College Football Playoff Speculation – NCAAWednesday, November 5, 2014 21:00
Two weeks into the College Football Playoff rankings, what is likely to transpire in the weeks ahead?
Figuring out the College Football Playoff Committee
The College Football Playoff…still sounds weird to say, doesn’t it? Long overdue, albeit, in the minds of many people, not until the teams total at least eight will it ever be enough. But even the baby steps of a four-team playoff are a welcome respite from the farce that was the BCS.
Considering the Southeastern Conference’s domination of the BCS, it surprised absolutely no one that 3 SEC landed slots in the first College Football Playoff Rankings nor that 2 of those held their own in the 2nd such rankings–indeed the Betfair odds have had SEC teams near the top all season. As evidenced by Ole Miss dropping out, the SEC’s biggest enemy may be itself, as the conference’s best knock each other out of contention.
Take a look at the current rankings:
- Mississippi State
- Florida State
- Kansas State
- Michigan Sate
- Arizona State
- Notre Dame
One of Alabama and Auburn is destined to fall in the annual Iron Bowl between the two arch rivals. Furthermore, Mississippi State still has to face both Alabama and Ole Miss; unless both Auburn and Mississippi State beat Alabama, two SEC teams will go down. (To say that the SEC title will most likely be determined by whoever survives the SEC West division is no overstatement.)
Who does that leave to fill the other three College Football Playoff slots?
Oregon’s toughest test prior to the Pac-12 Championship Game lands this coming weekend against #17 Utah, so barring trouble in the championship, the Ducks’ path is fairly clear. Even easier is the course of Florida State, with no potential hiccups on the horizon and the only competition of any sort likely to come in the ACC Championship game (against #22 Duke if current standings hold to form).
That leaves–unless Alabama stunningly becomes a 3-loss team–one slot to fill.
With all apologies to Arizona State and Notre Dame, it’s a three-team race between TCU, Kansas State and Michigan State.
The de facto Big 12 Championship game may very well be played this coming weekend at TCU’s Amon Carter Stadium between the Horned Frogs and Kansas State. The loser, obviously is out of the college playoff running; the winner, the inside track to that final slot. If TCU wins, the Frogs will have completed a remarkable run of playing five ranked teams in six weeks and defeating four of them. TCU’s last three games then come against the bottom of the conference, leaving the Frog’s with the task of simply not slipping up.
Even with a victory, Kansas State, while definitely in the playoff driver’s seat, would not find itself in nearly as comfortable a position as TCU, with games against #23 West Virginia and #12 Baylor still to be played. The big beneficiary of that schedule could be Michigan State, who, much like the TCU Horned Frogs, face their largest obstacle this weekend when #14 Ohio State comes into town. The downside for the Spartans is that the weakness of the remaining schedule after Ohio State leaves Michigan State no opportunity to score a quality win to justify the playoff committee jumping the Spartans over TCU or Kansas State in the rankings assuming those schools win out. Michigan State not only needs to defeat the Buckeyes this weekend, but dominate them to warrant a rankings shake-up now.
Of course, sports are sports, and any team can suffer an inexplicable loss that tosses everything into array. That’s why they play the games.
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