BOZICH | My Top 20/Bottom 5 as College Football Playoff debate gets really shrill
Alabama is essentially a lock for the college football playoff. But at least five other teams, including Louisville, are scrambling for the three remaining spots.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — If you thought the screaming was non-stop last week, it’s going to be inescapable this week.
Hey, this is a sports column. I’m keeping this to football, college football to be specific.
The yelling, politicking and overall protesting will continue for three more weeks until the four teams are picked for the third College Football Playoff.
But on a weekend where three of the top four teams lost, five fan bases, including Louisville, are about to become hyper-actively territorial over three positions.
I checked my most trusted computer formula for its updated numbers. Jeff Sagarin's power rankings argue that Bobby Petrino, Lamar Jackson and friends should be fine.
His predictor formula has it this way Sunday morning: 1. Alabama; 2. Ohio State; 3. Michigan; 4. Louisville; 5. Clemson; 6. Washington.
Alabama on top is the only sure thing because other than Western Michigan, the Crimson Tide are the only unbeaten.
Ohio State looks OK at No. 2 — until you realize that if the Buckeyes beat Michigan Nov. 26, they’ll likely lose their spot in the Big Ten title game to Penn State because of an October loss in Happy Valley. Each is likely to have one league loss — and Penn State beat the Buckeyes, 24-21.
Now it gets interesting.
Louisville has the best quality loss (Clemson), but only one Top 25 win (over Florida State). The Cards have Houston Thursday. Maybe the Cougars (8-2) return to the playoff Top 25 this week, but I wouldn’t count on it. Strength of schedule remains an issue here.
Clemson has three Top 25 wins, also beating Florida State (tight, but on the road), Auburn (tight, but on the road) and Louisville (tight, but at home). But on Saturday the Tigers fell to a four-loss Pitt squad that lost to Miami (Fla.) by 23 one week earlier.
Michigan has three wins over Top 12 playoff teams, beating Colorado, Wisconsin and Penn State, all at home. But the Wolverines just lost to four-loss Iowa, which could not beat FCS power North Dakota State in Iowa City.
Washington has a single quality win over Utah and a haunting home loss to USC, ranked 22, Saturday. Still, I keep reading that the Huskies can overcome that loss by winning out and claiming the Pac-12 title.
You are encouraged to share your top six. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is mine.
1.Alabama (10-0) — Chattanooga (this week’s opponent) will put up more resistance than Mississippi State.
2. Ohio State (9-1) — The Buckeyes celebrated Michigan’s loss to Iowa — until they realized what it really meant.
3. Louisville (9-1) — Sorry, Dabo, but losing to Clemson on the road does not crinkle as many noses as losing to Pittsburgh at home. Tie goes to Louisville on the basis of Better Loss. Won't serious football people want the likely Heisman Trophy winner (Jackson) in the playoff?
4. Michigan (9-1) — Iowa was the first time the Wolverines were asked to play a reasonably skilled team on the road — and it didn’t end well. They are still OK if they win out.
5. Clemson (9-1) — Is it OK if I say the Tigers were spotted Clemson-ing again Saturday? The Tigers do have the upper hand in the ACC Atlantic.
6. Washington (9-1) — Only because even I can’t justify putting three Big Ten teams in the Top 6.
7. Wisconsin (8-2) — But I can justify putting three in the Top 7. Ask LSU.
8. Washington State (8-2) — In case you haven’t noticed, the Cougars are the only remaining unbeaten in Pac 12 play and can win the league by beating Washington, a game booked for Pullman, not Seattle.
9. Oklahoma (8-2) — Some say the Sooners could sneak into the playoff. Don’t see it, but, of course, I didn’t see three of the top four losing Saturday.
10. Colorado (8-2) — Beat Washington State. Beat Utah. You win the Pac-12 East. Or South. Or whatever they call it.
11. Penn State (8-2) — I realize the committee will have the Nittany Lions higher. But Indiana lost five fumbles and Penn State still couldn’t put the Hoosiers away until the final three minutes.
12. West Virginia (8-1) — Burning coach alert: The Mountaineers host Oklahoma in a massive game (for the Big 12) Saturday.
13. Western Michigan (10-0) — I could make a stronger argument for the Broncos if their finest non-league win was better than Northwestern.
14. Does it really matter?
15. Jeff Brohm (8-3) — Another 8-win season. Another 40-point performance. Another reason to believe a Power 5 school is certain to make a hefty offer to recruit Brohm from Bowling Green.
16. Georgia (6-4) — Finally, a SEC East team other than Kentucky showed it could beat somebody in the West.
17. Iowa State (2-8) — On the brink of losing to Kansas, the Cyclones left that embarrassing moment to somebody else.
18. Willie Taggart (8-2) — His USF team has won eight games and his quarterback Quinton Flowers is the best player people should be giving more love.
19. Michigan State (3-7) — Not only did the Spartans end their seven-game losing streak, they beat Rutgers the way you’re supposed to beat Rutgers, 49-0.
20. Miami (Ohio) — From 0-6 to 5-6, the Redhawks are finally making Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, John Harbaugh and Tom Lane proud again.
5. Pac 12 — You missed the playoffs last season. You’re going to need help not to miss them again this season. And Oregon really stinks.
4. Big 12 — Oklahoma-West Virginia should be a big deal, but you’re going to have to convince the committee the winner deserves a spot in the playoff discussion. Go.
3. ACC Coastal— Virginia Tech and North Carolina had chances to take control of the division race. Whiff. Whiff.
2. College Football Playoff Committee — You overrated Texas A&M at 4 in Week One and the Aggies lost to Mississippi State. You overrated them again at 8 in Week Two and they lost to Ole Miss. Do better, folks.
1. ACC officials — Am I the only one who lost count of how many calls they missed and how many flags they picked up at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium Saturday night? Do a lot better, folks.
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