Who Is Still Alive in the College Football Playoff Hunt?by Davis Ender October 29, 2019 0 comments
With the season over halfway finished, the key figures in the playoff race are now clear. Five weeks are remaining and there is still plenty of time for some chaos, but here are the teams still alive in the playoff hunt.
The Buckeyes might not have the resume of LSU, but they’ve looked better on the field than anyone in the country so far. There hasn’t been a single game this season where their opponent had a legitimate chance in the second half.
Justin Fields and the offense have been as good as they could have hoped and the defensive front has been dominant as always. Ohio State is the team to beat in the Big Ten.
The Nittany Lions have been a lot better than we thought. Everyone knew they were going to have a top-tier defense this season, but Sean Clifford and the offense have far exceeded fan expectations. Penn State is 8-0 with several key wins under their belt. They shouldn’t overlook Minnesota and still have to beat Ohio State, but the Nittany Lions have earned their status as the No. 5 ranked team in the country.
Minnesota? Seriously? It seems impossible, but the Golden Gophers are the favorites to win the Big Ten West. I don’t think anybody is taking them seriously as a playoff threat, but with a perfect 8-0 record as a Big Ten team, they’re in a position to make it happen. If they finish the year undefeated, they would add wins against Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin, and likely Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship. I don’t know how that resume doesn’t get into the playoff.
The 2019 ACC is abysmal and should hardly be considered a power-five conference, but so long as Clemson goes undefeated they’ll be in the playoff. Trevor Lawrence hasn’t been elite, but the defense is still outstanding and Dabo Sweeney is their head coach.
As long as Tua Tagovailoa is their quarterback and Nick Saban is their head coach, the Crimson Tide will be (and should be) the favorites to win the national championship. They’re 8-0 and have a huge showdown with 8-0 LSU coming up. Even with a loss, however, they could still reach the playoff.
No one in the country boasts a stronger resume than the Tigers, who have three wins against (at the time) top-10 teams. Joe Burrow has been arguably the best quarterback in the country and LSU’s offense is poised to carry them to the promised land. In addition, they also have a solid defense capable of getting key stops late in games. They could reach the playoff even if they lose to Alabama.
I’ve grouped these two together because they are both in the exact same position … and happen to play each other this Saturday. The winner of that matchup has to win the SEC and they will have a great chance at making the playoff.
The Sooners may have been stunned by Kansas State, but they’re still alive in the playoff hunt. They have to win out and claim the Big 12 title to do so, but if the rest of the top 10 suffers a couple losses, then the Sooners still have a chance to sneak in.
The Pac 12 looked dead in the water after Oregon’s season-opening loss to Auburn, but since then the Ducks have looked like a top-10 team. They don’t have the opportunity to lock up as many as many high caliber wins other contenders, but their dominant defense alongside quarterback Justin Herbert could sneak them into the No. 4 seed.