College Football Playoff Outlook: Week 9
College Football Playoff Outlook
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
The 8-0 Crimson Tide just keep rolling along, as they have yet to lose at the midway point of the season. However, it is fair to argue that Alabama has yet to be truly challenged to this point with the Tide’s best win coming against No. 22 Texas A&M in a 45-23 blowout win. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is the dynamic playmaker under center that Nick Saban’s offense has long lacked, and he is putting up astronomical numbers as a first-year starter. Tagovailoa has 2066 passing yards and 25 touchdowns and October isn’t even over yet. The team has also blown out opponents so much that Tagovailoa has barely played in the fourth quarter of games this year. Bama also boasts a top of the line defense, conceding a mere 15.9 points per game. Bama has a chance to bolster an otherwise weak resume in the coming weeks with its best chance for a signature win coming in the form of No. 4 LSU, who has only one loss to a ranked Florida team and has at times shut down some of the most electric offenses in the SEC this year. Until they drop a game, it is impossible to count out the Tide.
2. Clemson Tigers
Clemson is another undefeated team lacking signature wins. The Tigers are led by talented freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who took over the starting job from Kelly Bryant a few games into the season. Lawrence has looked more comfortable in the offense with every passing week, and his best game to date was a 308 yard, one touchdown performance in a 41-7 domination over the No. 16 NC State Wolfpack. The Tigers run an extremely balanced offense, which lends to their ability to score points in a playoff game. Their ground game is led by Travis Etienne, who has 800 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. If the old adage, defense wins championships, applies to any team, Clemson is that team. The Tigers are allowing opponents to average only 13.4 points per game. Clemson lacks any real challenges in the regular season schedule, but a good matchup in a potential ACC championship game could help them notch a big win in its belt.
3. Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish round out the three undefeated contenders on this list, and they arguably have the best resume to boot. To date, Notre Dame has ranked wins against Michigan, Stanford and Virginia Tech. Its biggest remaining game is a road tilt against USC, so look for the Irish to try to steamroll the rest of their competition as they try to go undefeated and make the playoff without the ability to play in a conference title game.
4. LSU Tigers
LSU is the only team in the top four currently with a loss, but that loss came against No. 22 Florida on the road. The Tigers have three top-ten wins so far against Miami, Auburn and Georgia. Although Georgia is the only one of those teams remaining in the top-ten currently, the Tigers have arguably the most impressive resume in the country to date. LSU also shut down No. 22 Mississippi State in a 19-3 win. The Tigers also have Alabama at home in what could decide the SEC West division race and who represents the conference in the College Football Playoff. Finally, LSU will face No. 16 Texas A&M in College Station to conclude the season, and if it makes and wins the SEC championship game, LSU may very well enter the final rankings with far and above the best resume in college football.
5. Michigan Wolverines
6. Texas Longhorns
Jeremy Ganes is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.