Handicapping the CFP Race Heading into Week 11

Another thrilling week of college football is in the books. Georgia-Mizzou and Alabama-LSU lived up the hype, and both were exciting games. LSU and Mizzou were eliminated from the playoff chase with their losses. In the Big 12, Texas hung on to defeat Kansas State in overtime, stopping the Wildcats on 4th down when they opted to go for the win instead of kicking a field goal to go to double overtime, while Oklahoma State eliminated their in-state rivals in what will be the last edition of Bedlam for the foreseeable future. So without further ado, here are the contenders for the playoff after week 10, going into week 11:

Group of 5: No one
Independents: No one

ACC: #4 Florida State. 7-0 ACC, 9-0 overall. Remaining schedule: Week 11 vs. Miami (FL), Week 12 vs. North Alabama, Week 13 @ Florida, ACC Championship Game (opponent TBD)

#11 Louisville. 5-1 ACC, 8-1 overall. Remaining schedule: Week 11 vs. Virginia, Week 12 @ Miami (FL), Week 13 vs. Kentucky

Both Florida State and Louisville won easily last week. Florida State clinched a spot in the ACC Championship Game with their win. Louisville is a 20 point favorite against Virginia this week, while Florida State finishes their ACC games with Miami. The Noles are favored by 2 touchdowns. Look for both teams to win and cover the spread.

Big 12: #7 Texas. 5-1 Big 12, 8-1 overall. Remaining schedule: Week 11 @ TCU, Week 12 @ Iowa State, Week 13 vs. Texas Tech

Oklahoma’s 2nd straight loss eliminated the Sooners from the playoff. Texas is still without Quinn Ewers, who remains out with a sprained shoulder. However, Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said his status has been upgraded from week-to-week to day-to-day, and he has been able to throw passes in practice. The Longhorns should be able to handle TCU this week even if he doesn’t play.

SEC: #2 Georgia. 6-0 SEC, 9-0 overall. Remaining schedule: Week 11 vs. Ole Miss, Week 12 @ Tennessee, Week 13 @ Georgia Tech

#8 Alabama. 6-0 SEC, 8-1 overall. Remaining schedule: Week 11 @Kentucky, Week 12 vs. Chattanooga, Week 13 @ Auburn

#9 Ole Miss. 5-1 SEC, 8-1 overall. Remaining schedule: Week 11 @ Georgia, Week 12 vs. UL Monroe, Week 13 @ Mississippi State

As I said in the open, Georgia and Alabama took care of Mizzou and LSU respectively to eliminate them from the playoff, and move one step closer to setting up an SEC Championship Game showdown. If Georgia beats Ole Miss, they eliminate the Rebels and set the SEC Championship Game between them and Alabama. Look for the Dawgs to run their winning streak to 27, while Alabama should have no issues handling Kentucky.

Pac-12: #5 Washington. 6-0 Pac-12, 9-0 overall. Remaining schedule: Week 11 vs. Utah, Week 12 @ Oregon State, Week 13 vs. Washington State

#6 Oregon. 5-1 Pac-12, 8-1 overall. Remaining schedule: Week 11 vs. USC, Week 12 @ Arizona State, Week 13 vs. Oregon State

In the last year of the Pac-12 as we know it, 5 teams are ranked in the top 25, but only 2 are in playoff contention. Can Oregon and Washington make it to the Pac-12 championship game unscathed or will they stumble along the way and leave the conference without a playoff team? History suggests it’ll be the latter, but anything can happen. I thought Utah and USC would play spoiler against Oregon and Washington the last two weeks, but I was wrong. USC has lost 3 of their last 4 games and fired their defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. Pac-12 teams generally don’t play defense, but USC’s defense has been putrid, causing Caleb Williams talent to be wasted. Meanwhile, Washington looks for real this year, with quarterback Michael Penix Jr. the frontrunner for the Heisman. I’m going with the Ducks and Huskies to win this week.

Big 10: #3 Michigan. 6-0 Big 10, 9-0 overall. Remaining schedule: Week 11 @ Penn State, Week 12 @ Maryland, Week 13 vs. Ohio State

#1 Ohio State. 6-0 Big 10, 9-0 overall. Remaining schedule: Week 11 vs. Michigan State, Week 12 vs. Minnesota, Week 13 @ Michigan

#10 Penn State. 5-1 Big 10, 8-1 overall. Remaining schedule: Week 11 vs. Michigan, Week 12 vs. Rutgers, Week 13 @ Michigan State

This will be a pivotal week for Michigan both on and off the field. Off the field, they are preparing to fight the Big 10 and NCAA if they suspend Harbough for the sign-stealing scandal before the case is played out. On the field, this is their first opportunity for a win over a ranked team, and to eliminate the Nittany Lions from the playoff chase. Penn State on the other hand, needs to win this game, and then have Michigan defeat Ohio State to have a chance to play for the Big 10 Championship. Look for Michigan to come out of Happy Valley with a win, to set up a showdown between them and Ohio State for all the marbles at the Big House. Meanwhile, Ohio State should have no issues with Michigan State, as the Spartans are a dumpster fire without a coach right now.

CFP Top 10 Rankings:
1. Ohio State
2. Georgia
3. Michigan
4. Florida State
5. Washington
6. Oregon
7. Texas
8. Alabama
9. Ole Miss
10. Penn State

Championship Saturday matchup predictions:
ACC: Florida State (clinched spot) vs. Louisville
Big 12: Oklahoma State vs. Texas
SEC: Georgia vs. Alabama
Pac-12: Oregon vs. Washington
Big 10: Iowa vs. Ohio State

Top games of the week:
Ole Miss vs. Georgia. Game of the week, site of ESPN College Gameday
Michigan vs. Penn State. Penn State has to win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Playoff prediction:
Sugar Bowl: #1 Georgia vs. #4 Texas
Rose Bowl: #2 Ohio State vs. #3 Florida State

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