The CFP Committee, Got It Right!
Human error can cause an uproar in any sporting event. Vegas should start taking bets on the committee’s Top6 picks. This year, the questions were between Notre Dame, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma. I think they got it right.
Why the Committee got this right? The Bulldogs are the only undefeated team with wins against two opponents currently listed in the CFP Top25. Georgia isn’t relying on either the Defense or Offense to dominate opponents. The Bulldogs are averaging 38.1 points per game on offense and limiting teams to 11.9 points on defense.
Things to remember moving forward: Georgia owns a victory over Notre Dame. If the Irish finish the season with just one loss and Georgia runs the table, no one can catch them in the rankings.
Where can Georgia falter? The Bulldogs have one tough matchup left. Georgia must travel to Auburn and face a team that lost to Clemson by one score. When Auburn is clicking, they are hard to stop. UGA also gets South Carolina between “The Hedges” this Saturday. If the Bulldogs can blow out USC, they will solidify the #1 spot heading into their contest against Auburn with Alabama on a bye. Both games are rivalries. Will UGA make it to Atlanta unscathed?
Why the Committee got this right? The Crimson Tide have taken their preseason doubters to the woodshed. Alabama is the only team in the Top25 with a Top5 Scoring Defense and Scoring Offense. While they don’t own a signature win right now, they have 3 games against Top25 teams over the next 5 weeks.
Things to remember moving forward: This is Alabama. They have Nick Saban. Like him or not, he is the Belichick of College Football. The Tide have made the final four every year since the inception of the playoffs.
Where can Bama falter? Honestly, the Tide could find themselves on the losing end of two of their final four. There is documented history of Saban having trouble with a mobile QB. With MSST left on their schedule, this could be an intriguing matchup. However, like the Bulldogs of Georgia, they too must travel to Auburn and face a team salivating at the opportunity. Auburn has only scored 25 points against the Tide in the last two seasons and Alabama hasn’t lost to Auburn since the 2013 Field Goal Return. This game will be fun to watch.
3. Notre Dame
Why the Committee got this right? While Notre Dame doesn’t have a Conference Championship Game, they do have control over their schedule. The Irish have scheduled 6 teams currently ranked in the Top25 of the CFP Rankings. With their only loss coming to #1 Georgia by one-point, the Irish have faced and beaten some of the best. Notre Dame has the 10th ranked scoring defense and 11th ranked scoring offense, making them a tough out for anyone.
Things to remember moving forward: With two convincing wins against Top25 teams (USC & NCST), the Irish might be one of a very few teams that could still make the playoffs as a two-loss team.
Where the Irish could falter? They still have to travel to Miami and Stanford. Both teams are playing better than they started. Miami still struggles to put opponents away and Stanford has been Jekyll & Hyde. I don’t see the Irish falling to anyone before the playoffs start.
Why the Committee got this right? While the Tigers own the worst loss of the one loss teams, they also own the best wins of any team, regardless of record. The Tigers went to Louisville and Virginia Tech and beat both teams without leaving any doubt. Clemson was also starting a QB against Auburn who had only been “the guy” for one week.
Things to remember moving forward: Clemson has been here before. Last year, the Tigers lost to Pitt and then cranked up the heat moving forward. We all know how that turned out. They still haven’t peaked and what better time to do it than now.
Where the Tigers can falter? This weekend. The Wolfpack are steaming about their loss last season. The Tigers know how it feels to miss field goals. Clemson must play NCST on the road and Finley has thrown 12 Touchdowns and only 1 interception. NCST has the 48th ranked Defense while the Tigers hold the #6 spot.
Why the Committee got this right? The loss to Iowa State, not so bad now, is it? Oklahoma beat Ohio State in the “Shoe” by two scores. While the loss to the Cyclones stung early, this past weekend made things a bit better for the Sooners. Mayfield is a dangerous QB and let’s be honest, if the defense was a bit better, he would lead the Heisman race.
Things to remember moving forward: They hold the head-head tiebreaker over Ohio State. Couple that win with a more challenging schedule and you have a resume the committee may embrace come the end of the season.
Where the Sooners can falter? Well, you name the game and it’s a possibility. The defense is a liability. A few weeks ago, the Patriots were the best offense in the NFL but had one of the worst defense. Usher in the Patriots of College Football. The Sooners can be an absolute nightmare for defenses. Their defense can be an absolute dream for opposing offenses. With games against TCU, WVU and OKST left, nothing is a guarantee for this bunch.
