College Football Playoff Projections: Week 11

You can check out my rankings from last week here. Here’s what the playoff committee went with vs what I had.

CFP                                                                  Me

1. Georgia                                                                    Alabama

2. Alabama                                                                  Georgia

3. Notre Dame                                                            Ohio State

4. Clemson                                                                  Notre Dame

So obviously the main takeaway is that we agreed on nothing except for three of the four teams that were featured. My reasoning for going with Ohio State last week was because I felt like they would win a head-to-head matchup against anyone in the country except for Alabama and Georgia. That’s a general way of describing my thinking process. Obviously, given this past Saturday’s events, I was VERY wrong to have Ohio State featured. I’ll own up to that. My reasoning for Clemson not making it was I felt like their Syracuse loss was a REALLY bad one, the worst loss among the top 10 teams, though the committee didn’t seem to agree with me. That’s why I had them outside of my “just missed” teams last week. So with the formalities out of the way, let’s get to my CFP picks for this week. A reminder, this is the way I would rank the teams, not what I think the committee is going to go with.

#1. Alabama Crimson Tide

Record: 9-0 (6-0)

Notable Wins: #3 Florida State, #19 LSU

Remaining Schedule: #16 Mississippi State, Mercer, #14 Auburn, Probably SEC Championship game against Georgia

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Jalen Hurts has a 23-1 record since being named Alabama’s starting quarterback as a true freshman (photo credit: Youtube)

Despite our disagreements, the committee won’t make me change my opinion on Alabama being the best team in the nation. They’ve got two more potential resume builders remaining in their three games left, including a joke game against Mercer, so this is an opportunity for the Crimson Tide to return to #1. Obviously, if they win the SEC Championship, they will most certainly retake that top spot. They beat LSU over the weekend 24-10 in a game where their defense was phenomenal. They allowed LSU quarterback Danny Etling to throw for just 137 yards and no touchdowns on 12/26 passing and held superstar runningback Derrius Guice to 71 yards on 19 carries (3.7 average). Offensively they’ve had better performances, but LSU has a pretty strong defense so I’m not too worried, especially when they have games where they’ve scored 59 and 66 against conference foes.

#2 Georgia Bulldogs

Record: 9-0 (6-0)

Notable Wins: #24 Notre Dame, #17 Mississippi State

Remaining Schedule: #14 Auburn, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, SEC Championship Game against probably Alabama

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Nick Chubb (#27) and Sony Michel (#1) form the deadliest 1-2 punch in college football (photo credit: Sporting News)

With Georgia’s 24-10 victory over South Carolina (yes, it’s crazy that they won by the exact same score as Alabama), they’ve clinched the SEC East and will be in the SEC Championship Game. After Auburn, it’s a relatively easy schedule. Georgia Tech has the potential to be a trap game with how good their defense has been this year, but I suspect Georgia will be fine. The Bulldogs stuffed the South Carolina running game on Saturday, limiting the Gamecocks to 43 total yards on the ground. South Carolina QB Jake Bentley had a solid game through the air, completing 60% of his passes for 227 yards and a touchdown, but also threw 2 interceptions. Georgia was once again unstoppable running the football, as Nick Chubb ran for 102 yards and Sony Michel added 81 of his own as they ran for 242 as a team, 199 yards more than their opponent. Jake Fromm didn’t do anything spectacular, but he was efficient, completing 16 of 22 for 196 yards with 2 TDs and no picks. I get why the CFP committee chose Georgia as their top team, as I do agree they have the more impressive resume. But based on the eye test for me, I feel like Alabama would win in a head-to-head matchup, which hopefully we get on December 2.

#3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Record: 8-1

Loss: #15 Georgia 20-19 in Week 2

Notable Wins: Michigan State, #11 USC, #14 NC State

Remaining Schedule: #10 Miami (FL), Navy, #21 Stanford

NCAA Football: Temple at Notre Dame

With an offensive line as good as the one in South Bend, it’s no surprise the running game has been so effective (photo credit: Notre Dame Athletics)

So this will likely be where the CFP committee and I agree, as with Ohio State’s loss, Notre Dame naturally moves up a spot in my personal rankings. Notre Dame made me a little nervous in their victory over Wake Forest, as they held a huge lead at halftime but only came away with a 48-37 win. Josh Adams and Brandon Wimbush both got hurt in this game and if the injuries are serious, then Notre Dame will be in big trouble. All three remaining games for the Fighting Irish are tough games, as both Miami and Stanford are ranked and Navy was ranked at one point this season. So if the Fighting Irish win out, which I expect them to do, then I will have no problem with them getting into the Playoff despite not playing for a conference championship (they don’t even have a conference. What dweebs.).

