Here is what the committee went with last week vs what I had
3.Notre Dame Notre Dame
We had a pretty wild week in college football. Both Georgia and Notre Dame went down HARD, with each team losing big to Top-10 opponents. Notre Dame is pretty much eliminated from playoff contention now, as they have two losses and no conference title game to play for. Georgia still has a chance but they’re going to need to catch a break or two. Alabama is also looking vulnerable. So with that, let’s get to my rankings. A reminder once again that these are not my predictions as to what the CFP committee is going to do, but how I would vote.
#1. Alabama Crimson Tide
Record: 10-0 (7-0)
Notable Wins: #3 Florida State, #19 LSU, #16 Mississippi State
Remaining schedule: Mercer, #6 Auburn, Possibly SEC Championship Game
Alabama looked very vulnerable against Mississippi State on Saturday, but they managed to pull out a hard-fought victory, which tells me a lot about the character of this team. They were trailing 21-17 heading into the fourth quarter and Mississippi State was in the red zone, threatening to go up 2 scores, but the Bama defense was able to hold them to a field goal and the offense was able to march down the field and knot things up before winning the game with 25 seconds left. Their next opponent is Mercer, which is essentially the tune-up game for Auburn in the Iron Bowl. Believe it or not, Alabama could still miss the SEC title game. If Auburn wins the Iron Bowl, they go to the SEC title game against Georgia, not the Crimson Tide. Then the committee will REALLY have a problem. Auburn is coming off a dominating performance against the formerly top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs so they are fully capable of toppling Alabama. But for now, I still see the Crimson Tide as the team to beat in college football.
#2. Oklahoma Sooners
Record: 9-1 (6-1)
Loss: Iowa State 38-31 on October 7
Notable Wins: #2 Ohio State, #11 Oklahoma State, #6 TCU
Remaining Schedule: Kansas, West Virginia, Possible Big 12 Title Game
Baker Mayfield is starting to run away with the Heisman trophy after another fantastic performance against a high-quality opponent in TCU. In that 38-20 victory, Mayfield threw for 333 yards and 3 TD’s while completing two-thirds of his passes. Oklahoma’s defense has been shaky for most of the season but they looked really good against TCU, holding the high-flying Horned Frogs offense to just 20 points and disrupting Kenny Hill so much that he completed fewer than 50% of his passes. Kansas is going to be another warmup game before the Sooners take on West Virginia to close out the regular season. The Mountaineers are no slouches, but with the way Mayfield is playing right now, I don’t envision them beating Oklahoma and the Sooners should head into the first ever Big 12 championship game at 11-1.
#3. Miami (FL) Hurricanes
Record: 9-0 (6-0)
Notable Wins: #13 Virginia Tech, #3 Notre Dame
Remaining Schedule: Virginia, Pittsburgh, ACC Title Game against #4 Clemson
The U has finally earned my respect after an utter dismantling of Notre Dame. Miami (FL) is at a slight disadvantage because they will finish the regular season having only played 11 games instead of the usual 12 because their tilt with Arkansas State was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma, but I think it’d be fair to assume that Miami would win that game, no? The Hurricanes had a pretty easy schedule up until this stage of the season, having not played a ranked opponent until Virginia Tech last week. They beat the Hokies relatively handily by a score of 28-10, then throttled Notre Dame on Saturday by a score of 41-8, proving to me that their undefeated record is no fluke. My reasoning for having Oklahoma over them is simple, I think Oklahoma would win a head-to-head matchup. But in the CFP, there really is no difference between who is #2 and who is #3, both teams will play each other regardless of who is where and since it’s a neutral site, home field advantage isn’t a thing. It’s mainly a deciding factor of who gets to wear their home uniforms. And I’d be doing a great injustice to the readers if I didn’t mention the Turnover Chain. That thing is awesome. If I had that kind of incentive in high school, I’d be trying to strip the ball every single play.
#4. Clemson Tigers
Record: 9-1 (7-1)
Loss: Syracuse 27-24 on October 14
Notable Wins: #13 Auburn, #14 Louisville, #12 Virginia Tech, #20 NC State
Remaining Schedule: The Citadel, South Carolina, ACC Title Game against #3 Miami (FL)
Clemson gets in in my latest rankings as they continue to beat good teams. As you will notice above, they have the most populated notable wins section of any of the top 4 teams. My main beef with Clemson’s candidacy is the fact that their loss is to Syracuse, which is definitely the worst loss of any of the teams vying for a playoff spot. Their remaining schedule is pretty similar to the other schools on this list, a cupcake opponent leading up to a showdown with a good rival. South Carolina is one of the more underrated teams in the country in my opinion and I think they will put up a good fight against Clemson. As for the ACC Title Game, I think as long as both teams win their next two games, that contest between Clemson and Miami (FL) will decide who represents the ACC in the CFP. I don’t think both schools can get in.
Just Missed the Cut:
Record: 10-0 (7-0)
Notable Wins: #20 Iowa
Remaining Schedule: Michigan, Minnesota, Big Ten Title Game against either Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, or Michigan State
The Wisconsin Badgers finally got a win over a notable opponent. It took them 11 weeks to face a ranked team in Iowa and they were able to pull away with the convincing 38-14 victory. Michigan will likely enter this week ranked after dismantling each of their last three opponents since getting blown out by Penn State, which will be big for Wisconsin, especially if they can come away with the win. The Big Ten Title Game will also be a big opportunity for them as it’s another big resume-builder, no matter who comes away with the victory. I do think that Wisconsin has to win out in order to make the playoff, as their schedule is just too weak to justify them getting in as a 1-loss team, barring complete pandemonium from the teams ranked above them. But if they are unbeaten Big Ten champs, then I think you have to put them in the top 4.
Record: 9-1 (6-1)
Loss: Auburn 40-17 on Saturday
Notable Wins: #24 Notre Dame, #17 Mississippi State
Remaining Schedule: Kentucky, Georgia Tech, SEC Title Game against either Alabama or Auburn
Despite getting absolutely ROCKED by Auburn on Saturday, Georgia’s playoff hopes are still alive, but they will have to win out, including the SEC Title Game. They shouldn’t have any problems with Kentucky. Georgia Tech could be a potential trap game, as they have an impressive defense and their wishbone offense is always difficult to prepare for. If they win those games and win the SEC, then I can see no reason to leave Georgia out of the playoff. You can bet they will be watching the Iron Bowl VERY closely, as winner of that game will certainly be their opponent. If I’m Georgia, I want Auburn more for the revenge factor than anything. Plus, if they were to beat Auburn for the SEC championship, then it may erase their loss to the Tigers in the minds of some voters. Though I’m sure they’ll be totally fine with a win over Alabama, which would make things very interesting for the committee.
Those are my thoughts on the rankings for the college football playoff this week. Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10.