After Notre Dame’s win over Clemson, the College Football Playoff race is still close to call


As if the College Football Playoff selection committee did not have enough to debate this season.

Unbalanced schedule, delayed start, discontinuation and cancellation because coronovirus epidemic. And then, on Saturday, the ACC and SEC further complicated the playoff picture, when they both advanced to an early case to be two Top four contenders.

No. 1 Clemson and No. 4 Notre Dame, separated by a mere touchdown in the Irish’s 47-40 double overtime win, with a chance to meet again in the ACC Championship Game, while Florida and Alabama also appear on the collision in their conference. Course for the championship game.

While it may seem a little early to present that potential debate, the toughest sections of their schedule are already behind them, and they should be favored in each of the remaining games. ESPN’s Football Power Index gives Clemson, Notre Dame, Alabama and Florida more than a 71% chance to win each game of their final regular season.

With Alabama and Ohio State on the fast track for the top four finishers, it is possible that the committee selects them with Clemson And Notre Dame (if Clemson defeated the Irish to win the ACC title and both ended up with one loss – to each other). The committee may also consider the top four including Ohio State, ACC champions, Alabama And Florida, the Gators should upset the tide in the SEC Championship game.

Given how closely the Notre Dame-Clemson game was contested, however, the ACC’s playoff conditions feel like a more realistic scenario for the Power 5 conference to place two teams in the top four. The selection committee will take into account the fact that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was sidelined in that game due to coronovirus, but the Tigers quarterback position will not be a decisive part of Clemson’s playoff potential, nor does it differ from Notre Dame completion Will happen. .

Clemson’s toughest remaining game at Virginia Tech (78%) is December 5 – and the Hokies just lost to Liberty. They are also the only ACC team remaining on Clemson’s schedule .500. North Dame has arguably the most daunting challenge, with three of its final four matches on the road, including a Friday night game in North Carolina.

Irish coach Brian Kelly is a laydown lay and will immediately stop playoff talk on Saturday.

“We’ve got too much work to do, and look, BC [Boston College] “It’s going to be a challenge for us,” Kelly told reporters after the Irish victory against Kelly. I am ready to play emotionally, to get this football team back. Now we have got a target on our back. There are so many more things on my plate, relative to what I have to do, really concern myself with the playoffs and who isn’t and who isn’t? There are other people who will do this. “

And this may be their hardest decision yet.

Alabama was off to a by-election, with the SEC East stepping into center stage on Saturday, and Florida emerged as their leader with a 44-28 win over No. 5 Georgia. According to ESPN’s FPI, Florida now has an 89% chance of winning the former. So far, the Gators’ final five opponents have a combined record of 9-18, and none of them exceed 500. The Gators have the toughest game remaining, according to FPI, their regular season finale is December 12 against LSU (75.9%). There is no reason to be upset, but if Florida stumbles along the way, it is clearly not ready for the semi-finals.

Florida coach Dan Mullen said he would like to see how good his team can be when he lands. The Gators have been shorthanded for almost every game for various reasons, and on Saturday, tight end Kyle Pitts left the game with an injury.

“Right now we are at the point that we are first in the east at the midway point,” Mullen said. “How far can we go? I don’t know. Hopefully we can get back to work [Sunday] And find a way to defeat Arkansas next week, and if we are worried about anything, but we will continue to enjoy the fantastic things yet this year.

Florida’s 41-38 loss to Texas A&M doesn’t look as bad as it did on October 10. No. The 7 Aggies defeated South Carolina 48–3. What happens if Texas wins A&M – and wins over SEC East Champs – but Alabama wins West?

Now throw Clemson and Notre Dame into the debate, and the committee has a real mess to resolve. Will the committee consider the second best teams in the ACC and SEC better than the Pac-12 champions? An undefeated BYU? Cincinnati?

Strong start for Pac-12

The Pac-12’s top two playoff contenders – No. 12 Oregon and No. 20 USC – won their respective openers, with the conference needing its start, much later. The longer the league’s ranked teams can remain part of playoff negotiations the longer they can last.

