With Alabama’s loss to LSU and Penn State’s loss to Minnesota last week, the top three teams selected for the 2020 College Football Playoff are almost solidified. LSU, Ohio State, and Clemson are undefeated and control their own destinies. If they win out, they will all be in the Playoff.
One-loss Georgia sits in the fourth and final position, but this is subject to change. Numerous one-loss teams and a couple of undefeated teams are all still in contention to overtake Georgia for that final spot and will look to enhance their resumes in the final weeks of the regular season. Here is a rundown of five of these contending teams who we could see as the fourth seed for this year’s College Football Playoff.
Record: 8-1 (5-1)
Good Wins: 24-17 vs. Florida (neutral site), 23-17 vs. Notre Dame
(Bad) Loss: 17-20 vs. South Carolina
The Bulldogs have the edge over the other teams here because they are already in the fourth spot. However, their difficult schedule will make it hard for them to stay there. This Saturday, Georgia will travel to Auburn and take on the 12th-ranked Tigers. A loss then will almost certainly remove them from Playoff contention, and it doesn’t seem like a stretch to say they might lose in Jordan-Hare.
Even if Georgia is able to come out with a win this week and win out for the rest of the regular season, they will most likely have to come up against top-ranked LSU. With Kirby Smart’s questionable coaching and quarterback Jake Fromm’s inconsistent play, I don’t see the Bulldogs in the Playoffs come December.
Record: 8-1 (5-1)
Good Win: 47-28 at Texas A&M
Loss: 41-46 vs. LSU
Alabama started off the season No. 2 in the country, and almost everyone predicted another undefeated season and a trip to the National Championship for them. The Crimson Tide have had a weak schedule, only having one win against a ranked opponent. This win came against Texas A&M, who isn’t even ranked now.
When facing their first true test of the season against LSU, they lost and looked discombobulated. Alabama has one hard game remaining at rival Auburn, but even if they win this, they will probably not make the SEC Title Game and face a team like Georgia. I think their lack of a conference championship will come back to bite them.
Record: 8-1 (6-0)
Good Wins: 35-31 at Washington, 56-24 at USC
Loss: 21-27 vs. Auburn (neutral site)
After blowing a fourth-quarter lead against Auburn in their first game of the season, the Ducks have bounced back and are now ranked sixth in the country. They have steamrolled through conference play and picked up a few decent wins in the process.
Oregon will most likely win their final three games of the season against winnable teams and qualify for the PAC-12 Title Game. If Oregon does this and then defeats seventh-ranked Utah in the conference title game, they will be seriously considered for the Playoff. Because their only loss comes against a good, ranked team early in the year and their ability to win their conference, they will make a good case for their spot among college football’s elite.
Record: 9-0 (6-0)
Good Win: 31-26 vs. Penn State
Minnesota wasn’t ranked to start the year and only just cracked the top-25 in Week 7. They are definitely one of the surprise stories of the year and have stated their case as a legitimate college football team with a win against fourth-ranked Penn State last week.
This was the Golden Gophers’ first tough test of the year, and they took advantage of it. Next week, they have another difficult matchup at 20th-ranked Iowa. Two weeks after that, they end their regular season against 14th-ranked Wisconsin at home. If Minnesota wins these two games and competes with Ohio State in the Big Ten title game, they may be able to qualify for the Playoff even without a conference title.
Current Record: 9-0 (6-0)
Good Wins: 31-12 at Kansas State, 45-27 at Oklahoma State
Like Minnesota, Baylor wasn’t ranked to start the season. Now, they are undefeated and can secure their place in their conference championship game if they win out their remaining three games.
This is not an easy task for the Bears though. Baylor has a huge game at home against Oklahoma this Saturday night and another game at home against Texas the week after. To make matters more difficult, the Bears will have to face off against Oklahoma (most likely) again in their conference championship to secure a Playoff berth.
To beat Jalen Hurts and the prolific Sooners offense once is a big ask, but twice is even harder, so I don’t see Baylor as the fourth seed in the Playoffs.
As always, let me know what you think. Would you have included Penn State, Oklahoma, Utah, or any other teams on this list? Are there any teams I included that you do not think deserves to be in Playoff contention?