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  1. #1

    The College Football Playoff

    We're two weeks away from the first playoff poll, but I would argue that we're down to 13 teams left with a realistic chance of being in the playoffs.

    My reasoning is this a team either has to be unbeaten or a one-loss team from a power conference. Houston might have made it unbeaten, but not with a loss to Navy. But Louisville, with a loss to Clemson, is still in the running.

    Here are the unbeaten teams that are still in the chase:

    Alabama
    Texas A&M
    Washington
    Michigan
    Ohio State
    Nebraska
    Clemson
    Baylor
    West Virginia

    Also: Boise State has an outside chance if they stay unbeaten. I should mention that Western Michigan is also unbeaten, but I don't believe they can win a spot in the playoffs, even with a perfect record. There is a spot in the major bowls for a non-power 5 team, but I think WMU will have a hard time beating Boise, Houston and maybe even Navy of that spot.

    At the moment, there are just three one-loss power five teams:
    Louisville
    Utah
    Florida

    Obvious this list will change a lot by the first poll, much less by selection Sunday -- this week alone, Alabama and Texas A&M meet, so one has to lose. Only one of the three Big Ten teams can finish unbeaten. Only one of the two unbeaten Big 12 teams can stay that way.

    Until I'm proven wrong, I believe:

    (1) Any unbeaten power 5 team is a lock for the playoffs (technically, it's possible to have six unbeaten P5 teams -- one from each P5 conference plus Notre Dame, but that's extremely unlikely to ever happen).

    (2) Any two loss team is out. Again, there is always an extreme set of circumstances that could let a two-loss team in, but I don't think it will happen.

    That still leaves us with a handful of real contenders for the four playoff spots. It will be fun to track the contenders and cross them out as they get to two losses.

  2. #2
    I think we should include Boise State in the main list. They have a win over a Pac-12 team (Washington State) that I'm going to predict will enter the rankings and steadily rise through them over the next month until they're a Top 10-15 team. I agree that I don't find it likely that they'll make it in, but it's not impossible to imagine.

    I also feel pretty good about the following prediction: in the first decade of the playoffs (assuming it stays at 4 teams), we'll see a 2-loss team make it in at least once, and more likely multiple times. I agree that for now, we shouldn't worry ourselves too much about it, but we should keep it in the back of our mind.

    My third prediction is that we end up with both Ohio State and Michigan in this year's playoffs.

  3. #3
    I'd expect that Alabama and one of Ohio State/Michigan win out and end up 1-2 at the end of the regular season. If Clemson wins at FSU after the bye week (I'm not sure I'd bet on that they way they've been playing), it is also likely to win out and be no worse than #3 at the end of the season.

    Washington has a pretty favorable schedule, with only the game at Utah looking like a risk. If they win there they'll get a playoff berth.

    Texas A&M plays in Tuscaloosa next week, a likely loss. Nebraska has to play in Columbus in a few weeks, and probably won't win that game. If Clemson or Washington falters, I see it being a judgment call for the fourth slot between the Michigan/OSU loser, Louisville, Clemson and Baylor if it wins out.

    If Alabama loses, it would still be a strong pick to make the final four.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic Fan View Post
    Alabama
    Texas A&M
    Washington
    Michigan
    Ohio State
    Nebraska
    Clemson
    Baylor
    West Virginia
    Boise State
    Louisville
    Utah
    Florida
    .
    Bama and Tex AM play each other Saturday. The winner is almost assuredly the SEC West champ. Florida is in the driver's seat for the East (although with road games at Arkansas, LSU, and Florida State I think it's super unlikely Florida doesn't have another loss before the SEC title game.

    Michigan has a cake walk until they play at Ohio St (no, at Iowa is not a tough game). Ohio St still has to host Nebraska. Nebraska actually has a tough back to back road games with Wisconsin and then the Buckeyes. Seems very possible that Ohio State might beat Nebraska and then face them again in the Big Can't Count title game.

    Clemson has a bye this week then a good game at Florida State. If they get through that, they should coast to the ACC title game (and then it's Cheaters/Va Tech/Pitt). Louisville has a pretty easy schedule the rest of the way other than a tough non conference game at Houston, but they need two Clemson losses to get to the ACC title game.

    Washington will be favored in every game but road games at Utah and Wazzu will be tough and USC is resurgent. Utah has that tough game vs the Huskies and what could be a winner take the south game at Colorado. Actually a solid chance that Washington and Utah could play a second time against each other in the Pac 12 title game.

