The College Football Playoff Debate is heating up. With only three weeks to go in the season, the playoffs should include four of these seven contenders. Here are my current rankings of the top 7 contenders:
1. Alabama (9-1)
What they have going for them: Alabama has looked like the best team recently with a 59-0 win against A&M, a win at LSU and against Mississippi State. Their one loss was a close game in Oxford against the 8th ranked Ole Miss Rebels. Based on the eye test, leading the SEC and a big win against Mississippi State makes Alabama the top team.
What they have against them: Alabama currently only has one top 25 victory. This past weekend wasn’t a great weekend for Alabama past opponents. LSU lost to Arkansas and Texas A&M lost to Missouri. However, if they win out they will have wins against Auburn and the SEC East which should give them the Resume they need to be the number one team
What they have left: Vs. Western Carolina, Vs. Auburn, SEC Championship
2. Oregon (9-1)
What they have going for them: They have three top 25 wins and probably one of the most impressive resumes around. Currently Oregon has taken down the teams ranked 10th, 11th and 20th. Their only loss was a close one against 15th ranked Arizona. Oregon has also been playing extremely well since the October 2nd loss with an average victory of 21.6 points.
What they have against them: Oregon really doesn’t have a signature win. They have a lot of good wins, but the lack of a signature win separates Alabama from Oregon. The SEC in my opinion has been a better conference this year then the Pac 12 also.
What they have left: Vs. Colorado, At Oregon State, Pac-12 Championship
3. Florida St. (10-0)
What they have going for them: They’re undefeated. Florida State has found a way to win every game they have been in. They have played some decent teams with wins against Notre Dame, Clemson, Louisville and Miami. It looks like they will run away with the ACC Championship.
What they have against them: They do not have a win over a top 25 team. The non-conference win against Oklahoma State looks even worse now that they are 5-5. With this soft schedule, they haven’t looked impressive in their victories. If it was only about going undefeated Marshall would be a top 4 team. Florida State is in the top four because they are undefeated, but one loss I believe would eliminate them from playoff contention.
What they have left: Vs. Boston College, Vs. Florida, ACC Championship
4. TCU (9-1)
What they have going for them: TCU has an impressive resume this season. So far they have two wins against top 25 teams Kansas State and Oklahoma. Their one loss was a close one against Baylor in Waco. If they win out it looks like they will be Co-Champions of the Big 12.
What they have against them: They stay in the top four, despite their struggle to beat a bad Kansas team. Even though they still won, it does keep the distance between them and Mississippi State much smaller. If they do end up Co-Champions with Baylor the committee will most likely look at Baylor as the champions.
What they have left: At Texas, Vs. Iowa State
5. Mississippi State (9-1)
What they have going for them: They are a one loss SEC West team whose only loss was to a very good Alabama team. They have a quality win over Auburn and could get another quality win in the Egg Bowl over Ole Miss. Mississippi State passes the eye test too with Dak Prescott and a very good defense.
What they have against them: Just like Alabama they currently have only one win against a top 25 opponent. However, they are not in position to play in the SEC championship. With one of the criteria the committee looks at being conference champions, it could leave Mississippi State out of the top four teams. Right now they are on the fringe with their resume, but there is a possibility they get pushed out by a conference champion.
What they have left: Vs. Vanderbilt, At Ole Miss
6. Baylor (8-1)
What they have going for them: Baylor has two impressive victories against Oklahoma and TCU. The win against TCU means if they win out they will be looked at by the committee as the Big 12 champions. Other than their one loss Baylor has looked pretty impressive winning at an average of 34.5 points per game. Baylor still has Kansas State left which would give them another impressive victory.
What they have against them: They have one bad loss to West Virginia where they were beaten by 14 points. Baylor also has had a very soft non-conference schedule playing SMU, Northwestern State and Buffalo. The main thing that will hold them back is a combination of the weak schedule and loss to West Virginia.
What they have left: Vs. Oklahoma State, At Texas Tech, Vs. Kansas State
7. Ohio State (9-1)
What they have going for them: Ohio State has played much better since the loss to Virginia Tech. JT Barrett has improved throughout the season which has led to their 8 game winning streak. They also have a solid win at East Lansing over Michigan State. Right now it looks like they are in line to be in the Big Ten championship against Wisconsin.
What they have against them: An early loss against a bad Virginia Tech (5-5) team at home is their killer. They also only have the one signature win against Michigan State on their resume and The Big 10 is not as strong as the other major conferences so their soft schedule plays against them. They will need to have an impressive finish to the season to be in that final four.
What they have left: Vs. Indiana, Vs. Michigan, Big Ten Championship