While it is still too early to tell if either of the two teams are top-four material, if one emerges as an elite conference champion, it will be considered by the committee for a semifinal spot – a short, seven-game Regardless of schedule.

The question is whether ducks or Trojans can breed well and grow quickly.

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said, “How good can we be? We can be really good.” “We can be an excellent football team. I believe we are going to get there. I believe these guys will wake up and be really eager to get it back.”

As expected, both teams made mistakes in their first games in nearly a year, but USC defied football rules by beating Arizona State 28-27 despite committing four turnovers. It was also a 9pm PT debut for a team that had not played a game in almost a year.

USC coach Clay Helton said he told the team “we all made mistakes,” but here “there were some really cool things too.”

“This team could be really good, and yes, there was too much rust, and we shook it up,” Helton said. “But the thing that makes this team, I think, special is their mindset and how they deal with adversity and playmates.

“And then defensively, if we can end big plays – and a lot of them are coming out of the pocket from quarterbacks – if we can finish them, it’s a chance to be a really good team . ” There is a big obstacle for us today. We knew how big it was, we knew what it meant for the conference and it is huge to get it today. “

With just seven games, how would it be each week in the Pac-12.

Is the Big Ten darker than Ohio State?

Maybe, but not because of Penn State or Michigan.

The Buckeyes’ next two games are against Maryland and Indiana – two teams that have shaken the Big Ten’s balance of power in recent weeks with victories over Penn State and Michigan. Although the Terps and Hoosiers have made significant strides in recent weeks, they are not yet at the elite level of Ohio State as the program continues to develop.

Do they have enough confidence and speed, however, to bother?

The Buckeyes are still in favor of winning each of the remaining games, but who will win the Wild West? If Ohio State believes the Big Ten continues to roll right into the championship game, no one is saying who can face it right now, as Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin are undefeated. Wisconsin has played only one game and the Badgers’ status is uncertain after canceling two games due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the program.

The Badgers have to play each of their five remaining games at Michigan starting Saturday, completing the Big Ten benchmark of six games to qualify for the conference championship game. Purdue has also missed a game since it was supposed to play Wisconsin.

The unprecedented season of the Big Ten continues, with Ohio being the only team after the state script.

Who can crash the party?

According to the Allstate Playoff Predictor, it begins with Cincinnati, which won its 18th straight game on Saturday with a 38–10 win against Houston. If Cincinnati wins (including the AAC championship game), the Bearcats will have a 38% chance of reaching the playoffs, according to the Allstate Playoff Predictor. Heading into the weekend, that was – behind Alaska, Ohio State and Clemson – the fourth-highest chance of reaching the CFP.

The selection committee compares to common opponents, and both Cincinnati and undefeated BYU have now defeated Houston. The Bearcats held Houston to 10 scores and 282 yards; BYU trailed Houston 26–14 in the third quarter to take a 29–26 lead within four minutes before scoring two touchdowns. Houston had a total of 438 yards.

Common rival is only one factor. The strength of the schedule is another, and Cincinnati may gain an edge there. The Biercats have three wins against teams with a record win, while BYU has two out of eight games.

BYU scored a much-needed win against their opponent on Friday with a 51-17 drubbing on Blue Bell of Boise State. The question is whether the Broncos will be considered a top-25 opponent in the eyes of the committee. Cincinnati also has a win against a rival opponent, 24 October at No. 16 SMU. BYU has only two games left – November 21 against North Alabama and December 12 against San Diego State – and both should win. Cincinnati has a more difficult road, having three of the final four matches on the road, and gives ESPN’s FPI Beard a 33.3% chance of winning at UCF only on November 21.

If Cincinnati wins on the outside and finishes as the AAC champion, it is likely to win a ruse debate against independent BYU. While both have a chance to earn a spot in the New Year’s Six bowls, Cincinnati appears to be a more favorable position to make a push for more.

The ACC and SEC would have made it more difficult on Saturday.

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