    Baylor and West Virginia both still play Oklahoma (Baylor does it on the road), both still play at Texas, both still host TCU, and finish the season against each other (Baylor again on the road).

    Boise State still has a few good games with BYU and at Wyoming and a Mountain West title game vs San Diego State.

    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic Fan View Post

    (1) Any unbeaten power 5 team is a lock for the playoffs (technically, it's possible to have six unbeaten P5 teams -- one from each P5 conference plus Notre Dame, but that's extremely unlikely to ever happen).

    (2) Any two loss team is out. Again, there is always an extreme set of circumstances that could let a two-loss team in, but I don't think it will happen.
    .
    1- absolutely (unless there are more than four)
    2- could happen but won't this year

    Quote Originally Posted by Wander View Post
    I also feel pretty good about the following prediction: in the first decade of the playoffs (assuming it stays at 4 teams), we'll see a 2-loss team make it in at least once, and more likely multiple times. I agree that for now, we shouldn't worry ourselves too much about it, but we should keep it in the back of our mind.

    My third prediction is that we end up with both Ohio State and Michigan in this year's playoffs.
    2 loss team in the playoff will happen - but not this year.

    Both Ohio State and Michigan - possible.

    I think an undefeated Bama is almost a lock for being in. Heck, a one loss Bama is almost a lock for being in.

    The Ohio St - Michigan winner is almost a lock for being in (assuming they don't bizarrely lose two other games).

    Then you really have three big questions:
    * Clemson
    * Washington
    * Big 12 winner

    If Clemson is undefeated they are in. If they have one loss, but are the ACC champion, it's a tough call.
    Same thing with Washington from the Pac 12.
    The Big 12 winner has to be undefeated, but if they are undefeated they get a spot (unless there are four other undefeateds).

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic Fan View Post
    We're two weeks away from the first playoff poll, but I would argue that we're down to 13 teams left with a realistic chance of being in the playoffs.

    My reasoning is this a team either has to be unbeaten or a one-loss team from a power conference. Houston might have made it unbeaten, but not with a loss to Navy. But Louisville, with a loss to Clemson, is still in the running.

    Here are the unbeaten teams that are still in the chase:

    Alabama
    Texas A&M
    Washington
    Michigan
    Ohio State
    Nebraska
    Clemson
    Baylor
    West Virginia

    Also: Boise State has an outside chance if they stay unbeaten. I should mention that Western Michigan is also unbeaten, but I don't believe they can win a spot in the playoffs, even with a perfect record. There is a spot in the major bowls for a non-power 5 team, but I think WMU will have a hard time beating Boise, Houston and maybe even Navy of that spot.

    At the moment, there are just three one-loss power five teams:
    Louisville
    Utah
    Florida

    Obvious this list will change a lot by the first poll, much less by selection Sunday -- this week alone, Alabama and Texas A&M meet, so one has to lose. Only one of the three Big Ten teams can finish unbeaten. Only one of the two unbeaten Big 12 teams can stay that way.

    Until I'm proven wrong, I believe:

    (1) Any unbeaten power 5 team is a lock for the playoffs (technically, it's possible to have six unbeaten P5 teams -- one from each P5 conference plus Notre Dame, but that's extremely unlikely to ever happen).

    (2) Any two loss team is out. Again, there is always an extreme set of circumstances that could let a two-loss team in, but I don't think it will happen.

    That still leaves us with a handful of real contenders for the four playoff spots. It will be fun to track the contenders and cross them out as they get to two losses.
    The interesting questions also arise when you consider what happens if some of the teams on your list lose. For example, if Alabama falls to Texas A&M this weekend, and they both win out. Suddenly, an undefeated A&M is in, and a one-loss Alabama becomes hard to exclude. I personally like giving the benefit of the doubt to conference champions, but Alabama may be a different story. The Big Ten can do a round robin. Would a one-loss Big Ten Champion get in? What if Clemson, Washington, A&M are all undefeated, and Alabama has one loss? So much time for so much to happen. When the playoff was created, the concern by the old school college football people was that the importance of the regular season would wane. Not the case at all. We're already debating who may make the Final Four. Fun stuff.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ipatent View Post

    Washington has a pretty favorable schedule, with only the game at Utah looking like a risk. If they win there they'll get a playoff berth.
    Do not forget about the Pac 12 Championship Game. There is a chance Washington will have to beat Utah twice to secure a playoff berth.
    Bob Green

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic Fan View Post

    Obvious this list will change a lot by the first poll, much less by selection Sunday -- this week alone, Alabama and Texas A&M meet, so one has to lose. Only one of the three Big Ten teams can finish unbeaten. Only one of the two unbeaten Big 12 teams can stay that way.

