Halfway through the approved season, actuality are the 11 best teams in academy football:
If things hold, the two top playoff seeds are about easy: the SEC Best and OSU. Clemson and West Virginia would altercate for a Ability Five appointment best spot, while there’s little agnosticism an best Irish aggregation would be denied a adventitious at the title.
When does academy football anytime comedy out predictably, though? Here’s a Maize n Brew playoff bump for the center mark, as able-bodied as abeyant one-loss contenders lying in wait. (Besides Michigan).
Nick Saban has traded a airless aegis for the best breach of his administration in Tuscaloosa.
The Crimson Tide accept stampeded opponents for 56 credibility a game, acceptable for top marks in the country. The avant-garde stats aback this up, as well. Abaft green quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s 1495 casual yards, the breach abandoned trails Oklahoma’s No. 1 S&P unit.
While still solid, Alabama has slid to No. 18 in arresting S&P with eight new abiding starters. Most recently, 1-5 Arkansas racked up 405 yards in a 65-31 loss.
Only two teams amount to ysis Saban’s latest appellation contender: No. 13 LSU in Baton Rouge and acceptable Georgia in the SEC Championship. Despite a seven-game acceptable band over the Tigers, the Tide’s boilerplate allowance of achievement in Baton Rouge is seven points.
Regarding the Bulldogs, Saban is 11-0 adjoin aloft assistants, including the 26-23 improvement achievement in overtime adjoin Kirby Acute in aftermost year’s Academy Football Playoff finale.
It’s artlessly never acute to bet adjoin ‘Bama.
Notre Dame is a lock for the playoff, as things stand. I can see your eye-rolling from here, Wolverine fans.
Brian Kelly removed Brandon Wimbush afterwards four picks in three games, and started throwing the (Ian) Book at teams. A top-5 S&P aegis now combines with a beginning breach that ripped Stanford and Virginia Tech for 83 credibility total.
The blow of the agenda sets up nicely. Pitt is a apparent hasty attack, while Navy fields its affliction aggregation of the Ken Niumatalolo era. Florida State and Southern Cal are constant years of transition, the aloft due to a new drillmaster and the closing due to youth.
A alley cruise to Northwestern, as Michigan admirers know, is no accessible task. In fact, the Wildcats exhausted Notre Dame in South Bend in 2014.
The abandoned added blackmail is Dino Babers and Syracuse Nov. 17 in Yankee Stadium. The Orange pushed Clemson to the border two weeks ago, but followed that with a accident at Pitt.
There is actually no way an best Irish aggregation is denied a abode at the table. With wins over a ascent Michigan aggregation to go with the contempo blowouts, they accept the all-important big wins on the accepted resume.
One of the undefeated’s is accident in two weeks. North Carolina State visits Clemson in a ACC Atlantic aishment d Oct. 20.
The Wolfpack accept struggled to put abroad characterless ACC teams such as Boston Academy — after A.J. Dillon — and Virginia. They may accept an NFL quarterback in Ryan Finley, but he’s not breaking the six-game Textile Bowl accident streak.
Meanwhile, aloft best quarterback Trevor Lawrence infamously pushed out Kelly Bryant. Afterwards scuffling with the Orange, he spearheaded a 63-point beating over Wake Forest in Winston-Salem.
The arresting band abandoned is acceptable abundant to defended the conference. Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence, Austin Bryant and Christian Wilkins ballast the nation’s No. 4 S&P defense.
This includes averaging 3.33 sacks a game, as all four will comedy on Sundays.
Much like Notre Dame, the agenda bottomward the amplitude is Charmin’ soft. Back your toughest actual approved ysis antagonism is home adjoin 4-1 Duke, you’re sitting pretty. The Coastal Analysis foe the Tigers would see is either No. 16 Miami — survivors adjoin characterless Florida State — or Virginia Tech — losers to Old Dominion.
This team’s birthmark about amount them adjoin Syracuse, but that ability accept been the wake-up alarm required.
A one-loss aggregation from the second-worst ability appointment makes it? Over a Big Ten team??
Also, a aggregation that aloof aching by winless UCLA 31-24 aftermost Saturday? What?
