Well, college football’s Week 11 was as big as advertised. Auburn and Miami blasted Georgia and Notre Dame, respectively, while the Big 12 picture cleared somewhat and a couple big entities appear to have left the Playoff board. This season is now so officially messy that we might end up with not just a two-loss team having a truly worthy resume; we might have more than one.
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, which might change slightly once new College Football Playoff rankings come out on Tuesday. This is not an “if the season ended today” picture; these are predictions on how it’ll look at the end.
College Football Playoff
- Championship (Atlanta): Oklahoma vs. Ohio State
- Sugar (New Orleans): No. 1 Miami vs. No. 4 Ohio State
- Rose (Pasadena, CA): No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Auburn
Week 11’s two most important results: Notre Dame’s loss to Miami and Washington’s loss to Stanford. Those mean we’re back on track to have four spots for four power conferences; even if we’re gonna start letting in two-loss teams all willy-nilly, we’re not gonna do it for a Pac-12 champ that hasn’t exactly torn apart a great schedule or an Irish team that ended 10-2, not 11-2.
Miami beating Clemson? S&P+ would’ve favored the Canes over the Tigers even before that Notre Dame beatdown, for one thing. Beginning to agree with those who think Miami’s sloppy October was largely the result of recovering from Hurricane Irma.
Auburn beating Bama and UGA again? Bama’s banged-up and just struggled with a team Auburn destroyed (and a team kind of built like a junior Auburn), and did you see anything that suggests the Dawgs can run on the Tigers?
Placing faith in Ohio State is terrifying, but let’s assume they’ve finally decided to just BE WHO THEY ARE. I can try to think of that loss at Iowa as a wild fluke and that loss to Oklahoma as putting them at 1-1 over the last two years against 2017’s Heisman winner.
What about the one-loss non-champs in this scenario, like Ohio State last year? Well, do you see any of those teams likely to have wins over three teams in the top eight, like those Buckeyes did?
(Alabama and its lighter schedule seems like the safer pick at No. 4, since it hasn’t lost two ugly games, but would the committee like the optics of giving the SEC the first two-loss entrant and the first one-conference duo?)
New Year's Six
- Peach (Atlanta): UCF vs. Penn State
- Orange (Miami): Clemson vs. Wisconsin
- Fiesta (Glendale, AZ): USC vs. Georgia
- Cotton (Arlington, TX): Notre Dame vs. Alabama
The Orange gets the top non-CFP teams from the ACC and the Big Ten/SEC/Notre Dame. Obviously, a lot of teams are in the running for that second group.
The other three bowls here are committee pairings, based on the highest-ranked teams.
I think Penn State would be the last team in (since UCF would be the mid-major auto-bid). Would you rather have TCU, Washington, Oklahoma State, or another? Please pretend I said that team instead.
- Citrus (Orlando): Virginia Tech vs. South Carolina
- Outback (Tampa): Michigan vs. LSU
- Liberty (Memphis): Iowa State vs. Kentucky
- TaxSlayer (Jacksonville): Florida State vs. Missouri
- Arizona (Tucson): San Diego State vs. New Mexico State
- Music City (Nashville): Indiana vs. Texas A&M
- Sun (El Paso): Virginia vs. Oregon
- Belk (Charlotte): Louisville vs. Marshall*
- Alamo (San Antonio): TCU vs. Washington
- Camping World (Orlando): NC State vs. Oklahoma State
- Military (Annapolis, MD): Georgia Tech vs. Navy
- Texas (Houston): Texas vs. Mississippi State
- Pinstripe (New York City): Boston College vs. Iowa
- Independence (Shreveport, LA): Southern Miss* vs. Utah State*
- Cactus (Tempe): Kansas State vs. Utah
- Heart of Dallas: West Virginia vs. UCLA*
- Quick Lane (Detroit): Wake Forest vs. WMU
- Holiday (San Diego): Michigan State vs. Arizona
- Foster Farms (Santa Clara, CA): Northwestern vs. Washington State
- Hawaii: WKU* vs. Fresno State
- Dollar General (Mobile): Toledo vs. Appalachian State
- Armed Forces (Fort Worth): Army vs. UTSA
- Birmingham: Memphis vs. Georgia State*
- Potato (Boise): CMU vs. Wyoming
- Bahamas: FIU vs. Ohio
- St. Petersburg: SMU vs. UAB
- Frisco (TX): Houston vs. MTSU*
- Boca Raton: USF vs. FAU
- Camellia (Montgomery, AL): NIU vs. Arkansas State
- New Mexico (Albuquerque): North Texas vs. Colorado State
- Las Vegas: Boise State vs. Stanford
- Cure (Orlando): Akron* vs. UL Lafayette
- New Orleans: Troy vs. Louisiana Tech
* = Filling another conference’s unfilled bid.
Slightly more sensical overall than last week, but we still have a lot of non-powers sliding into power conference bids due to lack of teams. We’re also closer to a 5-7 team making it in than we were a week ago.
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 overrating and/or underrating your team.
What do you think?
Let’s also tune these up a little after the first Playoff rankings come out on Tuesday.