College Football Playoff Eliminator: Week 11

The top 10 of the College Football Playoff rankings looks slightly different this week than it did last Tuesday. Both divisions of the SEC found their champions in Alabama and Georgia after two lopsided victories, the Big Ten saw Iowa and Penn State officially get placed in the elimination wastebasket, the Pac-12 is down to one possible bid in Washington State, the Big XII is a two-man race for a bid between teams that could face in back-to-back weeks, the ACC is left with Clemson and Boston College exclusively, and UCF is still in the mix. Here’s a look at which teams control their fate, in need of some assistance, and just flat-out eliminated in this week’s CFP poll.

CONTROLLING THEIR FATE:

#1 Alabama (SEC, 9-0)

Last game: W vs #7 LSU 29-0

Next game: vs #16 Mississippi State

Alabama is about as safe a bet as any team in the country. If they lose, they could still remain in the top 4 – which teams like #4 Michigan should deeply worry about (especially if it’s a loss to #5 Georgia in the SEC Championship). QB Tua Tagovailoa is still the favorite for the Heisman and the defense is clicking on all cylinders, which should prove vital this weekend against the Bulldogs.

#2 Clemson (ACC, 9-0)

Last game: W vs Louisville 77-16

Next game: vs #17 Boston College

QB Trevor Lawrence (18 TD, 3 INT) is proving exactly why he was able to steal the starting job earlier this season. Clemson’s defensive line is scary good and their offense is as potent as ever. They get #17 Boston College this weekend to decide the ACC Coastal.

#3 Notre Dame (Independent, 9-0)

Last game: W vs Northwestern 31-21

Next game: vs Florida State

The Irish can’t falter now. So far, Notre Dame has escaped multiple dark horses late in the season in Virginia Tech, Pitt, Navy, and Northwestern, but they still have Florida State and #13 Syracuse on schedule. An undefeated Notre Dame should receive a bid to a semifinal; a one-loss South Bend team would drop significantly.

#5 Georgia (SEC, 8-1)

Last game: W vs #11 Kentucky 34-17

Next game: vs #24 Auburn

Barring any November losses, the winner of the Alabama-Georgia SEC Championship game will receive a playoff berth. Georgia took care of business in the SEC East by beating Kentucky, and Alabama took care of LSU in the West. Georgia should control their remaining schedule and they would hop #4 Michigan if they won the conference title game. The question would be if Michigan can pass the eye test over a one-loss Alabama.

MOSTLY IN CONTROL:

#4 Michigan (Big Ten, 8-1)

Last game: W vs #20 Penn State 42-7

Next game: vs Rutgers

Michigan and QB Shea Patterson get the two weakest teams in the Big Ten before closing the season against #10 Ohio State to decide the East. The winner will play a current-unranked opponent in either Northwestern or Purdue on Championship Saturday. The Wolverines should get in the playoff with a title belt, but Georgia’s strength of schedule looms overhead.

#6 Oklahoma (Big XII, 8-1)

Last game: W vs Texas Tech 51-46

Next game: vs Oklahoma State

Oklahoma and Heisman candidate Kyler Murray have survived some scares this season, their latest being a shootout against Tech. The Big XII is still a four-team race late in the season with #9 West Virginia (5-1), Oklahoma (5-1), #22 Iowa State (4-2), and #19 Texas (4-2) and Texas and Iowa State still having a date in two weeks. The scenarios are interesting for who could face who in the Big XII Championship, and you can check out those scenarios at 247 Sports. Oklahoma and West Virginia are sandwiched between Michigan and Ohio State in the rankings, and any of those four teams that win out and win their conference would have to prove to be better than the others off-paper.

#9 West Virginia (Big XII, 7-1)

Last game: W vs #19 Texas 42-41

Next game: vs TCU

QB Will Grier ran the ball in the endzone on the two-point conversion and was able to leap over #10 Ohio State all at once as the Buckeyes struggled to beat Nebraska and stayed stagnant this week. WVU’s playoff hopes still ride on how the Big Ten and SEC play out, particularly Alabama vs Georgia and Ohio State vs Michigan.