The Huskies will accept a apparently acceptable resume by the end of the season. They get two, possibly three, ranked opponents bottomward the amplitude in No. 17 Oregon (in Eugene), No. 19 Colorado and Stanford. While the Buffaloes accept to exhausted USC in Los Angeles to advance that ranking, they’re ranked appropriate now.
Washington has the high duke on the aboriginal two teams. The aftermost two amateur adjoin the Ducks were 38-3 and 70-21 victories, and the aftermost two over the Buffaloes were 37-10 and 41-10 in the 2016 Pac-12 Championship.
While Stanford triumphed aftermost year, they are addled after Bryce Love, who’s nursing a averse ankle. Utah formed the Cardinal in Palo Alto 40-21, and with Myles Gaskins accretion the rock, the Huskies should do the aforementioned in Seattle Nov. 3.
With the South bearing a cipher for Santa Clara, Chris Petersen’s aggregation will accept 12 wins, with a scattering of them ranked, a appointment appellation and an barefaced accident in the opener to Auburn in Atlanta.
This is allotment one. The blow requires help. The Big XII has yet to aftermath an best aggregation back the alpha of the playoff format, so West Virginia, Texas and Oklahoma will acceptable exhausted anniversary added up.
For those pointing to Ohio State, they bare bad quarterback comedy from Wilton Speight and John O’Korn to survive adjoin Michigan the aftermost two seasons. With Shea Patterson starting to bloom beneath Jim Harbaugh, the Wolverines may assuredly accept all the pieces all-important to beating off the Buckeyes.
A backward accident like that, additional missing out on Indianapolis, would attenuate the conference’s playoff chances.
WEST VIRGINIA, TEXAS, OKLAHOMA
These teams are attractive at a late-season hoedown/hootenanny.
Here’s the anecdotal on the Mountaineers: They’re undefeated, and amalgamate Heisman adversary Will Grier with the best aegis of the Dana Holgersen era.
The botheration is that aegis is abandoned No. 47 nationally, and has yet to face the abhorrent gauntlets of Texas or Oklahoma.
For those who watched the Red River Rivalry aftermost weekend, the Longhorns about blew a three-touchdown advance in the fourth quarter. That signals a aegis that’s not accessible for prime time, alike admitting quarterback Sam Ehlinger aerial them out of the fire.
Oklahoma, on the added hand, aloof accursed Bob Stoops’ brother Mike at arresting coordinator. The change to aloft East Carolina arch drillmaster Ruffin McNeil ability assignment long-term, but TCU, Texas Tech and West Virginia are beating their chops adjoin a transitioning defense.
Without a ascendant team, they all ability get larboard out.
Explanation above. This aggregation will be 11-0 branch into The Game. The abandoned affair continuing in their way is a Michigan aggregation boring basic into a complete unit.
Furthermore, Greg Schiano is accepting a Too Abounding Cooks bearings at arresting coordinator with Alex Grinch — aforetime the Washington State coordinator beneath Mike Leach.
This is the arresting lath allowance in Columbus.
This is acceptance teams like Oregon State, Indiana and TCU to bomb the secondary.
Obviously, Dwayne Haskins is a adumbration at quarterback, and there are bags of weapons from K.J. Hill to Parris Campbell. If Ohio State wins out, they’re acutely a playoff team.
The arresting civic champions accept to be in the discussion, right?
The Knights face No. 23 South Florida in Tampa, No. 25 Cincinnati and acceptable Houston in the AAC appellation d to aing out the year. No Group of Five aggregation has survived two after seasons after a loss, so a echo achievement from 2017 should abode them in the conversation.
Would the board abjure a one-loss SEC ysis champ a atom for them?
Michigan trails two spots abaft the Knights. The Tigers can account on anyone, like aftermost year in the AAC appellation d back they exploded for 55 adjoin the angry Scott Frosts.
The Cyclones pushed Oklahoma in Ames in mid-September, so this wouldn’t be too bizarre. Michigan would canyon the Mountaineers, and the Big Ten would breathe easier alive there’s no best Big XII squad.
A win for Cajun Hoke would barrage his aggregation advanced of Harbaugh’s.
Michigan still has an alfresco attempt at the playoff. The Wolverines appetite a Penn State win to be as admired as possible. How abounding losses can the Spartans booty this year afore the annoyed about Dantonio builds up to aural roars?
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