Fifth College Football Rankings Recap
Thanks to a series of upsets in the Top-4, the chaos of the College Football Playoff rankings showed their true colors in this week’s recent poll. Miami, after a stunner to Pittsburgh, slipped to #7 and perennial contender Alabama went down a few notches at #5. The conference championship games have a lot of implications going into the final poll and can determine the fates of many teams going into bowl season. Here is what the committee went with this week.
— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) November 29, 2017
- Clemson Tigers (11-1)
The Tigers, are back on top of the college football rankings, and it looks like they will have a possible cakewalk in the ACC Championship Game. Just look at it… They emerge as a heavy favorite according to Vegas. [Link in email; I would like the previous sentence to hyperlink to the betting odds if you can] The trip to Charlotte is a two hour drive from Clemson, making it a de-facto home game for the Tigers. They are significantly ahead over conference foe Miami in the total offense and defense rankings, and by the way, they are the reigning national champions. A lot will be riding on the Tigers, but don’t put the Hurricanes in the corner yet, this title game will be exciting.
Next game: vs #7 Miami (ACC Championship Game; Saturday, 8 pm)
- Auburn Tigers (10-2)
The Tigers, after silencing Alabama in the Iron Bowl, jumped the likes of Oklahoma and Wisconsin, to take #2 in the College Football Rankings. However, in the process of beating Alabama was the loss of key play-maker Kerryon Johnson, who is still listed as questionable for the SEC Championship. The Tigers already made a serious case of themselves as an under-the-radar team that was within striking distance of the Top-4 all season. The Tigers, if they beat Georgia, can be the first ever two-loss team to make the playoff. The SEC Championship, will be the biggest hurdle to clear.
Next game: vs #6 Georgia (SEC Championship Game; Saturday, 3 pm)
- Oklahoma Sooners (11-1)
For the first time since the Big 12’s realignment in 2010, the conference will have a championship game to determine its winner. The Sooners will look to beat TCU once again in Jerryworld to win their 46th conference title in program history (11th since 2000). The Sooners have been playing hot since their loss to Iowa State by winning out the rest of their conference schedule, although not as convincingly due to the Big 12’s reputation as being very offense centric. Quarterback Baker Mayfield would have to play lights out and cut it out with the antics in order to lock the Heisman Trophy. The Sooners defensive unit, who has been giving up an average 390 yards per game, would need to limit every TCU opportunity.
Next game: vs #11 TCU (Big 12 Championship Game; Saturday, 12:30 pm)
- Wisconsin Badgers (12-0)
The underdog story of Wisconsin has added another chapter in the Badgers’ season by finally reaching the Top-4. Still, the Badgers still have their doubters as a team that should not make the playoff, mainly sighting their weak schedule as a reason. The Badgers, despite the lack of quality wins are ranked #2 in points allowed per game (12.0 avg) and #27 in points scored (34.8 avg.). The odds are still against the Badgers going in to Saturday against Ohio State and it will be like that if the Badgers survive and advance.
Next game: vs #8 Ohio State (Big 10 Championship Game; Saturday, 8 pm)
SEC (#5 Alabama, #6 Georgia)
The Crimson Tide, will need a lot to happen on Saturday in order to make the playoffs without a conference crown, a situation similar to Ohio State last season. What would need to happen is for Miami, Georgia, TCU, and Ohio State to win their respective games. The odds of all of that happening could be slim, but Alabama could be the best team in college football history to miss the playoff.
The Bulldogs are in a win-and-in situation in order to make the playoffs. Thanks to the SEC Title game held in Mercedes-Benz Stadium (in Atlanta, not the Superdome) the Dawgs have home field advantage in order to avenge their November 11th loss. But the odds-makers are expecting a toss-up for Saturday.
ACC (#7 Miami)
The Canes could have had an easy win if they capitalized on their turnovers in their heartbreaking loss against Pitt. Mark Richt, regardless of the result in the ACC Championship, is a major candidate for the AP Coach of the Year for bringing the Canes back to national prominence. The Canes, are in a disadvantage but could turn things around if the team avoids the mistakes that were made last week. I’ll expect an entertaining match-up.
BIG TEN (#8 Ohio State)
The Buckeyes, if they manage to win against Wisconsin, could miss the playoff and add more fuel to the controversy of the playoff committee. Despite the Buckeyes’ loss to Iowa, Ohio State is still a team that you don’t want to mess with; especially after a questionable injury to quarterback JT Barrett (who could be ruled out prior to the title game). The Bucks look to take out their frustrations from the injury on the underdog Badgers.
PAC 12 (#10 USC , #13 Stanford)
Regardless of the result of the PAC 12 title game, USC and Stanford’s chances to make it to the playoff are slim to none. USC, despite being an early favorite to win the national title, always seems to disappoint on high expectations. However, both teams will feature several NFL prospects including USC’s Sam Darnold and Stanford’s Bryce Love, who is looking to run away with the Heisman from Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield.
AMERICAN (UCF #14)
The Knights, although having no chance in the playoff, is an example of the little guy not getting a fair shake in the CFB Playoff Rankings. Compared to where the Knights were two seasons ago [Link in email about UCF’s 2015 schedule], their story has been impressive and now they have the chance to finish the year undefeated. Sadly, I am not going to rant about the flaws of the committee since the playoff was introduced… maybe for another article. The Knights, in order to receive the highest ranking ever for a non-Power five team leading in to the final playoff poll, would have to stop a high-powered Memphis offense that has scored an average 47 points per game.
So far the committee has got it right, however, if a series of upsets happens this weekend, the committee will need to pull an all-nighter by looking at past games, and stats when putting together the final four. If they manage to mess the final poll up on Sunday, it is time to look further into fixing the playoff.