NEEDING ASSISTANCE:

#8 Washington State (Pac-12, 8-1)

Last game: W vs California 19-13

Next game: vs Colorado

Wazzu has no ranked opponents left outside of #25 Washington and their schedule is just too weak to compete with the Big XII and Big Ten. If any of Michigan, Oklahoma, West Virginia, or Ohio State win-out they will most likely jump QB Gardner Minshew and the Cougars – Heisman trophy or not. Washington State could hope for the Big XII chaos that could ensue near the top, for Ohio State to find a loss in #18 Michigan State before taking down Michigan for the seventh straight season, and for #1 Alabama to run the table. That may seem like a tall order, but history tells us otherwise.

#10 Ohio State (Big Ten, 8-1)

Last game: W vs Nebraska 36-31

Next game: vs #18 Michigan State

The Buckeyes have been slumming through games since Urban Meyer’s return. Indiana, Minnesota, and Nebraska all gave Ohio State unneeded scares as Purdue took them down with flying colors. QB Dwayne Haskins is a Heisman finalist today, but the run game needs to get going for his offense to be successful if he wants to beat #4 Michigan by season’s end. #18 Michigan State will be their first ranked opponent since Penn State this weekend. Ohio State should root for Northwestern to lose against #21 Iowa and Minnesota, setting up a potential revenge date with Purdue in Indianapolis.

#17 Boston College (ACC, 7-2)

Last game: W vs Virginia Tech 31-21

Next game: vs #2 Clemson

RB AJ Dillon (897 YDS, 8 TD) is still one of the most reliable backs in the country. If BC could take down #2 Clemson on Saturday, they’d control their own destiny in the ACC Atlantic with Florida State and #13 Syracuse to close the year. They would obviously need a lot of help from two-loss champions in other conferences, but the Eagles cannot be officially written off yet, especially with how the Committee views the ACC.

CAN ONLY WATCH AND WAIT:

#7 LSU (SEC, 7-2)

Last game: L vs #1 Alabama 29-0

Next game: vs Arkansas

The Tigers can win out and still remain #7 throughout the season. The CFP Committee values their most recent loss to Alabama – even if it was a 29-point shutout – as LSU only dropped 4 spots. If they win out, #8 Wazzu, #9 West Virginia, and #10 Ohio State could all be ranked above this “hop-over” team after Championship Saturday. LSU needs help and has no control of their own fate.

#12 UCF (American, 8-0)

Last game: W vs Temple 52-40

Next game: vs Navy

The Knights need to make a statement. Close games against American Conference opponents have kept them outside of the top 10, but Cincinnati continues to win and could be ranked by the time UCF faces them on November 17. If the Bearcats beat a two-loss South Florida team this weekend and are ranked next Tuesday, don’t count out UCF’s chances. Now, UCF still needs two-loss champs from the Big Ten, Big XII, and Pac-12 as well as #1 Alabama to look formidable in the SEC. It would also help if Houston could win out in the American West before the title game.

ELIMINATED:

#11 Kentucky (SEC, 7-2)

Last game: L vs #5 Georgia 34-17

Next game: vs Tennessee

The Wildcats were eliminated from playoff contention after losing the SEC East to #5 Georgia on Saturday. Kentucky could play for a New Years Six trophy if they win out against Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and Louisville.

#13 Syracuse (ACC, 7-2)

Last game: W vs Wake Forrest 41-24

Next game: vs Louisville

Syracuse’s stock rose 6 spots this week and the Orange have a very good shot at a New Years Six game. They are virtually eliminated from ACC contention unless #2 Clemson loses twice. Syracuse’s schedule is interesting for their current ranking, as they still have #3 Notre Dame and #17 Boston College to finish out the year. They could rise significantly in future weeks and finish the season as the highest two-loss team.

#14 NC State (ACC, 6-2)

Last game: W vs Florida State 47-28

Next game: vs Wake Forrest

The Wolfpack take on Wake Forrest tonight and are still one of the stronger two-loss teams. The Committee values the ACC this season and is figuring to give Clemson a little wiggle room for a good bowl game or semifinal if they were to lose.

