Sep. 23, 2016
College Football Layoff
Yeah, I misspelled it on purpose. Alabama and Western Michigan are now the ONLY undefeated teams in the FBS world, and although Western Michigan has a nice road win at Northwestern, c'mon, they aren't making the playoff. They are in the MAC, and unless that eventually takes the place of the Big Ten or the playoff expands to 16, they won't see a team in the playoff ever. So, here is my top four for the College Football Playoff.
Alabama vs. Alabama in the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl, and Alabama vs. Alabama in the Fiesta Bowl.
Okay, that won't happen, but with the way these teams are looking and with upsets coming from everywhere yesterday, the Top 4 is going to be interesting to watch. Clemson had the worst loss among the top 4, losing at home to Pittsburgh. Washington's loss is second worst, as they lost to a ranked team at home in USC, but it was by double digits. Michigan also gave some value to Iowa's disappointing season, by losing by one on the road to the Hawkeyes. Not only that, but Auburn and Texas A&M both lost too, to Georgia and Ole Miss, respectively, giving them both three losses and thus allowing Alabama to win the SEC West. Oh, and Auburn also has to go to Bama later in the season, where Texas A&M has a game with LSU to end the season. They are both out.
It's pretty obvious to start off that Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State all control their own destiny. Wisconsin has the easiest route, as it only has to beat either Ohio State or Michigan in the Big Ten title game, whereas Michigan and Ohio State play each other in basically a playoff game. A two loss Big Ten champion in Wisconsin and a two loss winner of the Big Ten East both could theoretically make the playoff, especially if Washington or Clemson loses again.
Clemson probably has the easiest road to getting back into the playoff, as they have a road game at Wake Forest (which doesn't look so easy anymore as Clemson is vulnerable now) and a home game against South Carolina. They then have the ACC Championship game if they beat Wake Forest, and it looks as it will be either North Carolina or Virginia Tech. Neither is bad by any means, but they both officially disqualified themselves from the Playoff with some road losses.
Washington's route to the Playoff is the most difficult, as the Pac-12 is a bit of a gauntlet of above-average teams. They have a decent Arizona State team coming into town this Saturday, and then they have a huge road game against now Pac-12 North leader Washington State, who hasn't lost since going 0-2 to start the season, and who probably will be ranked near the top 10 by that time. Washington then would have to play either Colorado, USC or Utah for the Pac-12 title, and should they avenge their USC loss, beat Utah again, or beat a top 10 Colorado team, the Huskies are in. Oh, and if they lose to Washington State and Washington State wins the Pac-12, maybe they have a shot at making the playoff too? It's unlikely, but anything's possible this year.
You then have a couple of outsiders lurking around as well, with Louisville, West Virginia and Oklahoma still on the radar for the playoff. Should Oklahoma win out, Ohio State win the Big Ten, and Houston beat Louisville, Oklahoma has a very strong case all of a sudden. And their two remaining, at West Virginia and hosting Oklahoma State. Should West Virginia go 11-1, by beating Baylor, Oklahoma and Iowa State, I think they deserve a lot of consideration too. Especially with a Clemson loss at Wake Forest and a win at Houston, Louisville deserves a look and the to-be Heisman Lamar Jackson going up against Alabama would make things interesting. I don't think Penn State has a case unless some really bad losses happen in the Big Ten.
Right now, my top four is Alabama, Ohio State, Louisville and Michigan, with Clemson and Wisconsin tied for 5th, Washington 7th with Oklahoma, Penn State and West Virginia rounding out the top 10. At this point, I would rather see Louisville than Clemson, and think it would make it more interesting, but should Clemson beat Wake Forest, not lose to South Carolina, and win the ACC, they have to be in over them. As for Wisconsin, they win out and they are in, and either Michigan or Ohio State will fall out when they play each other. Washington could hop back in with two more quality wins and just one loss. It's a crazy season, although once again, Alabama is the clear favorite.