6. Ohio State
Why the Committee got this right? I am sure there is some screaming and yelling in Columbus right now. If Woody Hayes was still coaching, somebody might get punched on Saturday. The Buckeyes lost to Oklahoma. They beat Penn State. They are ranked ahead of Penn State. The Committee did OSU a solid last year when it came to the playoffs, that wasn’t the case tonight. While Ohio State mounted a huge comeback against the Nittany Lions, they were still down by 18. No team currently in the Top10 of the CFP Rankings has trailed by more than 10 points at any point in any game.
Things to remember moving forward: While the Buckeyes do sport a win against Penn State, their schedule is quite soft. By the time Michigan State rolls around, they might not be in the Top25 and if Wisconsin loses, how far will they drop.
Where the Buckeyes can falter? There isn’t a game OSU should lose and honestly, not one they are expected to even be challenged in. Therein lies the problem, the Buckeyes are victims of their own conference’s issues. Even winning out and beating Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship won’t be enough unless a Notre Dame, Clemson, Oklahoma and Miami all lose more than one.
7. Penn State
Why the Committee got this right? The Nittany Lions were steam rolling, right? I said it after the Iowa game, if you contain Barkley and make the offense one dimensional, you can stop Penn State. It took Ohio State 30 minutes to do so but they figured it out. They have a Top10 team but now they have been exposed.
Things to remember moving forward: If strength of schedule, head-head matchups and common opponents matter to the committee, Penn State will be left out again. Even if the Buckeyes lose a game, Penn State will still find itself on the outside of the Big Ten Championship Game. After Clemson dismantled an Ohio State team that didn’t play in the BTCG, the committee won’t be inclined to repeat mistakes.
Where Penn State can falter? They already did. The Nittany Lions fumbled away their only opportunity to impress the committee. Even blowing out all four of their remaining opponents won’t help Penn State enough. They essentially eliminated themselves in epic fashion this past Saturday.
Why the Committee got this right? I don’t necessarily agree with the order of the next three teams. For arguments sake, let’s say they got it right. TCU does have a couple of Top25 wins already on their resume (WVU and OKST). The Horned Frogs have arguably the best defense in the Big12, although Iowa State is playing well. Their loss to Iowa State came at a bad time but the committee obviously sees the value in the Cyclones.
Things to remember moving forward: Head to Head…If TCU can beat Oklahoma and avoid another loss, the Horned Frogs would have a very impressive resume with a win over the team that beat Ohio State. If the Big12 Championship Game is between OU and TCU and the Frogs win both games, there will be chaos if they are left out.
Where the Frogs can falter? Norman and the Big 12 Championship Game. For either team, Oklahoma or TCU, facing the same opponent twice in a few weeks can be an arduous task. What would make matters worse, Iowa State could win out and put a wrinkle in the Big12’s plans. There are 4 teams with one loss. Iowa State has already beat TCU and Oklahoma. So, is the winner of the TCU Oklahoma game a play-in?
Why the Committee got this right? After reading my own argument above, maybe they did get it right. Wisconsin is undefeated. The Badgers haven’t played anyone. Their lone hope was Michigan. Michigan is awful. I think they should play in the Pac12. That way Khaki Pants and Coach Chris can cry together.
Things to remember moving forward: While the kryptonite to the Badgers is their schedule, it is also their saving grace. They haven’t had a real challenge yet. They probably won’t until they reach the Big Ten Championship Game. If Wisconsin can weasel their way through and beat the team from the east (most likely Ohio State), then the Badgers would have a leg to stand on in the argument.
Where the Badgers can falter? Any of their last four games. While Indiana and Minnesota aren’t world beaters, they can still surprise a team. Purdue played Wisconsin tough a couple weeks ago. Then the Badgers will face Iowa and Michigan. Both teams have better than average defense. That’s where Wisconsin struggles the most.
Why the Committee got this right? Miami beat Syracuse. Syracuse beat Clemson. Clemson beat Virginia Tech…. See where this is going? The Canes might be undefeated but they haven’t reached that record without some drama. Miami only has one win against a Power 5 opponent by more than 10 points. That team? Duke. If this was basketball, that might be an incredible feat. They barely escaped FSU who got pounded by BC. They struggled and even trailed against (1-7) UNC, albeit only by a field goal.
Things to remember moving forward: They are still undefeated. Despite all the drama and struggles, the Canes have found a way to win. Even Clemson can’t say that. Mark Richt has them moving in the right direction and if they can get the offense to match the defense’s intensity, the “U” can be dangerous.
Where Miami can falter? Of the undefeated teams, I think the Hurricanes have the nastiest schedule remaining. Miami is at home for their next three contests but the next two weeks are daunting. Virginia Tech and Notre Dame come to town looking for blood. The Hokies and Irish are more complete teams to this point. A one loss Miami who doesn’t make the ACCCG has no shot at making the playoffs.
Who is eliminated from playoff contention and who still has a chance? Find out Saturday morning!
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