Pretenders and Contenders of College Football

September 30, 2018

With 5 weeks of college football in the books we begin to look at the teams that are for real and teams that may not be here to stay. With this we will take a look at 5 "Contenders", 5 "Pretenders", and 5 Undecided, in which its still a little too early to tell. With that, we will look at the 5 undecided first followed by the contenders and then wrapping up with the pretenders.

 

This list isn't a list of if the team will be good or bad, it is basically if they are a contender to make the college football playoffs or not. It could be as simple as there isn't a clear path for them to make the playoffs 

 

Undecided 

 

Notre Dame - Notre Dame is a team I can't get a good read on. The Irish have two impressive home wins against ranked teams but also struggled in two home games against inferior competition. The Irish look to finally be figuring things out with the QB change bringing Ian Book in at QB. I think the Irish are leaning a little more on that Contender side but 1 loss may knock them out of the playoff with the lack of a conference championship game.

 

Penn State

A close loss against a top 5 team doesn't knock Penn State out of the playoff hunt but they may need some help. I think they can get in with 1 loss if they win the Big 10 but Ohio State losing 2 conference games looks like a tough task at this point. I think the Nittany Lions are for real but will need some help to make the playoffs at this point.

 

Clemson- Sort of a surprise here but Clemson has not looked great so far. The Tigers are undefeated but the way that the ACC has looked this year, the Tigers may have to go undefeated to make the playoffs. Not saying they won't because I think they will but one slip up and they may be out.

 

LSU 

LSU is for real, their only problem is that they may be the third best team in their own conference. LSU could beat Bama but I don't think they will. Their best shot at making the CFB playoffs is hoping UGA finishes the season with 2 losses and they could do what Bama did and make the playoffs as a 1 loss team that doesn't even win their division.

 

UCF - I really want UCF to make the playoffs just to see how they stack up. They should go undefeated again but with no ranked teams on their schedule it will be tough to make the playoffs unless there are a lot of 2 loss teams at seasons end. 

 

Contenders

 

Alabama - This may be the best Alabama team Nick Saban has ever had. Alabama should roll the table and beat every team by 15+ at least. Who knows what will happen as crazy things always do but it will be tough to beat this team.

 

Ohio State 

The Buckeyes proved themselves last night. With TCU struggling that win doesn't look as good anymore but going to Penn State and winning shows that you are for real. The Buckeyes could probably lose a game and still make the playoffs as long as they win the Big10 and that loss isnt to Iowa by 31. That being said, the Buckeyes look very good and have a good chance of going undefeated this year.

 

Georgia - The Dogs have not missed a beat since their run last year. Heading into the season people assumed that Georgia would run through the east without any issues. While they should still win it Kentucky and Florida look better than people thought and could provide challenges. If Georgia can finish the regular season undefeated and lose a close SEC championship then they could still make the playoffs.

 

Oklahoma - Oklahoma looks like they haven't missed a beat since the Baker Mayfield departure. A tough game against Army last week but besides that Kyler Murry has been as good or even better than advertised. If they can win the Big12 with one loss I think they can make the playoffs.

 

West Virginia 

West Virginia is in the same situation as Oklahoma, 1 or less losses as a Big12 champ and they are probably in. The problem is these teams play as the final game of the regular season and then possibly again the following week in the Big12 championship. I will say this, the Mountaineers defense looks better than expected which could get them over that hurdle and past Oklahoma.

 

Pretenders

 

Stanford This weeks loss to Notre Dame wasn't what potentially knocked Stanford out of the playoffs but how they lost. A blowout loss in which your team really didn't show up in the second half doesn't look good. This was the PAC 12's chance of making a statement and it just didn't happen. Not only did Stanford potentially ruin their own chances of making the playoffs but they may have ruined the conferences chances as well. Still a long shot but I don't see it happening.

 

Michigan

Michigan has gotten better and better each week and while they look like they could be a competitor in the Big10 it would be a long shot to make the playoffs. They would have to beat Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State and the Big10 west champ in the championship which would be nearly impossible. If somehow they pull it off then they would definitely make it in but I don't see that happening.

 

Miami - The week 1 loss to LSU doesn't look as bad anymore but as I mentioned with Clemson, the ACC champ may have to go undefeated to make the playoffs. If Miami can run the table get some help and blow out Clemson in the ACC championship they could make a late push but it will take some help.

 

Washington - The Auburn loss is starting to not look as good as Auburn has started to struggle. The Stanford loss to Notre Dame also hurts Washington because it makes the PAC-12 look inferior to the other conferences. Washington would need some help but if they can finish with one loss and Auburn plays well they could have a long shot at the playoffs.

 

Auburn

A lot of people had high hopes for the Tigers to start the season but they have not looked good since that win over Washington. The offense has been the real question mark for Auburn and they need to figure it out soon. The one thing about Auburn is that they control their own destiny with games against UGA and Alabama still. If somehow they can win those which would be a long long shot they could get back into that conversation.

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