Weren’t the College Football Playoffs supposed to remove the bickering and complaining about who played in the National Championship? I’m just checking because, so far, the rankings have caused more than a few uproars around the college football scene. Of course, if you’re ESPN (who for some reason needs to run a weekly show for these rankings), discourse is the straw that stirs your ratings drink.
After another crazy week of college action, some teams played their way out of the conversation (and one caught some very bad luck) but the playoff picture is still unclear at best. For some reason, ESPN has two one-loss teams in its current Final Four. So in an effort to help decipher what is real, and what is just a ratings grab, we set odds that each team would be a part of the final four come January. You’re welcome!
Odds each team makes the Playoffs:
1. Clemson (9-0): 1/12
- The ACC sucks, and Clemson already overcame its biggest challenges of the year by beating Notre Dame and Florida St. It would take a huge upset down the stretch for this team not to be in the Final Four.
2. Alabama (8-1): 1/1
- I didn’t understand how ‘Bama was ranked so high last week, and even with a big win over LSU, it still seems unfair that they’re this high. After all, that loss to Ole Miss is looking worse by the week. Still, the Tide will have earned a spot if they navigate a tough finishing stretch, including a likely championship game against Florida.
3. Ohio State (8-0): 5/3
- At the top of the polls for the entire season, the Buckeyes haven’t been nearly as dominant as people thought they would be. Ohio St. will get a chance to prove they are top dogs though, playing Michigan and Michigan St. down the stretch. A loss in either would cost them dearly.
4. Notre Dame (8-1): 3/1
- The Fighting Irish have had a strong year: their only loss came in a tight game on the road at the hands of the current number one team. Still, a one-loss team is not as good as an undefeated Big 12 team. So the Irish shouldn’t get cozy; if Baylor or Oklahoma St. goes undefeated, they’ll be the first team to get booted.
5. Iowa (9-0): 7/1
- Despite being one of the few undefeated teams left in college ball, Iowa isn’t getting a ton of respect, simply because they don’t have any great wins. Northwestern and Wisconsin were their only noteworthy Ws as of this weekend. That would all change if they upset Ohio St. in the championship game. But even if they do that, they may still need a few things to break their way in order to make it.
6. Baylor (8-0): 4/1
- All year, we eyed that Baylor/TCU game as a “winner makes the playoffs” affair. But now, with the emergence of Oklahoma St. and Oklahoma, Baylor has the toughest closing schedule of anyone on the list. Without a championship game, the only way Baylor makes it is if they win out.
7. Stanford (8-1): 8/1
- The top contender in the Pac 12, Stanford has won eight straight since a Week 1 setback at the hands of Northwestern. But they still have a meeting with Notre Dame that will go a long way in determining their legitimacy. A win, and losses by some of the teams ahead of them, are musts.
8. Oklahoma State (9-0): 5/1
- Another team that figures to control its own destiny, the Cowboys big win over TCU sets them up nicely down the stretch. Wins over Oklahoma and Baylor would guarantee they finish first in the Big 12, something we thought would be a guaranteed playoff spot. But it’s possible all these teams at the top deal each other a loss and the Big 12 gets shutout of the postseason for a second year in a row.
9. LSU (7-1): 14/1
- The Tigers blew a golden opportunity against Alabama and now they’ll need help if Leonard Fournette wants to play on college football’s biggest stage. The only way they can play in the SEC Championship is if Bama loses again. Without the SEC title in their back pocket, there is no way they’re in the final four.
10. Utah (8-1): 16/1
- The Pac-12 isn’t a super impressive conference this year, so for Utah to come out of there with one loss is not, in and of itself, playoff-worthy. They fall into the “need lots of help category.”
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