If the season ended today, there is no doubt who the four playoff teams would be with Alabama a definite #1 seed and Michigan, Washington, and Clemson following in some order behind. After that, it gets a little murky, as some teams hold their fate in their hands, while others need a lot of help to get back into the picture. Here are the Top 10 teams, as rated by the Associated Press, with my thoughts.
10. Wisconsin Badgers 5-2 [Last Week #10, defeated Iowa]—In what was a rough and tumble game, the Badgers beat the Hawkeyes. The Badgers have had one of the most daunting schedules in the game in quite some time. It comes to a close against No. 11 Nebraska this week.
9. Texas A&M Aggies 6-1 [Last Week #6, Lost to Alabama]— A thrashing at the hands of the best team in the land in Alabama cannot be held against this team, as they held their own for almost three quarters. However, it is a matter of time before the other shoe drops on their Top 10 ranking. The winner of Nebraska-Wisconsin could leapfrog them next week.
8. Baylor Bears 6-0 [Last Week #9, Bye Week]—December 3, 2016 – that is the date. If the Bears and West Virginia Mountaineers hold serve and stay undefeated, they will play for a conference championship on that day, and possibly a spot in the college football playoffs.
7. West Virginia Mountaineers 6-0 [Last Week #13, Defeated TCU]- The Mountaineers began their stretch of must-win games with a beating on TCU. As of now, they look better than Big 12 counterpart Baylor, and as stated above, could be the conference title match-up.
6. Ohio State Buckeyes 6-1 [Last Week #2, Lost to Penn State]— The Penn State loss stings and will sting for a while, but Ohio State still controls their destiny. If they win out, especially by beating Michigan and having the schedule that they played, they will be in contention to make the playoff.
5. Louisville Cardinals 6-1 [Last Week #7, Defeated NC State]—Super quarterback Lamar Jackson, after another Heisman-worthy performance, has Louisville in the spot of the first team to jump into the playoff if one of the top four stumble. The match-up with Houston looms large.
4. Clemson Tigers 7-0 [Bye, Last Week #4]—Despite having some rough moments the last few weeks, the Tigers are still a playoff team. A match-up with Florida State, though not the marquee matchup it once was, is on deck, and a win here could be the cement needed.
3. Washington Huskies 7-0 [Last Week #5, Defeated Oregon State]— The Huskies jumped Clemson, as the only thing that kept Clemson ahead was last season’s results. With the defeat of Oregon State, the Huskies got the jump they deserved. They face a tough stretch ahead, but they have been dominant this season.
2. Michigan Wolverines 7-0 [Last Week #3, Defeated Illinois]— The Wolverines have a clear path to make it to their match-up against Ohio State unbeaten, and with Ohio State’s loss, they are firmly entrenched as the Big 10’s top dog.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide 8-0 [Last Week #1, Defeated Texas A&M]— This is becoming a common theme. A Top 10 team faces the Tide and gets blown away like the wind. Jalen Hurts has emerged as the real deal, and it ‘s hard to see the Tide stumbling the rest of the season.