans): No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Clemson
- Rose (Pasadena, CA): No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Ohio State
Don’t like seeing Ohio State here? Penn State can take care of that in six days. And TCU fans, your shot to change this comes by Nov. 11 at the latest.
I had OU as the No. 3 seed here last week, but failed to account for the committee likely using head-to-head as a tiebreaker of sorts. The committee does not automatically factor head-to-head into everything but does list it as a secondary consideration. Which team’s No. 2 wouldn’t really matter, though. No changes to this group otherwise this time.
Is some sort of BAMA-OHIO STATE-GEORGIA-NOTRE DAME monstrosity still on the table, especially if UGA and ND keep boosting each other’s schedules? Oh yeah. I have each dropping a couple of games away from home for now. We’ll see!
New Year's Six
- Peach (Atlanta): Georgia vs. Wisconsin
- Orange (Miami): Miami vs. Penn State
- Fiesta (Glendale, Ariz.): UCF vs. Stanford
- Cotton (Arlington, Texas): TCU vs. Notre Dame
This week, I dropped Washington and moved Notre Dame up, then fiddled with the matchups.
Bad scenario for the Pac-12: Stanford beats Washington at home on Nov. 10 to all but win the North. That could mean only conference autobid Stanford makes the NY6, especially if USC drops another game.
The Orange gets the top ACC non-Playoff and the top Big Ten/SEC/Notre Dame non-Playoff. The other three are at-large games this year.
UCF already had the lead in the mid-major autobid race, then added this week’s best win of any contender in that group, going on the road and beating Navy by 10.
- Citrus (Orlando): Virginia Tech vs. LSU
- Outback (Tampa): Michigan State vs. Texas A&M
- Liberty (Memphis): West Virginia vs. Auburn
- TaxSlayer (Jacksonville): Florida State vs. South Carolina
- Arizona (Tucson): San Diego State vs. New Mexico State
- Music City (Nashville): Indiana vs. Kentucky
- Sun (El Paso): NC State vs. Utah
- Belk (Charlotte): Georgia Tech vs. Vanderbilt
- Alamo (San Antonio): Oklahoma State vs. Washington
- Camping World (Orlando): Louisville vs. Texas
- Military (Annapolis, Md.): Wake Forest vs. Navy
- Texas (Houston): Texas Tech vs. Mississippi State
- Pinstripe (New York City): Syracuse vs. Iowa
- Independence (Shreveport, La.): Duke vs. UAB
- Cactus (Tempe): Kansas State vs. Arizona State
- Heart of Dallas: Iowa State vs. UCLA
- Quick Lane (Detroit): WKU vs. EMU
- Holiday (San Diego): Michigan vs. USC
- Foster Farms (Santa Clara, Calif.): Northwestern vs. Washington State
- Hawaii: Oregon vs. Hawaii
- Dollar General (Mobile, Ala.): Toledo vs. Appalachian State
- Armed Forces (Fort Worth): Army vs. Southern Miss
- Birmingham: USF vs. Tennessee
- Potato (Boise): CMU vs. Air Force
- Bahamas: Marshall vs. Ohio
- St. Petersburg: Memphis vs. North Texas
- Frisco (Texas): SMU vs. Fresno State
- Boca Raton: Houston vs. FAU
- Camellia (Montgomery, Ala.): NIU vs. Arkansas State
- New Mexico (Albuquerque): UTSA vs. Boise State
- Las Vegas: Colorado State vs. Arizona
- Cure (Orlando): FIU vs. WMU
- New Orleans: Troy vs. Louisiana Tech
Leaving us this week: Cal, Purdue, and Virginia, three teams that few people had bowling to begin the season anyway. Wyoming’s also out this time, but only due to the last open spot (the Cure) likely favoring a local team.
Joining us: Air Force, Arizona, and Arizona State. All As! Where you at, Arkansas? (Also the previously eligible FIU, though that’s only due to a spot opening up.)
The biggest thing to keep in mind: These are not based entirely on current or final standings. Each conference has its own bowl rules, but bowl games prefer matchups that will bring in fans and make money, not bowl games that reward teams that played well. Often, those two things are the same. Often, they’re not.
As always, I apologize for what happens to Pac-12 teams here. The Pac-12's rigid order and short list of options is a challenge every week. Also, I apologize in general for overrating and/or underrating your team.