We were heading into the stretch run of the 2015 College Football Season. Teams are starting to make a vigorous pushes to the College Football Playoff Committee to prove that they belong in one of the top four spots for the playoffs. There have been some Topsy-turvy debates by national analysts on which four teams should occupy those spots. Some are going off of style points; some are going off of a team’s style of play, and some going off of the quality of the competition the team has faced or the conference.
There will also be debates over which teams that’s in the playoffs doesn’t deserve to be there, and which teams that got left out in the cold should be there. As we all know, anything can happen in the midst of a college football season. Teams who begin hot can become cold and teams who begin cold can become hot.
The next four weeks will be a strong test for the Top 10 ranked teams in college football. They play huge games against conference rivals in the middle and the end of the regular season. And, every game will be a battle from kickoff to the final seconds ticking on the 4th Quarter clock. One lost to one of these rivals could knock them out of playoff contention and catapult their rivals to one of the four spots. Here’s a breakdown of things that can put these teams into the four playoff spots, and the things or teams that can keep them out of the four spots.
- Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0) (3-0 Big Ten)
The defending national champions are unbeaten, but during this season they haven’t played to their potential. The quarterback-by-committee of Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett has hindered this team most of the season. Now, head coach Urban Meyer has named Barrett the starting quarterback. The offense will definitely improve with Barrett under center. The Buckeyes have a chance of repeating as national champs. They have an athletic and speedy defense lead by defensive end Joey Bosa, and the power running game of Ezekiel Elliot, a Heisman candidate, who has been on a tear with 988 yds. and 11 TDs. But, Ohio State needs to sure up they’re run defense as they’ve allowed various 100-yard rushers, and quarterbacks gaining big yards on the ground during this season. The Buckeyes schedule gets tough as the regular season ends in Michigan…twice: Michigan State and Michigan. Michigan State is a huge threat to the Buckeyes on the road to repeat. Michigan will want revenge on Ohio State for dominating them over the years. The schools up North wouldn’t like more than to defeat the national champs and augment their resumes.
- Baylor Tigers (7-0) (3-0 Big 12)
The Tigers are currently college football’s version of “The Greatest Show on Turf” similar to last year’s Oregon Ducks. They outscore opposing teams by an average of 40 points per game. Quarterback Seth Russell has been lights out with 1907 yds., 27 TDs and only 5 INTs. Baylor has a great chance to finish the season undefeated; the only problem is they haven’t played any real competition. Yes, the Baylor Tigers have been dominating but they have dominated in a weak conference. Also, there isn’t a Big 12 Championship Game at the end of the season, so this will hurt Baylor’s chances of earning one of the top four spots.
3. Clemson Tigers (7-0) (3-0 ACC)
Clemson is flying under the radar this season at 6-0. They had a quality win earlier this season against Notre Dame, 24-22. Quarterback Deshaun Watson is having a solid year with 1423 yds., 14 TDs but 7 INTs. The best wide receiver he has is Artavis Scott, who has 443 yds. and 4 TDs. The Tigers also have a great defense that’s 10th overall in the nation. But, their game at home against Florida State on November 7 may play a factor in whether Clemson earns a playoff spot or not.
4. LSU Tigers (7-0) (3-0 SEC)
LSU is trying to make a strong message to the SEC that they are back as contenders. And, the Tigers are doing just that as they currently sit at 6-0 overall. They are doing behind the legs of their running back Leonard Fournette, who has rushed for 1202 yds. and 14 TDs this season. Also, sophomore quarterback Brandon Harris is having a solid year with 812 yds., 6 TDs and no interceptions. They also have a pretty solid defense as they’re ranked 9th in the country against the run, but they’ve been hurt in the air as they’re ranked 43rd against the pass. They will be in a dogfight with Alabama probably until the SEC Championship Game that will decide which SEC team will get one of those playoff spots. LSU is strong contender for one of them. Support your Tigers with a LSU game day jersey for the whole family: http://recreationandsportsworld.com/college/lsu-tigers-custom-football-jersey
5. TCU Horned Frogs (7-0) (4-0 Big 12)
Like Baylor, TCU is dominating opposing teams left and right. Quarterback Trevone Boykin has been lighting up the stat sheet with 2539 yds., 25 TDs and only 5 INTs. He is putting up Heisman candidate numbers. But, also like Baylor, they beat up on the same Big 12 that Baylor does. Neither team has a win against a Top 25 ranked opponent this season. In fact, they will beat up on each other in the last game of the regular season. The playoff committee could heavily take that into consideration when they’re deciding the playoff spots. And, like Baylor, TCU Horned Frogs will be on the outside looking in.
6. Michigan State Spartans (8-0) (3-0 Big Ten)
Michigan State fans are riding high after pulling off one of the most improbable victories at Michigan two Saturdays ago. The Wolverines punter Blake O’Neil fumbled the snap, back-up defensive back Jalen Watts-Jackson recovered the fumble and returned it for a TD as time expired. That win has given the Spartans serious momentum for the stretch run. The Spartans are led by quarterback Connor Cook, who is have a sensational year with 1662 yds., 13 TDs and only 2 INTs. Senior wide receiver is having a solid year with 62 yds. and 4 TDs. But, they are ranked 35th in the nation in total defense. Spartans will be on a collision course with Ohio State until they meet in Columbus on November 21, and might continue if they meet in the Big Ten Championship Game. If they knock off Ohio State, the Spartans will have a strong case for one of the four playoff spots.
- Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1) (3-1 SEC)
Roll Tide! Alabama is fighting hard to get back into the playoffs, so they can atone for the loss to Ohio State in last year’s Sugar Bowl. But, the Tide has one loss, which they suffered against Old Miss earlier in the season. Jake Coker, who transferred from Florida State, has heavily improved on last year’s numbers. He has thrown for 1376 yds., 11 TDs and 6 INTs. Plus, they have a bruising defense, which is ranked 6th overall in the nation. If they can beat LSU when they meet in Alabama on November 7 or in the SEC Championship Game, the Tide can be in one of those four spots. But, in-state rival Auburn wouldn’t like more than dash the Tide’s playoff hopes by beating them in the “Iron Bowl.”
8. Stanford Cardinal (6-1) (4-0 Pac-12)
Stanford maybe 5-1 overall, but they are undefeated in the Pac-12. Quarterback Kevin Hogan is having a stellar season with 1286 yds., 12 TDs and 3 INTs. Running back Christian McCaffrey is having a pretty solid year with 844 yds. and 5 TDs. But, they’re in the middle of the pact on defense as they’re ranked 38th overall in the nation. The Cardinal has an easy schedule until they play the Fighting Irish the last game of the regular season on November 28. If they beat Notre Dame, the Cardinal has a shot at the playoffs. If they don’t, there best chance to get in will be winning the Pac-12 Championship Game.