CFP Contenders and Pretenders

Week 5 is now and the books and more questions, or prayers, have been answered. This was a huge week for the landscape of college football and giving us a better understanding of who is a pretender and who is a contender in this year’s college football playoff race. The committee is quietly waiting in the wind for November 1st to release the first college football playoff ranking, but it is never too early to speculate what they might be thinking. What we learned last week is Stanford can’t win the big game, Clemson still rules the ACC, and the Michigan vs. Ohio State game in late November will decide everything. So let’s see who the contenders and pretenders are for this year’s college football playoff.

Contenders:

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SEC:

Alabama: Roll Tide is rolling once again and there is no surprises about that, Nick Saban and the boys are cruising to an SEC west title once again. They haven’t faced there toughest opponents just yet, but based on everything I have seen they will win out and get into the playoff as the number 1 seed. Bama puts up plenty of points and smothers opponents constantly on defense. Their kryptonite the last few years has been Ole Miss, and the Tide took care of them already this season. I hate Alabama with pure passion, but we’ll be seeing them in the playoff.

Tennessee: The Volunteers are flying high after a huge last second Hail Mary victory over Georgia last week, and the Vols have had Lady Luck on their side all year. To me Tennessee was a pretender before last week, but Josh Dobbs is balling out so far this year, and as long as he keeps it up Tennessee is on the fast track to the SEC title game against Alabama. The reason they aren’t a pretender still is because anything can happen in a title game. Alabama will probably beat Tennessee by 28+ but you just never know.

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ACC:

Clemson: First and foremost I am still shaking from Saturday’s game against Louisville. Clemson put on an absolute show in the second quarter to get themselves to a 28-10 halftime lead, and I was well aware it wasn’t over. Louisville fought back aggressively in the third to regain the lead 36-28, but Dabo rallied the boys for the fourth quarter and led them to a 42-36 victory in Death Valley. Clemson was supposed to be this good and they are finally playing like it again. A tough road test in Tallahassee in a few weeks stands between Clemson and the ACC title game, assuming no slip ups from here on out, but let’s all knock on some wood.

Louisville: What Louisville proved to me on Saturday night was that if they win out, which would mean a huge road victory over Houston, they could potentially be a top 4 team in the country by the final college football playoff vote. They need Clemson to lose twice to get into the ACC championship game, so that seems unlikely, but the committee could absolutely put in a 1 loss Louisville team with Heisman frontrunner Lamar Jackson at quarterback. Louisville gained enormous amount of respect from me after Saturday, but better luck next year Cardinals.

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BIG 10:

Ohio State: Need I say more? It just comes with the name at this point, but the Buckeyes are nasty yet again. JT Barrett is having a stellar season and has led OSU to number 2 in the nation to this point. What will get the Buckeyes into the college football playoff? A big win over…

Michigan: A tough road lies ahead with Michigan St, Iowa, and Ohio St all on the schedule but I believe the Wolverines will get to the final week of the season undefeated. And as it is for Ohio State, Michigan needs a win in that huge rivalry game to get into the playoff. I really hope we get those two undefeated for that game.

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Big 12:

Better luck next year!!

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Pac 12:

Washington: I never thought Stanford was going to lose to Washington, let alone that badly, but here we are with Washington as a legitimate college football playoff contender. The Huskies have gotten extraordinary quarterback play from Jake Browning. The Huskies just need to win out and they are in no questions asked, but can they do it?

Group of 5:

Houston: Win out, beat Louisville, and pray to God that Oklahoma wins out as well. Houston can go undefeated but being in the AAC is making it tough for them, time to move to the Big 12. Good luck Houston, you deserve to get in if you are undefeated, but will the committee allow that?

Pretenders:

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SEC:

Texas A&M: The Aggies are good don’t get me wrong, but they cannot beat Alabama, and that is what separates them from the playoff. A&M has a huge home game this week against Tennessee and they could absolutely win that, but being in the SEC west is tough because of the likes of Alabama. I actually see the Aggies winning against Tennessee, but not the SEC west.

Florida: A huge lead over Tennessee wasn’t enough for the Gators to win, so they are out, unless by some miracle they win out and Tennessee loses twice and the Gators beat Bama, good luck to them.

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ACC:

Florida State: 63-20 loss to Louisville and another loss this week to North Carolina, smell ya later Seminoles.

Miami: Plain and simple this team hasn’t really beaten anybody that great and I don’t think they’ll even get to the ACC title game. I believe North Carolina will beat the Hurricanes and then Miami will probably fall off and finish like 9-3 or something.

North Carolina: They must win out and then beat either Clemson or Louisville in the ACC title game, no chance they do both.

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BIG 10:

Nebraska: 5-0 isn’t bad, playing Michigan or Ohio State in the B1G title game is.

Wisconsin: They have the best chance out of the B1G west, but Wisconsin couldn’t beat Michigan last week on a bad day for Michigan. But there is a chance, if they get to the title game anything could happen, but I don’t see it for the Badgers.

Iowa: They lost to North Dakota State, a very good team mind you, but how you going to lose to the Bison at home and expect to beat Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Michigan and then win the B1G title game? Answer is you’re not.

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Big 12:

Baylor: Narrowly escaping Iowa State, real impressive.

West Virginia: Apparently they are 4-0, but who knew.

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Pac 12:

Stanford: We all saw what Washington did to them, that’ll demoralize any team, they’ll lose again, I promise.

Utah: The Utes love having a solid start and then falling off the face of the earth once people start to recognize them. They won’t do anything with their season, maybe win the Las Vegas Bowl over New Mexico or someone stupid.

My playoff prediction after week 5 is Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, and Washington. Who do you have?

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