Updating College Football Playoff chase: Dare we say Auburn as a chance?
Just when you thought Alabama was on the ropes against a fellow SEC West and College Football Playoff contender, the Crimson Tide pulled away from Texas A&M in Crimson Tide fashion.
Alabama is dominant, so much so that the SEC isn’t getting two in. Ohio State, not so much on Saturday. Here is what the Playoff situation looks like after Week 8.
Alabama: No one is close right now and it doesn’t look like that is changing. The Tide have two challenges remaining: Nov. 5 at LSU, which will need Leonard Fournette to do what he did to Ole Miss, and in the Iron Bowl against a rising Auburn team. Otherwise, we’ve seen how the SEC East stacks up.
Michigan: The Wolverines have faced one ranked team this season — and scored 14 points against them. After a non-test against Illinois, the Wolverines should have no trouble until Nov. 26 at Ohio State.
Speaking of Ohio State: Did the Buckeyes blow it? Not yet, but the winner of that last game is likely in, assuming they win the Big Ten Championship Game. The loser won’t be so lucky.
Clemson: Even after what should have been a loss to N.C. State, it is simple for the Tigers after Saturday’s bye. Beat Florida State, cruise through the next four and win the ACC. You’re in.
Washington: The Huskies beat Oregon State via blowout and moved to No. 4 in the both polls. But they still lack that huge win. That said, lose Saturday at Utah and a good bowl, not a Playoff, awaits. They will be a favorite on the road in a huge game with huge implications. Thankfully it isn’t a night game so we can all enjoy it wide awake.
Louisville: Beating N.C. State the way the Cardinals did put them right back in the conversation. Problem is, they need Clemson to lose twice in order to reach the ACC title game. There are no more worthy games for Louisville to play thanks to Houston’s collapse. Would the committee include a team that didn’t appear in the conference championship game? We might find out. Louisville is ranked No. 5 in both polls and should cruise to an 11-1 regular season.
Nebraska: Stop ignoring the 7-0 Huskers, whose playoff chances will be shaped in the next two games. Win two straight Saturdays on the road at Wisconsin and Ohio State, then the Big Ten title and you are a lock. It could take all three due to not another quality win thus far. Nebraska can also end Ohio State’s bid.
Baylor: 6-0 with no love because it’s a boring 6-0. Nov. 12 at Oklahoma is huge but not as huge as a battle of unbeatens on Dec. 3 in Morgantown would be. Winner could have the right key. Ironically, Baylor has a better chance at the Playoff and will be an underdog in that game.
West Virginia: Needs to worry about Oklahoma State before looking down the road.
Auburn: Skipping right past the likes of Wisconsin, Florida, Boise State and Wisconsin and going right to Auburn. If the Tigers keep playing like this, they have a shot because this version can challenge Alabama. Their two losses were early, as well as to highly-thought of Clemson and Texas A&M. They demolished Arkansas on Saturday night. It might not even require the right batch of teams losing in front of the Tigers.
If Auburn beats Ole Miss – it will be a slight favorite on the road this week – the Tigers have a chance that no other team has. Stunning Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 26 in a game that will be on every fan’s television across America, as well as anyone who has anything at all to say about the Playoff, might do the trick. Or it might push the SEC out of the loop.