College Football Playoff Scenarios (Week 10)

College Football Playoff Scenarios (Week 10)

The first edition of the College Football Playoff committee rankings is due out Tuesday evening. With so many unbeaten teams still remaining atop the national standings, this first edition is going to be fascinating.


The Cream of the Crop:

Baylor (7-0)
Ohio State (8-0)
LSU (7-0)
Clemson (8-0)

This is the likely top four when the committee releases its first set of rankings. Baylor, LSU and Clemson have seemed like the best three teams all year. Despite the injury to Bears quarterback Seth Russell, Baylor should remain in this group until it proves it isn’t as good without him.

As for Ohio State, it likely receives a top-four spot as well simply because it is defending the title. The Buckeyes haven’t necessarily looked like a great team (and now have more issues with their starting quarterbacks thanks to J.T. Barrett’s arrest), but no one else has been quite good enough to unseat them. A solid argument could be made for a number of teams being qualitatively better than OSU, but no one’s resume puts OSU’s to shame where the committee would drop it out.


On the Outside Looking In:

Michigan State (8-0)
TCU (8-0)
Stanford (7-1)
Utah (7-1)
Alabama (7-1)

This next batch of teams, sitting right below the top four, is very large. However, Michigan State, TCU, Stanford, Utah and Alabama are the best of the rest. The first two squads are big-time, Power 5 teams with no losses. They have struggled mightily in a number of games though this season, even against weaker competition. Because of that, both the Spartans and Horned Frogs get left out of the first top-four grouping.

Stanford, Utah and Alabama have great wins on their resumes but also have that loss. At this point in the season, with 11 schools still without such a blemish, it is impossible to overcome that L column not being empty. A few of these one-loss teams still appear superior to the likes of Iowa (8-0) and Oklahoma State (8-0), but the resume isn’t outstanding enough to surpass the elite undefeated teams.

This week will be a huge one for positioning. TCU faces Oklahoma State, Clemson faces Florida State and LSU faces Alabama. We could easily lose three teams from the batch of unbeatens, flipping the entire standings when the committee releases its second edition.


All Intents and Purposes:

Duke (6-2): Miami should have lost; everyone knows it at this point. The referee crew was suspended for its failure to correctly call a number of factors involved with Miami’s last-second lateral return. People are punished but Duke is not rewarded with a win. The Blue Devils, with their second overall loss and a weak loss in the ACC, are out of the playoff picture now. They can still win the conference, and that will get them somewhere, just not to the final four.

Memphis (8-0), Toledo (7-0), Houston (8-0), Temple (7-1): Temple’s home loss to Notre Dame was a tough one, but it doesn’t really change the ceiling of this group. Only a win over the Irish would have done that. The quartet, specifically the three teams from the AAC, still sit in the same spot. They have the chance to defeat two other really good schools in conference play, but that wouldn’t be enough to hop all the teams ahead of them. Now that a future win over Temple wouldn’t be ‘a victory over an undefeated team’ though really puts a damper on resume-building opportunities for Memphis and Houston.