College Football Playoff Scenarios (Week 11)

College Football Playoff Scenarios (Week 11)

Week 10 was a separator. After the very first College Football Playoff committee rankings were released, we received some clarification heading into the second. TCU finally didn’t have enough to make a comeback. Michigan State finally didn’t get the luck on its side. Memphis finally bowed out of the playoff picture. LSU finally showed its lack of balance. The first week of November was a spring cleaning for the final four…and we still have roughly a dozen teams alive to make the playoff.


The Cream of the Crop:

Clemson (8-0): The Tigers just won their last test of the season. It’s all smooth sailing from here. In the ACC title game, Clemson will likely take on an above-average North Carolina squad that also shouldn’t pose that much of an obstacle. Clemson’s season will be good with the wins it’s accumulated, but it will be just as impressive that it didn’t slip up once during the year; something that befell nearly every other school in the country.

Big 12 conference champion: Last year, winning the Big 12 wasn’t enough, or at least it wasn’t once the conference commissioner declared that neither Baylor nor TCU should be considered the outright champion. This year, that shouldn’t be a problem. With four elite clubs atop the Big 12, whoever finagles its way to the title will be in the playoff. TCU lost last week, opening the door for Oklahoma State to be that champion. The Cowboys currently lead the way at 9-0, 6-0. OSU, Baylor and Oklahoma all still have to play each other. This should be fun.

Alabama (8-1): We finally saw LSU play a team that could slow down Leonard Fournette and force the Tigers to win throwing the football; they couldn’t. Alabama is once again the cream of the SEC crop. While Florida has already clinched its spot in the conference championship in the East, Bama still has work left to do, but no other SEC team has the ceiling of the Crimson Tide.

Ohio State (9-0): J.T. Barrett got off with a misdemeanor for something that seemed worse. As game imitates life, Ohio State got to 9-0 with a team that seems worse. It helps that the Buckeyes have still not played a single ranked opponent all year. Michigan State, Michigan and then likely Iowa await over the next month, but OSU remains in this final playoff spot because of that smoldering talent we have still not quite seen this season.


On the Outside Looking In:

Big 10 bridesmaids: Any of MSU, Michigan or Iowa (if the latter reaches the conference championship) could take down Ohio State, and if that happened, that winner would surely snag the Buckeyes’ playoff berth. But they all remain on the outside for now. MSU particularly seems to have succumbed to the karma gods after eking by the whole season with suspect victories.

Notre Dame (8-1)/Stanford (8-1) winner: Notre Dame was ranked fifth in the first playoff committee poll. This is a good thing. It means that the Fighting Irish are the committee’s first alternate assuming things stay the same. Of course it also helps that ND has one more huge game remaining on its schedule; that being November 28 at Stanford. Whoever wins that game will likely finish fifth in the country. Someone else needs to fall.

Utah (8-1)/Stanford (8-1) winner: Utah needs to win out, beating UCLA, and make the Pac-12 title. It also needs Stanford to win out, beating ND, and make the title game from the North division. If that plays out, the Pac-12 conference champion, with a 12-1 season record, will have a strong case for making the playoff. It still might not be enough though!


All Intents and Purposes:

Houston (9-0): Houston survived the weekend as the only non-Power 5 team to remain undefeated. This actually hurts the Cougars. They really needed an undefeated Memphis team on their resume and an undefeated Temple team in the AAC title game. Now there aren’t enough big-time wins remaining to vault Houston into any national conversation.