    It will be fun to track the contenders and cross them out as they get to two losses.
    I agree it is going to be a lot of fun to track the contenders. There is a lot to like about the College Football Playoff. My four at this moment in time:

    1. Alabama
    2. Ohio State
    3. Washington
    4. Clemson

    On Clemson, the health status of running back Wayne Gallman is a big caveat. He has to play for the Tigers to keep winning. No Gallman = no undefeated season/college football playoff.
    Bob Green

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Green View Post
    Do not forget about the Pac 12 Championship Game. There is a chance Washington will have to beat Utah twice to secure a playoff berth.
    Good point, but any rematch won't be at altitude.

  9. #9

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Green View Post
    My four at this moment in time:

    1. Alabama
    2. Ohio State
    3. Washington
    4. Clemson
    1. Alabama
    2. Washington
    3. Michigan
    4. Clemson
    Bob Green

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Green View Post
    1. Alabama
    2. Washington
    3. Michigan
    4. Clemson
    It'll be interesting to see how far Ohio State drops. The ratings scheme in college football has always penalized losses later in the season more than earlier ones. Will they fall behind Louisville? Not if I was voting.

    Big shot in the arm for the Nittany Lion fans. As fans of a school with a legendary coach in another sport, can you imagine the disillusionment they've suffered the past several years?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ipatent View Post
    It'll be interesting to see how far Ohio State drops. The ratings scheme in college football has always penalized losses later in the season more than earlier ones. Will they fall behind Louisville? Not if I was voting.
    I imagine they and Louisville will be very close to each other for the 5/6 spots. But if they beat Nebraska in two weeks I could see them sliding back into the top four, even if none of them have lost. They are a blue blood in college football and the same rules don't apply to them.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by gurufrisbee View Post
    I imagine they and Louisville will be very close to each other for the 5/6 spots. But if they beat Nebraska in two weeks I could see them sliding back into the top four, even if none of them have lost. They are a blue blood in college football and the same rules don't apply to them.
    I agree. Perhaps they will drop behind Louisville this week, but it is pretty clear that a 12-1 Ohio State will be above a 12-1 Louisville at the end of the season.

    You were right in the other thread about my 90% number being too low. Basically the only way for a 12-1 Ohio State team to miss the playoffs would be for Washington, Clemson, and Baylor or West Virginia to all go undefeated, which has a ~1% chance of happening. Then let's assign a collective 1% chance to all other wacky scenarios that involve things very unlikely to happen like a 12-1 SEC champion Florida.

    So I'll now estimate that chance of a 12-1 Ohio State team making the playoffs at 98%.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by gurufrisbee View Post
    I imagine they and Louisville will be very close to each other for the 5/6 spots. But if they beat Nebraska in two weeks I could see them sliding back into the top four, even if none of them have lost. They are a blue blood in college football and the same rules don't apply to them.
    Louisville lost at Clemson (Lou had the ball inside the Clemson 10 with a chance to win as the final seconds ticked off). Ohio St lost at Penn St. While Penn St is certainly a quality opponent, I would argue there is no question that Louisville's loss was to a far stronger team and is therefore more forgivable. Right now, Lou is ahead of Ohio St.

    Ohio St has a chance to move up via the season-ending Michigan game and the Big Ten playoff game. If Ohio St can manage to win out (which would include wins over Michigan and Nebraska as well as the Big Ten Championship) I still think they very likely make the playoff.

    -Jason "I'd love to find a way to get 2 ACC teams in, though we likely need Washington to lose for that to be even a small a possibility" Evans
    I don't know what you are doing right now, but if you aren't listening to the DBR Podcast, you're doing it wrong.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wander View Post
    I agree. Perhaps they will drop behind Louisville this week, but it is pretty clear that a 12-1 Ohio State will be above a 12-1 Louisville at the end of the season.

    You were right in the other thread about my 90% number being too low. Basically the only way for a 12-1 Ohio State team to miss the playoffs would be for Washington, Clemson, and Baylor or West Virginia to all go undefeated, which has a ~1% chance of happening. Then let's assign a collective 1% chance to all other wacky scenarios that involve things very unlikely to happen like a 12-1 SEC champion Florida.