#15 Florida (SEC, 6-3)

Last game: L vs Missouri 38-17

Next game: vs South Carolina

The SEC has 5 of the top 15 teams with the back-to-back double-digit loss Gators as the highest ranking three-loss team.

#16 Mississippi State (SEC, 6-3)

Last game: W vs LA Tech 45-3

Next game: vs #1 Alabama

It’s too little too late, but the Bulldogs could make a case for a big bowl game with a win over the Tide.

#18 Michigan State (Big Ten, 6-3)

Last game: W vs Maryland 24-3

Next game: vs #10 Ohio State

A down season for Mark Dantonio is a good season for many other coaches, especially coming from the Big Ten. The Spartans could make a statement against #10 Ohio State this weekend as they have many times in the past.

#19 Texas (Big XII, 6-3)

Last game: L vs #9 West Virginia 42-41

Next game: vs Texas Tech

The Longhorns are still playing for a possible bid to the Big XII Championship, with Tech and #22 Iowa State on back-to-back Saturdays.

#20 Penn State (Big Ten, 6-3)

Last game: L vs #4 Michigan 42-7

Next game: vs Wisconsin

QB Trace McSorley is one of the most dynamic players in the country, but even he couldn’t withstand the might of the Wolverines defense.

#21 Iowa (Big Ten, 5-3)

Last game: L vs Purdue 38-36

Next game: vs Northwestern

A big game against the Wildcats this weekend is all for pride for the Hawkeyes. A three-loss team by the end of the postseason usually finds themselves in good position for next year.

#22 Iowa State (Big XII, 5-3)

Last game: W vs Kansas 27-3

Next game: vs Baylor

The Cyclones still have a shot at the Big XII crown and face #19 Texas next weekend. If they make it to Arlington, Iowa State would have to cancel that December 1 game against Incarnate Word – a true bummer.

#23 Fresno State (Mountain West, 8-1)

Last game: W vs UNLV 48-3

Next game: vs Boise State

The Bulldogs have a big test tomorrow night against the team that is usually ranked from the Mountain West in Boise State. Unlike their Group of Five counterparts (#12 UCF), Fresno has been destroying their opponents, but one could argue the American Conference is much stronger than the Mountain West.

#24 Auburn (SEC, 6-3)

Last game: W vs Texas A&M 28-24

Next game: vs #5 Georgia

The Tigers schedule couldn’t be more difficult down the stretch with #5 Georgia and #1 Alabama, both of which are on the road. Auburn hasn’t been blown out this year and could really do some internal damage to the SEC in the final weeks of the season.

#25 Washington (Pac-12, 7-3)

Last game: W vs Stanford 27-23

Next game: BYE

Washington hasn’t looked well on offense this season and veteran QB Jake Browning (13 TD, 8 INT) is struggling compared to his sophomore year numbers (43 TD, 9 INT). The Huskies could still win the Pac-12 if they take down #8 Washington State in the season finale.

Heisman Watch: Week 11

An up and down college football weekend created a 5-man race near the top for the Heisman trophy. 5 quarterbacks on 5 teams that are hoping for a College Football Playoff berth are vying for a not only a spot in the final four, but atop college football hierarchy.

1. Tua Tagovailoa (Quarterback, Alabama) alabama
QBR: 96.8
Passing Yards: 2,361
Touchdowns-to-Interceptions: 27:1, 3 rushing TD

Through 9 games, Tua’s QBR has still remained nothing short of spectacular. It took him until last Saturday against LSU to throw an interception, but Alabama’s shutout win in Baton Rouge should prove that they are not only the best team, but Tua is – at the moment – the best quarterback.

Next game: vs #18 Mississippi State (CBS, 3:30 PM)

2. Kyler Murray (Quarterback, Oklahoma) oklahoma
QBR: 96.8
Passing Yards: 2,689
Touchdowns-to-Interceptions: 31:5, 7 rushing TD

Murray has been keeping stride with Tagovailoa with the same exact QBR rating. If he can win a Big XII title and overcome Oklahoma’s defensive struggles, he will have a very high chance of giving the Sooners back-to-back Heisman trophy winners (Baker Mayfield 2017). The difference between Murray and the other quarterbacks is his legs, rushing for 100 yards in a classic shootout against Texas Tech.