#4 Oklahoma Sooners

Record: 8-1 (5-1)

Loss: Iowa State 38-31 in Week 5

Notable Wins: #2 Ohio State, #11 Oklahoma State

Remaining Schedule: #8 TCU, Kansas, West Virginia, Possibly Big 12 Championship Game

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With 598 passing yards against Oklahoma State, Baker Mayfield may have jumped to the top of the Heisman voting (photo credit: SB Nation)

Now this may be the result of the high I’m coming down from in the Bedlam game, which was one of the single most insane offensive performances I’ve ever seen. 62-52, over 1000 PASSING yards between both teams, another 400 on the ground. Oklahoma ended up winning that one and Baker Mayfield threw for 598 yards and 5 TDs, vaulting himself to the top spot in my Heisman rankings (if I were to do them weekly). With Saquon Barkley’s and Penn State’s decline in the last couple weeks, I’m all aboard the Baker Mayfield bandwagon. But it hasn’t been just this game, Oklahoma’s offense has been incredible this season. Their lowest scoring output this season was 29 points over Texas in their Red River Rivalry win and they’ve scored at least 40 points in 6 out of 9 games this season. Defensively they’ve had their problems, which is why they trail Notre Dame for me, as they’ve allowed at least 24 points in every single conference game this season (including allowing 41 to a Baylor team that just got its first win of the season).

Teams that Just Missed:

Clemson Tigers

Record: 8-1 (6-1)

Loss: Syracuse 27-24 in Week 7

Notable Wins: #13 Auburn, #14 Louisville, #12 Virginia Tech, #20 NC State

Remaining Schedule: Florida State, The Citadel, South Carolina, Possibly ACC Championship Game

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Christian Wilkins (#42) and Dexter Lawrence (#90) form arguably the deadliest DT duo ever in college football (photo credit: Post and Courier)

The CFP committee has Clemson as their #4 team as of this writing. I do not, however they are my first “just missed” team. My main reasoning for that, despite some impressive notable wins, is the loss to Syracuse. Syracuse hasn’t been as bad as in years’ past this season, but the fact that the other teams I considered had losses against much higher caliber opponents means Clemson suffers more for it. They don’t have too many opportunities left to improve that resume, unfortunately for them. Florida State is a laughingstock compared to what expectations were, most starters likely won’t play against The Citadel, and South Carolina is likely the only team that could put up a serious fight before a likely ACC title game. Lucky for Clemson, Miami (FL) isn’t in their division, otherwise they’d have a pretty big problem. I do believe that if Clemson wins out, including the ACC championship, then they’ll be hard to keep out of the Playoff. So I wouldn’t count out Clemson just yet.

Wisconsin Badgers

Record: 9-0 (6-0)

Notable Wins: N/A

Remaining Schedule: Iowa, #21 Michigan, Minnesota

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Wisconsin’s Troy Fumagalli is arguably the best TE in the nation (photo credit: The Big Lead)

Wisconsin came in at #9 in last week’s playoff rankings and I really don’t expect them to advance TOO much this week, if at all (I wouldn’t be surprised if the committee puts Miami (FL) over them, given their recent victory over a ranked Virginia Tech team). Their schedule is still lackluster and they were in a dogfight with Indiana for 3 quarters. Yes the final score was 45-17, but the game was a LOT closer than the score might indicate. Trust me, I was at the game. Based on what I saw, Wisconsin has a defense that is really good at adapting to unexpected changes. Indiana threw them a curveball by going with Richard Lagow at quarterback when Peyton Ramsey had been starting the previous few games and the Hoosiers had some success early, going up 10-0 in the second. However Wisconsin was able to adjust to the quarterback they didn’t prepare for and were able to fluster Lagow throughout the second half, forcing interceptions on back-to-back defensive plays in the fourth quarter that really squashed Indiana’s chances. Offensively the ground game is really impressive and the passing game has some potential. But given how weak their schedule is, Wisconsin’s going to need to not only win out, but win BIG. I know the CFP committee says they don’t count margin of victory, but I think some voters definitely do in the back of their minds. I sure as Hell do. If Wisconsin wins out and wins the Big Ten, I think the CFP committee will have a very difficult time keeping the unbeaten Big Ten champs out of the playoff.

Those are my projections for this week’s college football playoff rankings. Are there any teams I’m not giving enough respect to? Let me know in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10.

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