Five Thoughts: 1. Which One-Loss Teams Are Fine & Which Aren't?

Five Thoughts: 1. Which One-Loss Teams Are Fine & Which Aren't?

Week 7

Five Thoughts: 1. Which One-Loss Teams Are Fine & Which Aren't?

Five Thoughts: 1. Which One-Loss Teams Are Fine & Which Aren’t?


After an insane week with some big, giant upsets, which one-loss teams are still okay and which ones are in big trouble?



5 Thoughts After Week 7

Week 7 Roundup: Rankings, Bowl Projections, Analysis
1. Which One-Loss Teams Are Fine & Which Aren’t?
2. College Football Playoff Wild Card – Notre Dame
3. What If Alabama & Georgia Go 12-0?
4. Five Big Teams Who Might Not Go Bowling
5. Boise State’s Power Move Over San Diego State

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It’s okay. Everything’s going to be fine.

Unless you’re San Diego State or Navy, because they’re Group of Fivers. When it comes to the College Football Playoff chase for them, lose once, and thanks for playing.

But for Clemson, and Washington, and Washington State, and Ohio State, and USC, and everyone else with one loss, you’re fine. You just lost your buffer.

By now we know the rules – at least if the first three College Football Playoffs can be used as a precedent. Win your Power Five conference championship, and do it with no more than one loss, and you’re going to get into the CFP.

Two losses – forget about it. At least so far.

So that’s why it’s okay that Oklahoma lost to Iowa State two weeks ago, and Ohio State lost to Oklahoma, Virginia Tech lost to Clemson, and on and on and on. But now they know there’s no margin for error anymore.

Stanford, you might be hot, and it’s been real, but after losing to USC and San Diego State early on, good luck in your New Year’s Six bowl game if you finish perfect.

So who – out of the 11 one-loss Power Five conference teams and Notre Dame – is okay, and who’s in big, big trouble? Who could win out, and who won’t?

More to the point, which one-loss teams have a reasonable shot of getting into the CFP?

Here you go.

Okay: Clemson. That was an aberration against Syracuse. The defense is still great, the O fantastic, and it was a blip. It happened last year against Pitt.

Not Okay: Michigan State. Yeah, yeah, talk all you want about the Spartans being back to 2015 form, but the O is just okay, and Penn State and at Ohio State are still on the horizon. Get past all of that, and Wisconsin is waiting for Sparty in Indy.

Okay: Ohio State. The schedule hasn’t been great since the Oklahoma loss, but the team appears to have figured it out on both sides of the ball. There will be two weeks off before hosting Penn State – the Nittany Lions deal with Michigan next week.

Forget what happened to Michigan last year and Penn State a few weeks ago, going to Iowa won’t be an issue. The Michigan State game is in Columbus – again, this isn’t 2015 – and later it’s the showdown against Michigan on November 25th. It’s Jim Harbaugh in a big game – enjoy the Big Ten Championship vs. Wisconsin, Buckeyes.

Not Okay: Michigan. I’ve tried to make excuses for this team and its marvelous defense, but there’s no getting past the passing game. At Penn State, at Wisconsin, Ohio State – and then if everything goes perfectly – Wisconsin again. Nope.

Okay: Oklahoma. It’s not like the Sooners haven’t run the Big 12 table before – they’ve done it over the last two conference seasons. As long as there isn’t a slip, beat Oklahoma State in Stillwater, take care of TCU at home, get to the Big 12 Championship at 11-1, and then roll the dice.

Not Okay: Oklahoma State. The TCU game is out of the way, but try this for a four game run: at Texas, at West Virginia, Oklahoma, at a suddenly red-hot Iowa State. And then Kansas State. This is a good Cowboy team, but it’s not strong enough to get through that.

Okay: Washington. Arizona State was outstanding, but that game was maddening from start to finish. Washington is just plain better, but it couldn’t stop being bad – that was one frustrated team.

Four of the final five games are at home, including UCLA, Oregon and Utah. The one road date is at Stanford, but the Huskies have to beat someone with a pulse at some point. And then it has to take down …

Not Okay: Washington State. It’s a Mike Leach-coached team. You know how this goes. If the Cougars don’t lose at Arizona, they’re going to lose to Stanford, or at Utah, or at Washington, or in all four games. They could lose to Colorado on Saturday.

Okay: USC. The Trojans have been playing like they’re begging to get whacked, but if they beat the Irish in South Bend, the rest of the slate isn’t that bad except for the road trip to Arizona State.

Not Okay: Notre Dame. This team might be special, but even if it beats USC this week, then it gets NC State. Then there’s a dangerous Wake Forest team to deal with. Win that, and then it’s on to Miami. Win that, and then deal with the Navy option. And then, if the Irish are somehow 10-1, to get to the CFP they have to finish it off with a win at Stanford.

Okay: Virginia Tech. There’s a dangerous stretch of three road games in the final four weeks, having to go away to face Miami, Georgia Tech and Virginia. After two weeks off to rest up, and with two tune-ups against North Carolina and Duke at home, the Hokies should be humming going into November. And now, all of a sudden, whatever comes out of the Atlantic in the ACC Championship doesn’t seem so scary.

Not Okay: NC State. This is just an okay team living off a win over an overrated and overloved Louisville, but it still has a strong veteran quarterback in Ryan Finley along with a terrific defense.

But there’s the schedule: at Notre Dame, Clemson, at Boston College, at Wake Forest, and North Carolina.

The best guess on who’ll come out of all this alive? Clemson and Ohio State.

Week 7 Roundup: Rankings, Bowl Projections, Analysis
1. Which One-Loss Teams Are Fine & Which Aren’t?
2. College Football Playoff Wild Card – Notre Dame
3. What If Alabama & Georgia Go 12-0?
4. Five Big Teams Who Might Not Go Bowling
5. Boise State’s Power Move Over San Diego State

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