Playoff pretenders slowly being weeded out as regular season winds down
Texas A&M did its part to squash its controversial College Football Playoff standing, dropping a 35-28 stinker on Saturday at Mississippi State.
The Aggies won’t be in the new Playoff four, but there is still plenty of room for questions and controversy.
Nebraska, Florida and LSU are toast. Here are the teams that have an argument, the good teams firmly in a spot and the equally as good teams in the chase. After watching Alabama’s defense do what it did to LSU, the SEC feels pretty good about having only one team in the four.
Teams that have a chance to play spoiler: Washington State vs. Washington; Houston vs. Louisville; Georgia vs. Auburn; Minnesota at Wisconsin.
Alabama: Defense not only wins championships, it beats LSU in Baton Rouge. The Crimson Tide scored enough points and didn’t allow any in a 10-0 win. Mississippi State, Chattanooga and Auburn remain, and watching Auburn against Vanderbilt didn’t provide Alabama haters much hope of the Tide losing the Iron Bowl.
Clemson: Barring something wildly unforeseen, the Tigers are in. They have dominated teams and also found a way to hang on by a thread in others. They will be double-digit favorites against Pittsburgh, at Wake Forest and against South Carolina.
Michigan: Nov. 26 at Ohio State will loom over the Wolverines for the next three weeks. It will be close to a toss-up. It’s close to win-and-in.
Ohio State: Speaking of the Buckeyes, even after annihilating Nebraska by 59 points on Saturday, they have to beat Michigan. Losing to Penn State will continue to haunt them until results are final. Just for fun, say Ohio State gets to the Big Ten title game and loses to Wisconsin. The Big Ten could derail itself from the mix.
Washington: Like it or not, the Huskies have done what has been asked, and not everyone can play an SEC West schedule. The one large enough hurdle remaining is to beat Washington State on Nov. 25. Lose that and the door opens for others clamoring that Washington hadn’t done enough anyway.
Louisville: The Cardinals can only hope one of the above teams loses. Lamar Jackson can score all the touchdowns he wants to score (seven on Saturday against Boston College), but even after his team demolishes Wake Forest, Houston and Kentucky, it will be cheering against Washington and hoping Michigan and Ohio State stumble.
Wisconsin: Those 14 combined points the Badgers lost by against Michigan and Ohio State are nearly impossible to overcome, considering two-loss teams don’t make the cut. It is a must to win out and win the Big Ten. Nebraska’s loss on Saturday was good for Wisconsin.
Auburn: The Tigers held on tight to slim Playoff hopes with a touchdown win against Vanderbilt. Auburn should beat Georgia and will beat Alabama A&M. The Iron Bowl is make or break. Losing in the opener by six to Clemson helps. Losing to the Texas A&M team that lost on Saturday at Mississippi State doesn’t.