Handicapping the CFP Race Week 9

From now until the last week of the regular season, I will be sharing my weekly thoughts on the college football playoff chase.

CFP contenders after week 9:

Group of 5: No one
Independents: No one

ACC: Clemson.
They’re 8-0 and will likely make it through the regular season undefeated.

Big 12: Texas Christian.
They’re 8-0, and the only potential game they could lose is against Texas next week. Regardless, they will play for the Big 12 championship game as the 2nd place teams in the Big 12 have 2 conference losses, and TCU has tiebreaker with both of them.

Big 10: Michigan, Ohio State.
Both teams are 8-0 and there is a very good chance they will go into their matchup 11-0 each with a trip to Indianapolis on the line, reminiscent of the 1 vs. 2 game in 2006.

Pac-12: USC, UCLA, Oregon. All 3 teams are 7-1.
Oregon is 5-0 in conference play, USC 5-1, UCLA 4-1.

USC-UCLA will likely be an elimination game, with the winner likely finishing 11-1. Oregon’s only potential loss is vs Utah in 2 weeks. If they win that game, they should finish the regular season 11-1.

SEC: Georgia, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Alabama, LSU.
Georgia-Tennessee is a huge game this weekend, with the winner gaining a 2 game edge in the SEC East due to owning tiebreaker. If Georgia loses, they are eliminated as they would have no chance to play for the SEC championship, and they would have no quality wins, unless Oregon keeps winning. If Tennessee loses, they are still alive due to their win over Alabama.

In the SEC West, Alabama, Ole Miss, and LSU are all 4-1 in conference play, while Alabama is 7-1 overall, Ole Miss is 8-1, and LSU is 6-2. Never before has a 2-loss team made the playoff, but due to SEC bias, LSU still has a chance. They lost their opening week game to Florida State, but have come on strong since, with their only loss to Tennessee. If they beat Alabama this weekend, they would have back to back wins over Ole Miss and Alabama, along with tiebreaker to play in the SEC championship game. Ole Miss is off this week before playing Alabama. If Alabama beats LSU, Ole Miss-Alabama will decide the SEC West. The SEC can potentially have 3 teams in the playoff. If Georgia defeats Tennessee this week, and then the SEC West winner defeats Georgia in the SEC championship game.

Top 10 playoff rankings:

  1. Tennessee
  2. Ohio State
  3. Georgia
  4. Clemson
  5. Michigan
  6. Alabama
  7. Texas Christian
  8. Oregon
  9. USC
  10. LSU

Championship Saturday matchup predictions:
ACC: Clemson vs North Carolina
Big 12: TCU vs Kansas State
Big 10: Illinois vs Ohio State
Pac-12: Oregon vs USC
SEC: Georgia vs Ole Miss

Games to watch for this week:
Georgia vs Tennessee
Alabama vs LSU

Playoff prediction:
Peach Bowl: #1 Georgia vs. #4 Clemson
Fiesta Bowl: #2 Ohio State vs. #3 Alabama

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