Georgia is the only undefeated Power 5 team left.
The Bulldogs seem like the best bet for making the College Football Playoff. Cincinnati, one of two undefeated in the group of 5, is still in the mix. The rest of the top 10 contenders have a defeat.
The third round of CFP rankings will be on Tuesday. How are they going to fix that mess of a leak?
The Big 12 took the final blow when Oklahoma lost 27-14 to Baylor in Week 11. The Sooners may not drop much in the league, but the legacy of the top 10 teams changes. The Big Ten still has a loss-making mess with Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan to resolve in the next two weeks. Cincinnati was helped with the loss of the Sooners. Will they get more in the last three weeks?
Each week, we will analyze the playoff picture based on how we think the CFP committee should rank the top 10 teams. As we saw last week, the committee may not agree with these rankings.
No future results are expected:
Four in the College Football Playoffs
1. Georgia (10-0)
Remaining time: v Charleston Southern, at Georgia Tech
Tennessee scored a TD in the first quarter and scored a points-rich season against the Bulldogs. Georgia still managed their rival 41-17 and had the support of a fiery attack that amassed 274 yards on 6.7 yards per transport. Georgia have four wins against ranked opponents and capped a perfect regular season in SEC play. There is no doubt who the No. 1 per hour.
2. Alabama (9-1)
Remaining time: against Arkansas, in Auburn
Alabama covered a 51.5-point spread in their 59-3 win over the state of New Mexico in a set-up before the season-end stretch against Arkansas and Auburn. Bryce Young finished 21 of 23 for 270 yards and five TDs in a record performance, and Jameson Williams continued a brilliant season with six holds for 158 yards and three TDs. There is nothing new to learn about the Crimson Tide in this win that the next couple of weeks won’t clear up. Alabama will remain in its No. 2 placed accordingly.
3. Oregon (9-1)
Remaining time: in Utah, against the state of Oregon
Oregon and Washington were tied at half-time, but the Ducks retreated in the third quarter and held out for a 38-24 win. The CFP committee could get complicated and put the state of Ohio at No. 3, but we will keep Oregon’s heads-up victory on 9/11. Anthony Brown continues to evolve as a double threat. He finished with 135 yards passed and 123 yards ran, and the tag team of Travis Dye (88 yards, TD) and Byron Cardwell (98 yards, 2 TDs) are more than enough support in the running game. Kayvon Thibodeaux also invented a sack in the red zone. The largest Pac-12 test arrives in week 12 in Utah.
4. State of Ohio (9-1)
Remaining time: v Michigan State, in Michigan
Spoiler? Not so much. Ohio State hammered Purdue 59-31 to add a second win over a ranked opponent to its resume. The committee favors the Buckeyes before the Bearcats, and it will stay that way on Tuesday. Ohio State racked up 386 yards in the first half and built a 45-17 lead. CJ Stroud finished 31 of 38 for 361 yards and five TDs. The Buckeyes have racked up 624 yards in their most complete offensive performance in a month. Ohio State gets top 10 showdowns against Michigan State and Michigan in the next two weeks. The Buckeyes remain the team to beat in the Big Ten.
5. Cincinnati (10-0)
Remaining time: against SMU, in East Carolina
There is some “score shaming” going on with the Bearcats. Cincinnati led South Florida 31-7 in the third quarter, but the Bulls narrowed the lead to 10 in the second half in a 45-28 defeat. Does the score matter? It’s a perceptual battle that Cincinnati may not win the American Athletic Conference, and this was the third straight week that the Bearcats haven’t covered a large spread. Of the 10 teams that Cincinnati has beaten, only Notre Dame has won Power 5. Does that top-10 win over Notre Dame mean enough? The reality is that Cincinnati will need one from Alabama, Oregon or Ohio State to lose.
6. State of Michigan (9-1)
Remaining time: in Ohio State, against Penn State
Unlike the CFP committee, we are still honoring the Spartans head-to-head victory against the Wolverines. This is a problem that will resolve itself when Michigan State and Ohio State meet at Ohio Stadium on Saturday. The Spartans showed a balanced offense in a 40-21 blowout against Maryland. Kenneth Walker III ran for 143 yards and two TDs to continue his Heisman push, and Payton Thorne went through for 287 yards and four TDs. The Spartans are the latest Big Ten school to win away to Ohio State; a victory that led to a visit to CFP in 2015. Will history repeat itself?
Four to watch
7. Michigan (9-1)
Remaining time: v Maryland, in the state of Ohio
Michigan manager Jim Harbaugh is credited with leading Michigan to a 21-17 road win at Penn State. Cade McNamara threw the winning TD pass to Erick All and Hassan Haskins ran 31 times for 156 yards. Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo teamed up for five of the seven Wolverines sacks. Michigan can stage a 10-1 team battle against Ohio State if both teams take care of business this week. Wolverines shut down their Maryland road program.
8. Notre Dame (9-1)
Remaining time: against Georgia Tech, at Stanford
Notre Dame is starting to squirm in the playoff conversation. The Irish didn’t have much trouble with Virginia, who didn’t have quarterback Brennan Armstrong (ribs). Notre Dame took a 28-3 win, their fourth consecutive double-digit win. The Irish are still hampered by the defeat to Cincinnati and would need the Big Ten East champion to lose a potential matchup with Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game. Remember, the Irish beat up the Badgers 41-13. Notre Dame isn’t out of the mix yet.
9. State of Oklahoma (9-1)
Remaining time: at Texas Tech, against Oklahoma
The Cowboys beat Baylor. This will be a key piece in the potential tiebreaker for the Big 12 championship game. Oklahoma State continued what became a dominant defensive trait in a 63-17 blowout against TCU. The Cowboys conceded just 7.7 ppg. in three wins since losing to Iowa State on November 23. Oklahoma State has yet to prove it by stopping a six-game losing streak at Bedlam, but the Sooners have not fared well in their last two away games. The CFP committee will respect the Oklahoma State curriculum a little more; at least for this week.
10. Oklahoma (9-1)
Remaining time: against Iowa State, in Oklahoma State
The Sooners lost 27-14 to Baylor in a defeat that blasted their CFP hopes. Sure, each of Oklahoma’s four CFP races since 2015 came after a defeat in conference play, but the committee didn’t like them all that much with an unbeaten record. Baylor ran for 296 yards and Lincoln Riley replaced quarterbacks Caleb Williams and Spencer Rattler through a shocking loss to the Bears. The Sooners still control their fate to return to the Big 12 championship game, but are close to the line of contenders to a defeat for CFP.