The 2016 College Football season is entering week 8. Eleven undefeated teams remain. We ranked them in tiers, according to their playoff prospects.
These teams are good bets to win out. If they win out, they will surely be playoff teams.
Alabama Crimson Tide: Four out of the last seven national titles gives teams the benefit of the doubt. Alabama’s demolition of Tennessee left little doubt. Top-tier offense. Top-tier defense. Top-tier Beamer-Balling Special Teams. A developing, dynamic dual-threat at quarterback. This may be Nick Saban’s best Alabama team.
Ohio State Buckeyes: Ohio State lost a ton of talent to the NFL, and has had little trouble replacing it thus far. They survived a tough challenge on the road at Wisconsin last week. Two Top 10 opponents left. But, the Buckeyes get both of them at home in November.
Michigan Wolverines: The Wolverines have not faced the toughest schedule so far. But, it seems clear they have an elite defense. It may be the nation’s best, statistically. It may be Michigan’s best since the undefeated 1997 team. In B1G play, Michigan has not allowed a point in the first half and has stopped 38/44 third down attempts. Do they have the QB play they will need to beat Ohio State on the road?
Washington Huskies: Chris Petersen is still one of the best. Washington has a potent, balanced offense and great defense. They crushed Stanford 44-6. They dropped 70 on Oregon in Autzen. Utah may be the only Top 25 team Washington faces the rest of the way.
Clemson Tigers: Clemson has an unexpectedly sloppy offense capable of a turnover apocalypse and a dominating defense that can allow them to withstand that and win. It’s hard to see them losing if they get past Florida State. Even if they don’t, the Louisville win still puts Clemson in the ACC driver’s seat and lines up a probable playoff bid.
Plausible But We’re Skeptical
It’s hard to see these teams finishing out undefeated, but if they do they are playoff teams.
Texas A&M Aggies: They’re undefeated. They’re SEC. The Swag Copter is back off the ground. Oddsmakers have them as a 17-point underdog heading to Tuscaloosa. Pull off that upset and we’ll talk.
Nebraska Cornhuskers: Not plagued by the horrible fortune they had last season. The Huskers haven’t played anyone and haven’t really distanced themselves from the teams they have played. They still face Wisconsin and Ohio State on the road.
Baylor Bears: Baylor has a backloaded schedule again. Their only real game thus far has been an okay Oklahoma State at home. The Bears almost lost a shootout to Iowa State, who scored six points last week against Texas. Baylor’s offense has taken a step back, from great to good. We’ll see how that hurts them over the rougher portion of the schedule.
West Virginia Mountaineers: The Mountaineers looked much better coming off the bye week, dropping Texas Tech by 31 points in Lubbock and holding their offense to just 17. This is also a team that needed a double-digit fourth-quarter comeback against Kansas State at home. Balanced offense and good defense is a combination that works well on paper in the Big 12. Can they do it week to week?
This Playoff Selection Is Rigged
These are not Power 5 teams. They may go undefeated. It’s hard to come up with a scenario where they make the playoff.
Boise State Broncos: Boise State has the pedigree. They have what may turn out to be a quality win over Washington State. The rub is they have what look like three sort of hard games remaining: BYU and road trips to Wyoming and to Air Force. They could drop any of those three. No one will credit them for winning any of them. We’d need multiple two-loss Power 5 champs for this to be a discussion.
Western Michigan Broncos: Row the Boat. The Broncos are 7-0. They beat two Big Ten teams. Their two toughest games left are Toledo and Eastern Michigan, both at home. 12-0 is a definite possibility. But, they’ve played the 93rd toughest schedule so far. That will get watered down further. It’s not even worth conceiving the carnage at the top it would take for Western Michigan to get serious consideration for the playoff.