College Football Playoff Outlook: Week 7

Story posted October 9, 2018 in Sports, CommRadio by Jake Starr

The first weekend of October was an eventful one across the college football landscape. Three top ten teams lost last Saturday, reshaping the race for the College Football Playoff. Let’s take a look at how last week’s action impacted the College Football Playoff race going into week seven of play.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

No surprise here as Nick Saban’s squad comes in at the top spot in this week’s rankings. Alabama took care of business once again last week, as they traveled to Arkansas and defeated the Razorbacks 63-31. Tua Tagovailoa casually threw for 334 yards and four touchdowns on 10-13 passing.

The Tide continue to look dominant and that trend should continue at least through the month of October as their schedule remains relatively easy. Their real tests will come once November rolls around, as they are slated to travel to Death Valley to take on LSU, then host Mississippi State and then Auburn in the annual Iron Bowl the following week.

Alabama will host Missouri this Saturday night as they look to not only stay undefeated, but look to continue to dominate opponents. If Alabama runs the table, they will be the No. 1 team in the playoff, and even with a loss, it will be hard to knock the Crimson Tide from that rank.

2. Ohio State Buckeyes

Right now, Ohio State is the second-best team in the country, right behind Alabama. The Buckeyes went down to Texas and beat TCU, and then came into Happy Valley two weeks ago and topped Penn State.

Ohio State followed its win over Penn State with a 49-26 victory over Indiana. It didn’t come easy though, as the Buckeyes trailed early in the second quarter, but they pulled away from there. Heisman candidate Dwayne Haskins threw for 455 yards and six touchdowns in the win.
Urban Meyer’s squad will host Minnesota this Saturday and has a relatively easy schedule leading up to their date with Michigan on November 24. Their only challenge is traveling to take on Michigan State on November 10. If Ohio State goes undefeated or only loses one game, then expect to see them make a return to the College Football Playoff.

3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

This may come as a surprise to some, but Notre Dame is going to come in ranked ahead of both Clemson and Georgia. The Bulldogs and Tigers both made the playoff last season, so they may get the benefit of the doubt in the rankings, but right now, the Fighting Irish have the better resume.

So far this season, Notre Dame has beat Michigan, Stanford and traveled on the road and beat Virginia Tech. The Irish’s schedule the rest of the way is fairly easy so there is a strong chance that they could finish the year undefeated.
If Notre Dame runs the table, it should be a shoe-in to make the playoff. But, since it doesn’t play in a conference championship game, suffering a loss at any point could heavily hurt their chances of making their first playoff. The Irish will host Pitt this weekend where quarterback Ian Book will look to continue his hot start.

4.  Georgia Bulldogs

The battle for the last spot was a tough one, coming down to Georgia and Clemson, but the Bulldogs get the edge here. Georgia has run through the SEC so far, and does have one Top 25 victory, coming over South Carolina in week two, a game in which they won 41-17.

Georgia begins a treacherous four-game stretch where they will take on four-straight ranked teams. They will start at LSU this Saturday, and then play Florida, Kentucky and Auburn. Over this stretch, we will learn a lot about last year’s runner ups.

If they come out of this stretch 3-1, then they will have to have to most likely win the SEC to earn a spot in the playoff, given the strength of the top 10 this season. But, if Georgia goes 4-0 in that stretch, then we will have to look at them as one of the top teams in the nation. With Alabama being the class of the SEC, it will be tough for the Bulldogs, but a 12-1 season should be enough to see Georgia back in the playoff for the second straight year.

5. Clemson Tigers

6. Texas Longhorns

 


Jake Starr is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jas7954@psu.edu.