As we head into week 10, a lot of questions remain as to which four teams will be in the inaugural college football playoff. Ole Miss’s loss to LSU opened the door for the rest of the SEC West, and Alabama is the team that looks poised to burst through it. With home dates remaining with Mississippi State and Auburn, the only potential extra help the Tide will need to push their way into the SEC Championship game is another Ole Miss defeat. This loss could come this Saturday in the form of Alabama’s rival Auburn, who march into Oxford off a riveting 7-point victory over frisky South Carolina. Even if the Tigers fall, however, Alabama should be able to find their way to the title game if they win out, which I suspect they will.
Alabama’s likely opponent in the SEC Championship appears to be Georgia, whose SEC slate looks rather… non-SEC like. With how poor Cole Stoudt has looked for Clemson as of late, the only teams of note that Georgia has played have been South Carolina… which, as we all know, they didn’t even win, and Missouri, who lost at home to Indiana. It’s hard to know just how good the Bulldogs are at this juncture. If Georgia defeats Auburn on November 15th, they’ll have likely punched their ticket to the SEC title game. I don’t see how any of this qualifies the boys from Athens for the playoffs, but a potential victory over Alabama or Mississippi State in that final game would certainly do the trick. Las Vegas book CG Technology currently lists the Dawgs as the national championship favorite at 5-1. I can’t disagree with this simply due to the relative ease of their regular season schedule and the fact that the SEC Championship is a virtual home game for them. Everything has lined up in their favor, but Georgia has been in this spot before and failed. We’ll see if they can get it done this time.
Florida State marches on undefeated, but faces its toughest test of the season in the form of a road game against Louisville tonight. The Seminoles are only laying 3.5 points in this game, down heavily from the opener of 8.5. Many professional bettors believe Louisville will win, and with good reason. The Cardinals have playmakers on both sides of the ball and a great coach in Bobby Petrino. I just don’t see how anyone can play against Florida State with such a small spread. Their current 23-game winning streak speaks volumes about Jameis Winston as a player and the team as a whole. Even if they fall tonight, however, their path to the playoff will remain clear as long as they win out from there. FSU is still a virtual lock to be in the final four.
The Big Ten duo of Ohio State and Michigan State has nary a true playoff contender between them. Neither team deserves to be in the end-of-season battle for the crown, but if one of them makes it through the rest of the season unscathed, I suspect they will. Between the SEC contenders, Oregon, and Florida State, whoever the Big Ten representative would potentially face in the semifinals would certainly have no trouble dispatching of them. Another irrelevant year for a down conference.
If the Big 12 finds a qualified champion in the form of TCU or Baylor, however, they could pose some problems for a number of teams. These offense-heavy juggernauts can put points on the board and pressure on the defense. Neither of them is among the four best teams in the country, but either of them could manage to steal a win in a playoff scenario. Either way, these teams would at least be an exciting choice for one of the lower playoff berths.
As far as the Pac-12 goes, Oregon is the only real contender of note. They have a rough game this weekend against Stanford, but I believe they’ll be able to finish out their schedule undefeated the rest of the way and find a playoff seed waiting for them.
Small card so far this week. Good luck.
305 Florida State -3.5 / -3-120 (MGM/Coast)
313 Boston College +3.5 (MGM)
335 Northwestern +5 (CGT)
359 Florida +13 (Stations)
Season to Date:
NCAA FB: 37-33