College Football Playoff Picture
College Football Playoff Picture: Official Bracket, November 28
The penultimate rankings did offer a surprise or two. Clemson at number one was no shock, but then, it was followed by Auburn at number two. They could be the first two-loss team to make the College Football Playoff. Oklahoma was third and Wisconsin was fourth.
One could read into such things, and we will. Here is the correct analysis:
- The Committee does not think much of Wisconsin. Why else would the only undefeated Power 5 team barely be in the playoff? Hell, they put a two-loss team two spots ahead of them.
- The Badgers, Auburn, and Oklahoma are all done if they lose. Clemson, maybe not, depending on how badly they lose if it happens.
- Alabama is more likely to fall than rise after the championships, but there is a chance. If Georgia wins, they leap Alabama and replace Auburn; Alabama goes nowhere. If Miami wins, Clemson may or may not go, but they will leap Alabama. Now, if Ohio State wins, a case can be made for the Buckeyes. Here’s an interesting scenario: Clemson, Auburn, and Wisconsin win, but Oklahoma loses. In this last case, it’s entirely possible Alabama slides in as number four. TCU seems to be too far behind to make up all that ground.
College Football Playoff Picture: Official Bracket, November 21
Only one change to the top ten in the November 21 update, and that was the transposition of Miami and Clemson. It doesn’t really matter, but it happened. Why doesn’t it matter? Because Clemson and Miami play each other in the ACC championship soon, and one will lose, therefore this game never happens. Further, exchanging two and three does not alter any matchups. It affects which team calls the coin toss; that’s it.
Miami got credit for having to come back against Virginia, more than Clemson dumptrucking The Citadel. It is what it is, and barely worth consideration.
We are still at a position where only one through seven have a chance. Notre Dame is still out; they are not jumping four or more spots for being Stanford while other teams win conference championships. Ohio State is an interesting case, but still unlikely to get there. Winning the Big Ten is not enough; they need help, such as huge wins and collapses in front of them.
College Football Playoff Picture: Official Bracket, November 14
The committee dropped a few surprises on us with their third rankings release. This is an important one, especially after a significant week of the schedule in which multiple ranked teams met. In somewhat of a surprise, Clemson moved up to number two ahead of undefeated Miami, and Oklahoma just snuck in at four. Alabama at the top spot was no shock at all.
What we learned is that they well and truly hated how Georgia played against Auburn, dropping them six spots and putting them on the brink. Yet, a team off by one spot here or two spots there; it basically doesn’t matter. Alabama, Clemson, Miami, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Auburn, and even Georgia control their own destiny. Win out, and there’s a very good chance you are in the field. It remains highly unlikely there will be multiple entries from the same conference. Of the top eight, only Notre Dame seems not to have a realistic path. Below eighth, Ohio State, Penn State, and USC, are all out of time unless numerous teams in front of them collapse. Even at that, it will be difficult.
College Football Playoff Picture: Official Bracket, November 7
The second week of the official College Football Playoff releases showed an unchanged national picture. Georgia, Alabama, Notre Dame, and Clemson hold position. It was in the 5-through-8 position where we saw the changes, as well as everything below it. Oklahoma stayed fifth, but TCU, Miami, and Wisconsin fill out that quartet. I thought Miami might clip TCU and go into the sixth spot, but seventh is not a bad place for them. Besides, if they don’t beat Notre Dame, it doesn’t matter, anyway.
Michigan State saw a huge rise into the Top 12, with Ohio State and Penn State behind them. Who knew that the Big Ten’s only hope would be an (undefeated) Wisconsin? And if they’re not undefeated, it’s not happening. Their schedule has been too weak, except a bone got thrown their way: Northwestern is now ranked 25th.
Expect a big shake-up after the coming weekend’s games.
College Football Playoff Picture: Official Bracket, October 31
Last week, we extrapolated where the teams would land if the remainder of the season played out as it should. Now, we have an actual College Football Playoff bracket. Georgia leaps over Alabama for the top spot in the country. The Bulldogs get Clemson in the semifinal, while the Tide takes on Notre Dame in a rematch of the January 2013 national championship.
If you’re surprised Georgia passed Alabama, don’t be. The Bulldogs have a superior resume at this point in time. Georgia beat Notre Dame and Mississippi State, two currently ranked teams. Alabama has not beaten any teams in the College Football Playoff Top 25. It’s not their fault the Florida State win devalued like the Zimbabwe dollar, but it happened. The Tide need not worry about it, either: if they win their games, this will self-correct.
Notre Dame and Clemson also earned this position based on resumes. Meanwhile, we have the Sooners, Buckeyes, Nittany Lions, and Horned Frogs completing the top eight. Oklahoma is in fifth (a) because they beat Ohio State and (b) because their one loss, Iowa State, is to a rapidly improving top 15 team. Ohio State only has the Penn State win so far, but also that head-to-head loss with the Sooners. TCU is a deserving eighth over Wisconsin (9th), as the Horned Frogs have wins over Oklahoma State and formerly-ranked West Virginia. Wisconsin has not faced any teams ranked now or at any point. In fact, they may not until a potential Big Ten title game.
Auburn (14th) is ahead of Iowa State (15th) to lead the two-loss teams. That’s a tough call. Auburn beat up Mississippi State and lost to Clemson and LSU. Iowa State lost to Iowa and Texas but beat two top-ten teams in Oklahoma and TCU. The Tigers have not played a poor slate but Iowa State should probably be ahead of them. This plus their view of Oklahoma shows that the committee values who you lost to just as much as who you beat.
Finally, we also saw that they think nothing of the Pac-12, with their best team Washington at 12th. It would take a miraculous next five weeks to pave the way for the Huskies.
College Football Playoff Picture: The Unofficial Bracket, October 24
We changed our projected, unofficial College Football Playoff rankings, and here’s why.
- Alabama, Penn State, and TCU are in the top four and are likely conference champions. They’re in.
- Georgia rounds out the top four, but both Alabama and Georgia won’t get in, especially if there’s a one-loss power conference champion out there.
- Ditto for Wisconsin and Ohio State when it comes to the Big Ten title picture. There’s one spot and the champion, probably Penn State at this point, gets it.
- We’re left with Clemson, a 6-1 team and potential ACC champion. Should Clemson go 12-1 and win the ACC, they will be in the CFP.
This is a lot of theory and supposition. A number of those teams are interchangeable as well. For example, were Georgia number one and Alabama number three, we’d have the Tide at home. Also, a Miami team that runs the table and wins the ACC jumps. Not to mention, Ohio State or Wisconsin running the table. This is based off of the standings now and then extrapolating where the teams are likely to be. When the real College Football Playoff rankings come out next week, no more extrapolation here.
College Football Playoff Picture: The Unofficial Bracket, October 17
We are two weeks away from the first release of the College Football Playoff rankings. Until that time, we can (and do) extrapolate the CFP rankings based upon what the polls say. Right now, both the Associated Press and Coaches polls are in agreement on the top four in college football. They are, in order, Alabama, Penn State, Georgia, and TCU.
It stands to reason that this would be the foursome if the season ended today. Here’s the problem: the season does not end today, and in two weeks, this might look quite different.