Midway through the CFP season it’s time to take a look at some contenders right now who may not be in contention come December. As some drop, some rise and it’s time to look at five teams who have a shot at the CFP based on teams in front of them, conference, and schedule remaining. Also, below will be predictions of the playoff and the final top 10 based on team and schedule.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish: The Irish got blasted last year by Clemson 31-3 in the Cotton Bowl. Many think the Irish can’t compete with the elite yet they showed that they could losing a hard fought game 23-17 to the number 3 team in the nation Georgia. The Irish need to win out and need SEC teams to start beating each other to even have a shot to sneak in. The Irish sit at number 9 right now and a few wins could bump them up but I’m not so sure about them making the top 4. A big win against Michigan will go a long way in bumping them up but as of right now that is the last ranked team Notre Dame plays and Michigan has been very streaky and weak against ranked opponents.
Remaining Schedule: USC, #16 MICH, VT, DUKE, NAVY, BC, STANFORD
Prediction: Notre Dame ends up #6 in the nation and does not end up making the CFP due to their lack of ranked opponents on their schedule. If not for that Georgia loss, Notre Dame would probably have the easiest road to the CFP.
LSU Tigers: The Tigers have been one of the shocking teams at the start of this season. Sitting pretty at 5-0 and #6 in the nation, they could keep up this way and slip in and represent the SEC. However, they play Florida today, then eventually Auburn, and lastly, eventually have to play Alabama, all of which are ranked teams. So, I highly doubt LSU wins out here despite a very strong start.
Remaining Schedule: #7 FLA, MS State, #12 AUB, #1 BAMA, OLE MS, ARK, #24 TEX A&M
Prediction: LSU loses to Auburn and BAMA which will send them down in the rankings and kick them out of contention for the CFP. LSU is a very strong team but they just don’t have the talent to keep up with Florida, Auburn, and Alabama pretty much in a row. LSU will finish #10 in the nation and will get a New Years Bowl game.
Florida Gators: Florida looks like the Gators of old as they sit very pretty at #7 and putting themselves in prime position for a New Years Bowl game or even a date with the CFP. Yet, once again an SEC team comes into play here as this conference is the toughest in the NCAA.
Remaining Schedule: #5 LSU, SC, #3 UGA, VANDY, MIZZOU, FSU
Prediction: Florida takes LSU to its limit but falters and bumps down and then takes another loss to Georgia who I believe will wind up in the playoff despite their schedule. The Gators will end up sitting at #14 when all said and done and gets set for a decent bowl game.
Ohio State Buckeyes: Playing in the Big 10, the Buckeyes always have their work cut out for them. They always seem to start off strong but always end up faltering in the end and their schedule sets them up for faltering once again this season. They’ve destroyed the unranked but their next games are mostly ranked conference teams.
Remaining Schedule: Northwestern, #8 WISC, MARYLAND, RUTGERS, #10 PENN ST, #16 MICH
Prediction: Ohio State’s conference catches up to them and they get beat. The Big 10 is always a tough conference and that is shown again with 5 teams including Ohio State in the top 20. The Buckeyes I believe will end up at # 11 this year and end up with a New Years Bowl Game despite playing tough opponents.
Wisconsin Badgers: Now finally, one team I believe will shock everyone, win out and end up in the CFP. The Badgers have looked unstoppable this season even though Northwestern gave them a run for their money. They will best the behemoth in OSU and make their way into the CFP because the teams there right now will play each other eventually.
Remaining Schedule: IL, #3 OSU, #17 IOWA, NEB, PUR, MIN
Prediction: The Badgers will be the #4 team in the CFP and shock everyone. Their offense has been great and momentum will continue this way. They have no pressure unlike some of the other teams on this list so they could slide in.
CFP Prediction: #1 Alabama #2 Clemson #3 Georgia #4 Wisconsin
#1 Alabama beats #4 Wisconsin 42-10
#2 Clemson beats # 3 Georgia 27-21
#1 Alabama beats #2 Clemson 31-17
Analysis: Tua has just looked too good this season and Alabama has the number one receiver in the nation along with the number one coach so that leads to success. Alabama had a fluke game last year and they have been on a mission to rectify that and just like last year where nobody stops Clemson, nobody will stop Alabama on their way to a CFP championship.
Final Top 10: #1 Alabama #2 Clemson #3 Georgia #4 Wisconsin #5 Oklahoma #6 Notre Dame #7 Penn State #8 Texas #9 Oregon #10 LSU