With the college football season now entering mid-season, The playoff picture is starting to develop, and many teams have eliminated themselves from candidacy the past couple of weeks. So what better way to celebrate than to discuss which teams still have a legitimate shot: Here’s my completely subjective take on who still has a legitimate chance at the CFP, and how strong they rank.
No surprises here. Alabama’s name is so synonymous with success and winning, that they entered this season ranked first despite losing the national championship last season. As they continue to roll through the season, don’t expect them to go anywhere. Even with a potential loss (don’t count on it), the CFB will give Bama some special treatment. Expect to see them come New Year’s Eve.
The reigning national champions continue to keep on winning, and they’re winning big. With three wins against ranked opponents this season, and an eight game win streak against ranked opponents overall, Clemson has more than proven that they can beat top opponents.
Baker Mayfield continues to perform at Heisman levels, and his flag plant at Ohio State shows that Oklahoma is here to stay. A huge win in week two shows that they’re is a serious contender that can beat some powerhouse teams by large margins.
After a 41-0 thrashing of Tennessee, Georgia has solidified itself as a contender and jumped to the number five spot in the AP Poll. Wins over hot Notre Dame and Mississippi State teams show that Georgia can more than hold their own, but tough games against Florida and Auburn will test the true freshman quarterback and rock solid defense.
5- Penn State
Saquon Barkley is currently all of the Nittany Lions football program, and is a shoe in for the heisman so far. Penn State has shown signs of weakness like against Iowa, but every team has a scare during the season. As long as their record remains unblemished, it’s hard to argue against them. However the world will certainly be watching on October 21st, when they face their first legitimate test against my next pick:
Michigan remains undefeated and is coming off a rest week before a rivalry game. Never bet against Jim Harbaugh and his wolverines to perform, but they’re matchup against Penn State in Happy Valley will be an important one- if they can leave with a win, expect them to jump into the center of attention.
A big road win against Oklahoma State shows that TCU is a real contender under veteran quarterback Kenny Hill. Their pass defense shut down Mason Rudolph, holding him to just above 50 percent completion and forcing two touchdowns
After stumbling into the CFP last year, the Huskies are back and… remarkably similar to last year. A very easy schedule so far has set Washington up for success, and with their biggest tests for the rest of the season being Utah and Washington State, don’t expect a Washington team with any losses to have any strong chances at being in the top four at the end of the year
9- Ohio State
With only a loss to Oklahoma, Ohio State is still a strong program with name recognition. In addition they would still hold a very strong resume come the end of the year if they won out: most notably being the Big Ten champions. However, with a strength of schedule that’s no joke, they have a serious mountain to climb before New Years Day
College football rankings include a lot of unspoken rules, but one of the most important ones is if you’re going to lose, lose early. Auburn’s loss isn’t a bad one either. A close loss to number two clemson isn’t one to be concerned about, and a run from the tigers could only end well for them, however they have arguably one of the toughest finishes to a season – having to take on both UGA and Bama two of the last three weeks of the regular season.
11- Washington State
Who doesn’t love an underdog?? The Cougars stunned number five USC last week to climb all the way to number 11 and remain undefeated, so be sure to watch out for them moving forward, although their schedule remains rather quiet until the end of the season when they’ll finish with back to back weeks against (currently) ranked opponents
Playing in the weaker half of the Big Ten, Wisconsin has dominated a fairly easy schedule, with their only real challenge coming against Michigan near the end of the season. They’ve stayed relatively low on the radar, racking up wins in silence, so be sure to watch them moving forward.