CFB Playoff: Teams on the outside looking in, who realistically shouldn’t be in the conversation, but are

CC by 2.0; John Martinez Pavliga via Flickr

CC by 2.0; John Martinez Pavliga via Flickr

[Spoiler alert]: Loo roll and teacakes should be soft, not your schedule.

The playoff committee released their latest rankings Tuesday gone with Mississippi State maintaining their spot atop the list.

Rounding out the top four were Oregon (9-1), Florida State (9-0), and TCU (8-1).

A host of 8-1 teams including Alabama, Arizona State, Baylor, and Ohio State lurk at the heels of current playoff bound teams and Nebraska and Duke are two lowly 8-1 teams at 16 and 21, respectively.

The doubt hanging over the B1G continues: Two-loss Michigan State are effectively eliminated from contention after losing 49-37 to Ohio State. The only way they might see a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel is if they win out and Game of Thrones carnage ensues ahead of them. The perfect storm… But an overall weak conference likely dooms Sparty.

Ohio State’s band are currently the only thing that should be bound for a title, as, “best band in the country: for all eternity”. The home-loss to Virginia Tech would be perfectly fine had Tech continued to play at the level that dismantled the Buckeyes in the Horseshoe, but the Hokies are just 2-5 since the leaves turned, including three-straight loses. Sorry Ohio State. Beating up on the likes of Navy and Kent State and wins over your final three opponents who have a combined .500 record can’t possibly be enough. If you get in, we riot.

That goes for you too, Baylor. The credible win against Oklahoma looks good on paper, but they’ve lost to all three ranked opponents on their schedule and haven’t won back-to-back games since starting 4-0. Likewise, wins against SMU, Northwestern State, and Buffalo aren’t aesthetically pleasing. The one smudge on the books against West Virginia improves street cred, but they too have slipped up, going 1-2. That season finale against Kansas State is going to be fireworks, but with no Big 12 Championship game it’ll be tough sailing into a playoff spot.

It’s obvious the committee holds the out of conference in high regard. It’s why analysts continue to say K-State’s near loss to Auburn checks out okay against blowouts of cream-puffs. Sure SEC and Pac-12 teams do the same, but on paper, their conference play balances it out.

Potential ins if Europe lands another robot on a comet: Arizona State was impressive against Notre Dame and if they can navigate their final three games closing out against ranked in-state rival Arizona, they stand a chance as a PAC-12 Championship likely goes through Oregon. Whilst the Sun Devils were outgained by 75 yards, their defence forced four Everett Golson interceptions.

Alabama’s body of work is getting no love, but surely a statement win against Miss State will catapult them into the top four, coupled with their win at Death Valley last weekend as wins/loses against LSU hold inherent weight.

Saturday will resolve a number of the above concerns. It will be interesting to see how Mississippi State handles Amari Cooper — hopefully not in single coverage — and how Auburn responds to the Texas A&M loss. If Minnesota and Wisconsin pull upsets, that’s two birds with one stone.

To watch: Mississippi State vs. Alabama; Florida State vs. Miami; Auburn vs. Georgia; Ohio State vs. Minnesota; Nebraska vs. Wisconsin.

My say: Mississippi State, Florida State, Oregon, Alabama. I also stand with those who say a 2-loss SEC team will get into the playoff.


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