The unbeaten College Football Playoff contenders
Going unbeaten with a Power Five championship will all but guarantee an invite into the College Football Playoff.
Will it happen? Yes. The Crimson Tide can afford a loss long the way and still be just fine. If it gets to the SEC Championship unbeaten and loses, it’ll still be in.
Will it happen? No. It was a great debut for Karl Dorrell against UCLA, but three of the next four games are on the road including dates at Stanford and USC.
Will it happen? No, but who thought IU would beat both Penn State and Michigan in the same season? At Michigan State, at Ohio State, at Ohio State, and home games against Maryland and Purdue … so no.
Will it happen? It’s not crazy. The Wisconsin game is at home – if it can even play – and that’s about it. Northwestern can absolutely lose on the road to Purdue, Michigan State and/or Minnesota, but this is probably your leader in the Big Ten West race until we know more about the Badgers.
Notre Dame (7-0)
Will it happen? Win out, and the Irish are in – duh. However, to get into the College Football Playoff, they can’t lose two games against Boston College, North Carolina and Wake Forest on the road – we’ll blow off the Syracuse game at home – and then Clemson (most likely) in the ACC Championship.
Ohio State (3-0)
Will it happen? Yeah, and easily. The Indiana game is at home, and Michigan is no big deal now, so get by Maryland on the road – as crazy as that sounds – and it’s smooth sailing.
Will it happen? The Ducks should get close. The Washington game is at home and the date with Cal is on the road, but there shouldn’t be a problem with anyone else. Go 6-0, win the Pac-12 championship, and it gets interesting.
Will it happen? The Boilermakers got to miss Wisconsin, and the rest of the schedule really isn’t all that bad. Beat Northwestern, and then it’s on to Minnesota with a chances to be deep in the hunt for the Big Ten West.
Will it happen? Will the team play better than it did against Arizona State? The date at Utah in a few weeks will be the concern, but everything else should be a walk in the park. Like Oregon, get to 6-0, go to the Pac-12 championship, and there’s a shot.
Washington State (1-0)
Will it happen? If it’s not over against Oregon, then it will be against Stanford or USC on the road, or at home against Washington or Cal.
Will it happen? It’s close to technically being over. If Wisconsin can’t go again in any more games, it’s out of the Big Ten Championship contention. Even if that happens it can get into the CFP on a four-best team theory, but that’s a long shot. On the field, if it can get back, it has trips to Michigan, Northwestern, and Iowa, and home dates against Minnesota and Indiana.