Next game: vs Oklahoma State (ABC, 3:30 PM)

3. Dwayne Haskins (Quarterback, Ohio State) ohio state
QBR: 80.9
Passing Yards: 3,053
Touchdowns-to-Interceptions: 32:6

Haskins struggled heavily to get the ball to his wide receivers in Saturday’s close win against Nebraska. He is still outthrowing Murray and Tagovailoa (FBS 3rd in passing yards) and he leads the nation with Hawai’i quarterback Cole McDonald for passing touchdowns (32). If Ohio State could have a 2014-esque turnaround to their offense, Haskins would have a strong case – but he’s running out of time.

Next game: at Michigan State (FOX, 12:00 PM)

4. Gardner Minshew (Quarterback, Washington State) wazzu
QBR: 80.3
Passing Yards: 3,517
Touchdowns-to-Interceptions: 27:7, 2 rushing TD

Minshew leads the nation in passing yards and has over 1,000 more yards than Tagovailoa. His stock rises by the Saturday and he is making a strong case for the Pac-12’s playoff hopes. He also has thrown for over 300 yards (5 400-yard games) in every game this season.

Next game: at Colorado (ESPN, 3:30 PM)

5. Will Grier (Quarterback, West Virginia) wvu
QBR: 85.2
Passing Yards: 2,618
Touchdowns-to-Interceptions: 28:7, 1 rushing TD

Grier led the Mountaineers to a win against Texas and now has complete control in the Big XII. WVU could face off against Oklahoma in back-to-back weeks thanks to the round robin nature of the conference, which would have big Heisman implications with Murray on the other sideline.

Next game: vs TCU (FS1, 12:00 PM)

Brad Bets: Week 10

Week 9 Recap: We went 5-2 overall with Iowa, Kentucky and Navy all getting wins ATS, raising our two week earnings to $89.33. As a note, all wagers are at -110 odds and I make the majority of my plays the morning after opening lines have been released. Visit http://www.vegasinsider.com for updated points and spreads. Arguably the best game slate of the college football season, so let’s find the winners and make some money.

Pitt (+7.5) at Virginia (This Panther team is ridiculously unpredictable and Virginia isn’t known for blowing anyone out. Clemson might run away with the Atlantic title, but no team seems to want to win the Coastal division, so let’s keep the chaos rolling and bank on a close one.)

Nebraska (+21.5) at Ohio State (I grabbed this line early and by publication it’ll probably be around 17. This Buckeye team can’t run, or stop the run. Huskers have rolled off two straight and look much improved with a healthy Adrian Martinez/Devine Ozigbo combo.)
Georgia Tech (-4.5) at North Carolina (UNC has an abysmal run defense and Tech loves to run. The Tar Heels season is virtually over, while the Yellow Jackets are fighting for bowl eligibility.)

NC State (-6.5) vs Florida State (The ‘Noles are terrible and the Wolfpack can put up points at the very least. In a battle between two reeling teams, I’ll take the one with more to play for.)

WVU (+2.5) at Texas (Hoped this game would bump to a field goal for added support but the line hasn’t budged. This is the make or break game for Will Grier’s long-shot Heisman campaign and Texas just let a former walk-on throw for 321 yards and 3 touchdowns.)

Iowa (+3) at Purdue (Two weeks ago, I would’ve taken Purdue -3 and not thought twice about it. That of course, was before I watched their pitiful performance against Michigan State.)

Penn State (+11.5) at Michigan (I am still not convinced Shea Patterson is a quality starters and two scores seems like a stretch for a team with a mediocre offense.)

Florida (-5.5) vs Missouri (I’ll take Florida to win this game by a touchdown in The Swamp. Mizzou is 0-4 in the SEC and the #11 Gators still have plenty to play for with being the highest two-loss team in the first CFP poll.)

