The second season of the College Football Playoff era is well underway and we are handed the selection committee’s second edition of this year’s rankings. It was another magical week in college football with teams making big statements that absolutely caught the attention of the committee. Unfortunately, for others, their playoff dreams were confirmed as exactly those this weekend; dreams. Everyone loves to make their case as to why teams will be in the playoff, but why not point out the plausible reasons as to why those teams in the top ten will be left out? Before we begin, let us take a moment of silence for the BCS *pours drink in remembrance*. Let’s get started.
1. Clemson Tigers (9-0, 6-0 ACC)
Boy, oh boy, did the Tigers make a statement this weekend defeating ACC foe, Florida State, in Death Valley by double digits. Dabo Swinney seems to become more likeable each week and continues to make sure his team is ready to play week in and week out. Clemson was able to win the turnover battle and control the football by converting 29 first downs compared to FSU’s 14. The Seminoles’ quarterback inconsistency made this game a much easier win for the Tigers and their defense was able to display their dominance. A pretty easy remaining regular season schedule lies ahead as each opponent is well under .500 but, dare I say “Clemsoning” will make an epic return as Clemson loses to an underrated North Carolina team in the ACC Championship game destroying their playoff chances.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-1, 5-1 SEC)
An even more impressive victory for the Tide this weekend defeating LSU, at home, as Nick Saban continues his dominance over Les Miles. The Alabama defense absolutely shut down Heisman Trophy contender, Leonard Fournette, holding him to only 31 rushing yards on 19 carries and Alabama running back, Derrick Henry, has jumped into the driver seat putting up 210 yards and 3 touchdowns. While Alabama’s been looking dominant of late, the loss to Ole Miss at the beginning of the season will not help their case with the committee. This loss seems to be looking worse and worse each week as the Rebels have now lost to Memphis and Arkansas. The Crimson Tide may control their own destiny, but the loss will continue to hurt them. Just to ensure they are out of the playoffs, the Tide will fall to Auburn in the Iron Bowl in the regular season finale. Never underestimate the Iron Bowl, never. Even with the one loss, I believe that Alabama has the best chance of reaching the playoff.
3. Ohio State Buckeyes (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten)
The Buckeyes had yet another dominant win, even without starting quarterback J.T. Barrett, who served a one game suspension, as they defeated Minnesota at home on Saturday Night Football for the third consecutive week. Even though this was ESPN’s primetime game, it received little attention as most eyes were on the top 4 match up in Tuscaloosa, but we will touch on that later. Ohio State’s offense continues to be underwhelming, but the defense has been superb averaging just 15 points against this season. The defense will continue to keep the Buckeyes in games to give them a shot at the playoff. Unfortunately, the constant changing at quarterback and not enough Ezekiel Elliott, as well as their poor strength of schedule, will not help their case with the committee. While they control their own destiny, the final nail in the coffin will be the regular season finale loss at “The Big House” to Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines knocking the Buckeyes out of playoff contention.
4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-1, Independent)
Ugh, I am going to be sick! Another nice win for the Irish this weekend as they won their second consecutive game in Pennsylvania defeating Pitt. While Notre Dame has had some impressive wins this season, their signature win is over Temple, in a game in which they were completely outplayed by the Owls. Even if they win out, the committee should stay firm and show their value of strength of conference and a conference championship game and leave the Irish out of the top four. Send a message committee! There is no reason for a 1loss independent team should be in the College Football Playoff come season’s end. But, just to be safe, I’ll say the Irish fall in their season finale at Stanford. Stop being stubborn, Notre Dame. Join a conference!
5. Iowa Hawkeyes (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten)
Did anyone see this season coming for the Hawkeyes? I certainly did not! An impressive season thus far from Iowa who seems to be unbeatable at this point in the season. Although, Iowa’s schedule has been a cakewalk, and it does not get much more difficult in their three remaining regular season games, you cannot leave them out of the playoff picture. A historic season for the Hawkeyes will come to a disappointing end as they lose to an unpredictable Nebraska team in their final game of the regular season and lose to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. Sorry Hawkeyes. Keep your fingers crossed for a chance at the Rose Bowl.
6. Baylor Bears (8-0, 5-0 Big 12)
Baylor’s offense has once again been electrifying in 2015 averaging 57 points per game, which leads the nation. With Baylor being snubbed from the playoff last year, they are playing inspired football and cannot be denied this season if they run the table. The key loss for the Bears is not just a game, but their starting quarterback, Seth Russell. Freshman quarterback, Jarrett Stidham, was very impressive in his first start at Kansas State. The offense has shown no signs of slowing down, even with their second string quarterback. The Bears’ playoff dreams will come to an end when they fall to TCU on November 27th, at TCU. The Horned Frogs have nothing to lose now and a rivalry has been churning between these two. TCU will be playing inspired football, coming off of a huge loss at Oklahoma State and because of the loss to Baylor a year ago. “If we miss the playoff, so do you!” TCU probably.
7. Stanford Cardinal (8-1, 7-0 Pac 12)
Stanford has been playing some serious football these past few weeks. Christian McCaffrey is quickly becoming a serious Heisman contender eclipsing 100 yards rushing in each Pac12 game this season. He is playing his best football right when the Cardinal needs it and I fully expect them to winout the rest of the regular season. Unfortunately, they will fall just short of reaching the College Football Playoff due to a bad loss in their first game of the season at Northwestern. But hey, thanks for knocking out Notre Dame and enjoy the Rose Bowl!
8. Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-0, 6-0 Big 12)
Another surprising team that is undefeated this season, the Cowboys are coming off a very impressive win over TCU at home. Oklahoma State is putting up impressive offensive numbers, but who isn’t in the Big 12? People are continuing to count out the Cowboys and I will too. They will lose their final two games of the regular season to Baylor and then rival Oklahoma. You also can’t count on them getting by Iowa State this weekend, as the Cyclones are always prone to knock someone off. Regardless, this has still been a very impressive year for Oklahoma State but, no playoffs for the Cowboys this season.
9. LSU Tigers (7-1, 4-1 SEC)
It’s a little late in the season to be losing games, LSU. I believe the Tigers will winout the regular season but, it is not easy to get back in the top four once you are out. The Tigers will not make the College Football Playoff because of their loss at Alabama. Period. Better luck next year.
10. Utah Utes (8-1, 5-1 Pac 12)
I had high hopes for the Utes coming into this season and at first, they did not disappoint. An impressive victory over Michigan in the first game of the season made me a supporter and making an embarrassment of Oregon in Eugene made me a believer. Unfortunately for the Utes, a disappointing loss to USC, where they were dominated by the Trojans, and a down year for the Pac12 will force the Utes to come up shy even if they win their remaining games. A loss could be in the near future though as the Utes host UCLA in two weeks. No playoffs for you, even with the one loss.
It has been an especially exciting college football season thus far and it is only getting started. Settle in folks, the fun has just begun! Especially, if my predictions are correct. Miami could even make the playoffs!