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Week 12 Preview

by Big Al

It is the penultimate weekend of the regular season. There is still hope in the air for many teams. And for many others, there is still hope to wreck someone else's season. It's a fun game, isn't it?

Michigan State at Ohio State

The winner here has a chance to go into next weekend with a chance to win the Big Ten East. Michigan is rooting for Ohio State, because that would give them a chance to take the division. Divisional races make strange bedfellows. Anyway, I'm an Ohio State fan, but I'm a pessimistic Ohio State fan, and their defense gives me the jibblies. I'll go with Michigan State just because I'm a pessimist.

Arkansas at Alabama

Wait, how did Alabama end up not playing a Div. II school the week before Auburn? The annual SEC bye week is as sacrosanct as pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. Anyway, Alabama.

UCLA at USC

The annual, epic battle of Los Angeles between, let's see, a 6-4 UCLA and a 4-5 USC. Huh. Oh, how about UCLA because they have some idea that their coach may be back next year.

Oregon at Utah

Very quietly, this is a huge game in the Pac-12, because, um, it might get played again in two weeks? But with an actual championship on the line.

Anyway, an Oregon win here would solidify them in the CFP rankings. A Utah win would put them in the argument. Utah wouldn't win the argumment, but they would be in it. Anyway, Oregon is playing for the CFP, while Utah is playing for the Pac-12. I wrote that last sentence and it really made me want to pick Utah. But I've fallen for that feeling before. Oregon wins.

Virginia Tech at Miami

What's the difference between Virginia Tech and Miami? Virginia Tech already fired their coach.

This is another used-to-be-huge game for Miami. They fought some serious battles, oh, 20 years ago. I wonder if it's still a rivalry to these two teams? Well, I'll go with Virginia Tech to win one for their old coach.

Brief Summary of the CFP Rankings

So, where are we at with all these teams? Let's take a look at some of the options.

  1. San Diego State, UTSA - Let's stay serious here.
  2. Georgia - They are in. This isn't earth-shaking. We all know this.
  3. Alabama - Yes, even if it's a two-loss Alabama. In fact, they could lose to Arkansas or Auburn, and lose to Georgia in the SEC championship, they would still get in with 3 losses. And yes, I'm being serious. The playoff committee has already decided on Alabama, and nothing is changing their minds. The only way Alabama doesn't get in is if they lose to Arkansas, Auburn, and Georgia. And that would require darn near every other team in the SEC West to lose a game in the next two weeks, including Auburn and Arkansas. The Tide is in the playoffs.
  4. Oregon - They need to win out. Do that, they are in. Lose, they are out.
  5. Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan - If one of these teams wins out (including the B1G title game) they are in. No question. However, a two-loss Big Ten champion does not get in.
  6. Cincinnati - Never going to happen. #5 is as high as they are going to get. Though they will be dropped to #6 or lower if they win out, just to make sure that nobody thinks they really had a chance.
  7. Notre Dame - They need Oregon to lose. Then they are in.
  8. Wake Forest - They are only in if the committee can't find another viable 1-loss team from a major conference. They only get in ahead of Cincinnati.
  9. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor - The Big XII champion only gets in with one loss and no better options. Oklahoma is a better option than Utah or Wake Forest. The other two are a coin flip with Utah, but they would get in ahead of Wake.
  10. Utah - I'm not liking their chances, but if they can win out (with two wins over Oregon), they look pretty good. But they are still behind Notre Dame and Oklahoma. They at least control whether Oregon stays in the top 4. But they need a lot of chaos above them to slide in there.

Columns

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Bowl Preview, Part I

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