Northwestern (+9.5) vs Notre Dame (Betting against Notre Dame to cover the spread has netted me $32 in profits this year. Pat Fitzgerald and his Wildcats have a chance to make history at home and they almost pulled off a stunner against Michigan earlier this season.)

LA Tech (+24) at Miss. St (This is the same LA Tech team that only trailed LSU by 3 points in the 4th. State Bulldogs should win, but don’t be surprised if the Tech Bulldogs hang around in Starkville.)

LSU (+15) vs Alabama (I firmly believe no one is beating Bama but LSU won’t back down and Death Valley should be electric. Westgate has raised their spread to +15 so grab the extra half point and join me in praying that Tua is mortal.)

Texas Tech (+13.5) vs Oklahoma (Grab anything above 10.5 as Tech dominated OK State and kept WVU and Iowa State within 10. Oklahoma is rolling, but craziness is always expected under the lights in Lubbock.)

USC (Pick ’em) vs Oregon State (Trojans have seemingly settled for mediocrity, although they should have enough athletes to beat a bad Beavers squad that is 1-19 against FBS foes. This one opened as a surprise pick’em and has since bounced to two touchdowns.)

Stanford (+10) at Washington (The Pac-12 tends to cannibalize itself each week, so don’t be shocked if the Cardinal pull the upset. Neither team has been impressive and Washington quarterback Jake Browning was benched in their loss against Cal.)

Utah State (+18) at Hawaii (Utah State likes to pummel teams, they’ve won three of their last four by over 25 points. Hawaii is highly pummel-able and just lost to Fresno State by 30.)

O/U Picks:

Kentucky vs Georgia (Under 46.5) (I’ve never been more unsure on what to play in a game. I wanted to sit on the sidelines and not make a bet, but this is the presumptive SEC East Championship game and I can’t let my readers down. My mind says UGA in a blowout, but my heart loves this Wildcat defense. I expect a slug fest between the trenches, with both teams struggling to score.) **I have bought two points to raise the total, lowering my payout to +100**

Boston College at Virginia Tech (Under 57.5) (Each time I ran my simulation, I came out with a final around 48. I like 28-20 for the score, which sits safely under the current line.)

College Gameday Pick ’em:

Alabama-24 vs LSU-13 (LSU keeps things close going into the half, but Tua and the Tide are too much for the Tigers, who fail to produce offensively.)

Overall: 8-6 (57%)
ATS: 5-4
O/U: 1-2
Gameday: 2-0
Earnings: +$89.33

 

Courtesy of bradbets.com

College Football Playoff Picture: Week 10

The first College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday night and the results told a story of a much bigger picture for every Power Five conference. Some teams that were unranked in the AP Poll found a surprising visit into the CFP rankings and others (such as #8 Washington State) found themselves in playoff contention. Here’s the rundown on every top 25 team entering week 10:

1. Alabama (SEC, 8-0)

Status: IN CONTROL

Last Game: BYE

No surprise here as the undefeated Crimson Tide and Heisman frontrunner Tua Tagovailoa are running through their schedule. They face #3 LSU this week in a game that will basically decide the SEC West. Alabama can afford a loss here and still find themselves in the top 4 simply based upon the fact that there are 5 teams ranked in the top 10 from the SEC.

2. Clemson (ACC, 8-0)

Status: IN CONTROL

Last Game: W vs Florida State 59-10

The Tigers should be ecstatic that other teams such as Syracuse (#19), NC State (#21), Boston College (#22), and Virginia (#25) are also ranked ACC teams. QB Trevor Lawrence looks good running the offense heading into a conference game against Louisville. Clemson will most likely win out ahead of the ACC Championship game against #25 Virginia, Virginia Tech, or Pitt.

3. LSU (SEC, 7-1)

Status: IN CONTROL

Last Game: BYE

The Tigers are in complete control of their own destiny after Tuesday night revealed they are ahead of undefeated Notre Dame (#4). QB Joe Burrow has a lot to prove if he wants to take down #1 Alabama this weekend, and he won’t be able to afford many mistakes. Can a two-loss LSU still make the playoff without a conference title? It’ll be interesting to see where the loser of this almost-divisional championship game falls in next week’s ranking.

