Playoff Ranking Analysis and College Football Betting Overview
There were quite a few college football betting fans who were skeptical about Alabama’s inclusion in the first Playoff semifinal bracket last week. After all, the Crimson Tide had a loss already, to Ole Miss, and there were still quite a few undefeated teams that were not in that final four. The teams in the Big 12, Oklahoma State and Baylor, seemed to have the biggest gripes, as they still had not lost. However, the Crimson Tide’s dismantling of former #2 LSU last week sent it up the standings into the #2 position. If you watched the game, you saw that the Crimson Tide really are a dominant team. They were the first team that showed the ability to slow down the LSU running game and Leonard Fournette, whose Heisman Trophy prospects took their first blow of the season.
Baylor fans seeing the new College Football Playoff rankings… pic.twitter.com/ydx66ym0B5
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 11, 2015
College Football Playoff Ranking
3 Ohio State
4 Notre Dame
8 Oklahoma State
13 Michigan State
16 Florida State
17 Mississippi State
23 North Carolina
Clemson remained in the #1 position, and the rest of the season doesn’t pose any real challenges for them on the schedule. Even the presumptive ACC championship game, which would pit them against North Carolina, is not a game that should scare the #1 team all that much. As long as they can remain true to form, Clemson looks like a lock to roll into the playoff, likely in the top position.
Ohio State is right behind the Tide in the #3 position. If the regular season action ended today, that would mean that one of the semifinals of the CFP would be a rematch of last season’s CFP final, when Ohio State beat Alabama in what many considered to be an upset. Ohio State is not as dominant a team as they were last year, but they still keep winning, and they don’t have a loss like the one they took last year against Virginia Tech to give skeptics any ammunition. With that said, they have a rough road remaining, with games still to come against Michigan and Michigan State in the division. Then they have the Big Ten championship game, which is most likely going to be a matchup with Iowa, who has vaulted into the #5 position in the CFP rankings. If Ohio State can win all three of those matchups and keep a perfect slate, there’s no reason to argue against keeping them out, as their strength of schedule will be considerable.
The #4 team in the CFP standings right now is 8-1 Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish lost to #1 Clemson but have prevailed in every other test, including a win at Temple, one of the surprising programs out of the American Athletic Conference this season. The Irish finish the season at Stanford, who could be the Pac-12 North champion, if not the winner of the entire conference. If the Irish can win out and finish with a big victory over the Cardinal, it would be hard to see voters marking them off the semifinals.
This means that a Big 12 team such as Baylor or Oklahoma State could emerge from that conference undefeated but without a spot in the CFP. The message continues to be the importance of a hefty strength of schedule. Both Oklahoma State and Baylor suffer from criticism that they haven’t played anyone. That will change by the end of the season, but by then it may be too late.