Week 9 of the college football season wrapped up yesterday. After Saturday’s action, ESPN has updated its top four for the College Football Playoff, as of today.
Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State are all locked in right now. Alabama continues to roll its way through the SEC, blowing out Mike Leach and Mississippi State on Saturday, 41-0. Ohio State also looked impressive, handling Penn State 38-25.
Clemson was the one team of the three that faced some adversity Saturday. With Trevor Lawrence out due to COVID-19, the Tigers were slow out of the gates against Boston College, coming back from 18 down to win 34-28. Freshman D.J. Uiagalelei took some time to settle in to his first start, but finished with 342 yards and two touchdowns.
That slow start didn’t stop all 14 ESPN voters from putting Clemson in as a unanimous pick, along with the Crimson Tide and Buckeyes. The final team only received 11-of-14 votes: the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Just days away from two top-10 showdowns, here’s where the CFP stands according to the Allstate Playoff Predictor 👀
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) November 1, 2020
That makes next week’s premier ACC game a huge one. Notre Dame takes on Clemson, which will be without Trevor Lawrence again. The Fighting Irish may have the most to lose in that one. It isn’t hard to see Clemson getting the benefit of the doubt if it gets Lawrence back and runes the table with him. If Notre Dame loses to Uiagalelei, it’ll be tough to bounce back, and would almost definitely need to make the conference title game and beat Clemson in a rematch.
The biggest loser of Week 9 might’ve been Oklahoma State. The final undefeated Big 12 team was knocked off by a hungry Texas team with its back against the wall. That may very well have eliminated the conference from College Football Playoff intention entirely.
The Tigers’ opponent next week, Notre Dame, handled its business on the road in a 31-13 victory at Georgia Tech. For the second straight week, the Fighting Irish are the most popular pick for the fourth spot, but that could change next week, when Clemson travels to South Bend. The game between the two top-four teams should have the biggest playoff impact of any game left on the college football schedule.
Cincinnati, Georgia and Texas A&M each got one vote this week. Oklahoma State fell out of the picks following a 41-34 overtime loss to Texas.
Bill Connelly gives the top Group of Five team, AAC power Cincinnati, his fourth spot. The Bearcats have been very impressive, with a +138 point differential. It will be an uphill battle, but if a G5 is to make the College Football Playoff, this may be the best chance.
David Hale gives Texas A&M his nod, while Mark Schlabach tabs Georgia at No. 4.
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