4. Notre Dame (Independent, 8-0)

Status: IN CONTROL

Last Game: W vs Navy 44-22
The CFP Selection Committee gave the nod to the Fighting Irish to control their own fate even without a conference championship. An undefeated Notre Dame will certainly make the semifinals, but their schedule is filled with perennially upset-thirsty opponents in Northwestern, Florida State, #22 Syracuse, and USC in the final stretch of the season.

5. Michigan (Big Ten, 7-1)

Status: MOSTLY IN CONTROL

Last Game: BYE

Michigan took their bye week before they take on #14 Penn State this Saturday. Michigan will need someone to lose ahead of them and just like every other team in the country, they should be rooting for Alabama to run through the SEC. If Michigan wins out, they would get in over a one-loss Clemson or a one-loss Notre Dame ahead of them, even though the Irish beat them in the season opener 24-17.

6. Georgia (SEC, 7-1)

Status: IN CONTROL

Last Game: W vs #11 Florida 36-17

Georgia is doing all they need to in order to get a shot at the SEC Championship, which looks to be a play-in game to the CFP. They looked great taking down Florida last Saturday and now get to face #9 Kentucky to decide the SEC East crown. QB Jake Fromm passed for 3 touchdowns and 240 yards against the Gators, who Kentucky also beat earlier in the season. The loser of this game should not fall farther than #11 in next week’s rankings and remain ahead of Florida.

7. Oklahoma (Big XII, 7-1)

Status: MOSTLY IN CONTROL

Last Game: W vs Kansas State 51-14

QB Kyler Murray continues his run at the Heisman trophy but still has some big games left this season. Texas Tech and Oklahoma State are on schedule in back-to-back weeks and a season finale against #13 West Virginia should decide at least one of the teams playing in the Big XII Championship. If Oklahoma can win out and get a redemption shot at #17 Texas, they would still need some help from Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, and the Big Ten.

8. Washington State (Pac-12, 7-1)

Status: NEEDS HELP

Last Game: W vs Stanford 41-38

The Cougars should be very happy with their position in the top 10 after beating Stanford on Saturday. The Pac-12 cannot afford another loss if they want to send a team (either Wazzu or #15 Utah). On top of that, every major conference has a better shot at sending a team over anyone in the west. QB Gardner Minshew needs to continue to have 400-yard passing games and keep his name in the Heisman headlines if this team wants a shot at the final four.

9. Kentucky (SEC, 7-1)

Status: IN CONTROL

Last Game: W vs Missouri 15-14

Well, well, well. The Wildcats find themselves in prime position to control their fate and have their first real test this Saturday against #6 Georgia in the SEC East title game. The winner will most likely face the winner of the other big SEC game this weekend (Alabama vs LSU). Former QB Lynn Bowden Jr. became one of QB Terry Wilson’s favorite targets in Saturday’s thrilling win against Missouri, catching 13 passes for 166 yards. He also asked head coach Mark Stoops if he could go in and return a punt, which he did for a 67-yard touchdown.

10. Ohio State (Big Ten, 7-1)

Status: NEEDS HELP

Last Game: BYE

The Buckeyes are licking their wombs ahead of Nebraska this Saturday. Michigan State and #5 Michigan loom in November, but QB Dwayne Haskins needs his offense to establish a run game before they can even think about a Big Ten Championship appearance. The Buckeyes should move up at least one spot in next week’s rankings ahead of the loser of Georgia/Kentucky. However, they should still root for #1 Alabama to run the table and for the Big XII to have a winner not named Oklahoma.

11. Florida (SEC, 6-2)

Status: ON THE BRINK

Last Game: L vs #6 Georgia 36-17

The Gators will need a lot to go down in order to reach the semifinal. The good news now is that they don’t have to worry about playing in a conference championship game. Florida looks to be a team that could be hopped by teams behind them, but the Committee told us something by rankings them so high in the first poll: that there’s still a chance. The loser of Georgia/Kentucky on Saturday should not fall behind Florida, but the Gators still have a very real possibility of winning out; Missouri, South Carolina, Idaho, and Florida State are all winnable games.