    So I'll now estimate that chance of a 12-1 Ohio State team making the playoffs at 98%.
    Ha ha. I actually think the best chance of a 12-1 Ohio State team missing would be to have a 12-1 Florida SEC champ, because the Gators would be in and if you give two other spots to undefeated Washington and Clemson then the fourth spot coming down to 12-1 Ohio st vs 12-1 Bama is about the only way Ohio St doesn't get in. I don't even think an undefeated Big 12 champ comes close to beating out a one loss Buckeyes. But you basically covered all that. Nicely done.

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    Louisville lost at Clemson (Lou had the ball inside the Clemson 10 with a chance to win as the final seconds ticked off). Ohio St lost at Penn St. While Penn St is certainly a quality opponent, I would argue there is no question that Louisville's loss was to a far stronger team and is therefore more forgivable. Right now, Lou is ahead of Ohio St.

    Ohio St has a chance to move up via the season-ending Michigan game and the Big Ten playoff game. If Ohio St can manage to win out (which would include wins over Michigan and Nebraska as well as the Big Ten Championship) I still think they very likely make the playoff.

    -Jason "I'd love to find a way to get 2 ACC teams in, though we likely need Washington to lose for that to be even a small a possibility" Evans
    It's not just about the losses. Louisville has one good team they have beaten and Florida State isn't as good as they were thought to be then. Ohio State has Wisconsin and Oklahoma (when the Sooners didn't have their super WR, but right now I think most might believe those are both better teams than the Noles). Other than at Wisconsin, Ohio State won all other games by at least three TDs. So they have beaten the weaker teams by a lot. Right or wrong, the Duke game looks a lot more like an underwhelming win for Louisville. I'm not saying I wouldn't put Louisville ahead of them - but I won't be surprised at all if the actual polls don't.

    The best shot for two ACC teams probably has been crushed mostly by Houston falling apart. That was really Lousiville's best shot to have a big game to surge back into the top four conversation.

    Washington football for me is Duke basketball. I'm trying very hard to be good in responding to your rooting for that. Grrrr. It's actually a decent possibility - our game next week is at Utah and our leader in sacks is out with an injury. USC has gotten much better after they changed QBs and will likely be on a five game winning streak when they play the Huskies. Which might seem like nothing since there is a very solid chance the Cougars will be on a nine game winning streak when we go there the day after Thanksgiving for our huge rivalry game. There is still a very good possibility of Washington getting a loss.

  16. #16
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    Washington (7-0) at Utah (7-1) today at 3:30 Eastern is the Game of the Day for College Football Playoff implications. I will definitely be tuning in at the conclusion of Duke - Georgia Tech. A win by Washington will ramp up the excitement level for the Apple Cup on 11/25 as the Washington State Cougars (5-2) are also undefeated in the Pac 12 at 4-0. The Cougars still have to face the Colorado Buffaloes on 11/19.

    Pac 12 has the potential to be very interesting down the stretch.
    Bob Green

  17. #17
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    Washington improves to 8-0 with a 31-24 victory over Utah. On the decisive 58 yard punt return for a TD, there were potentially three illegal blocks in the back with no flags thrown.
    Bob Green

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Green View Post
    Washington improves to 8-0 with a 31-24 victory over Utah. On the decisive 58 yard punt return for a TD, there were potentially three illegal blocks in the back with no flags thrown.
    I saw the same thing -- one of them, near midfield was absolutely blatant. I was amazed that in several replays, the announcers never mentioned them.

    The win keeps Washington in the Final Four (at the moment).

    West Virginia drops out of the national title picture with a loss to Oklahoma State (Bama, OSU, Clemson, Louisville might get in with one loss, but not West Virginia).

    As of thus moment (Clemson at FSU pending in less than an hour), I think the four playoff teams are Alabama, Michigan, Clemson and Washington.

    Baylor and a bunch of one-loss teams have to keep winning and hope for help.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic Fan View Post
    I saw the same thing -- one of them, near midfield was absolutely blatant. I was amazed that in several replays, the announcers never mentioned them.

    The win keeps Washington in the Final Four (at the moment).

    West Virginia drops out of the national title picture with a loss to Oklahoma State (Bama, OSU, Clemson, Louisville might get in with one loss, but not West Virginia).

    As of thus moment (Clemson at FSU pending in less than an hour), I think the four playoff teams are Alabama, Michigan, Clemson and Washington.

    Baylor and a bunch of one-loss teams have to keep winning and hope for help.
    And Baylor is in a tight one at Texas at the moment.
    "Amazing what a minute can do."

  20. #20
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    The Big XII

    Stick a fork in 'em. They done.
    "Amazing what a minute can do."

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