12. UCF (American, 7-0)

Status: NEEDS HELP

Last Game: BYE

The Knights ranking is very curious. If last year has no implication on this year, then why is UCF ranked so high? They have one of the weakest schedules in the country. The Committee basically gave them a tip-of-the-hat for winning 20 consecutive games – and they deserve it. They shouldn’t worry about Florida being ranked ahead of them, as UCF still has a chance to play a ranked opponent if Cincinnati (7-1), USF (7-1), and Houston (7-1) (in a conference championship game) keep winning. UCF should root for Pittsburgh, who they beat 45-14, to win the ACC Coastal Division and beat #2 Clemson. If that happens, the Knights value can skyrocket. Other than that, they need Alabama to run the table and for the other conferences to find additional losses on their schedules. It’s all very unlikely, but teams ahead of them will lose.

13. West Virginia (Big XII, 6-1)

Status: MOSTLY IN CONTROL

Last Game: W vs Baylor 58-14

WVU is exactly where they should be in the CFP rankings. They have one of the toughest remaining schedules left in the country in #17 Texas, TCU, Oklahoma State, and #7 Oklahoma to close out the season. If QB Will Grier can get through the top-heavy portion of the conference, he should root for a rematch with #24 Iowa State, who beat the Mountaineers 30-14.

14. Penn State (Big Ten, 6-2)

Status: ON THE BRINK

Last Game: W vs #16 Iowa 30-24

Penn State remains on the brink this week after a comeback win against the Hawkeyes. Iowa, however, did not fall far behind the Nittany Lions in the first CFP rankings. Penn State needs a lot to happen in order to get to the Big Ten Championship, including beating #5 Michigan this weekend. They would still need the Wolverines and Ohio State to find other losses. If Penn State is eliminated from contending for their conference championship, consider them eliminated from the playoff as well.

15. Utah (Pac-12, 6-2)

Status: ELIMINATED

Last Game: W vs UCLA 41-10

The Utes’ offense has taken control of every game since back-to-back losses to Washington and #8 Washington State earlier this season. Utah can find themselves in a Pac-12 Championship rematch against Wazzu, but a two-loss champ from the Pac-12 will not get into the CFP this season.

16. Iowa (Big Ten, 6-2)

Status: NEEDS HELP

Last Game: L vs #14 Penn State 30-24

Iowa is on the brink of elimination this week after losing to Penn State. Crucial games against Purdue and Northwestern will decide the Big Ten West, and a victory in the Big Ten Championship against an Ohio State or Michigan will propel them into the top 10 by season’s end. They would need a lot to happen to see a CFP appearance, and that includes Alabama running the table in the SEC.

17. Texas (Big XII, 6-2)

Status: NEEDS HELP

Last Game: L vs Oklahoma State 38-35

The Longhorns saw their playoff hopes take a tumble in Bedlam on Saturday, but they still control their own destiny in the Big XII. They face #13 West Virginia this weekend and finish off the year with Texas Tech, #24 Iowa State, and Kansas. Texas needs the Big Ten and Pac-12 to have two-loss champs, but even that might not be enough to get in over two teams from the SEC.

18. Mississippi State (SEC, 5-3)

Status: ELIMINATED

Last Game: W vs #20 Texas A&M 28-13

A triple in the loss column will deal you out.

19. Syracuse (ACC, 6-2)

Status: ELIMINATED

Last Game: W vs #21 NC State 51-41

Ranking Syracuse does well for #2 Clemson in the long run, but a two-loss team from the ACC needs to be able to win the conference to play in a semifinal.

20. Texas A&M (SEC, 5-3)

Status: ELIMINATED

Last Game: L vs #18 Mississippi State 28-13

Refer to #18 Mississippi State, then add on the fact that the Aggies lost to them.

21. NC State (ACC, 5-2)

Status: ELIMINATED

Last Game: L vs #19 Syracuse 51-41

Refer to #19 Syracuse, then add on the fact that the Wolfpack lost to them.

22. Boston College (ACC, 6-2)

Status: ON THE BRINK

Last Game: W vs Miami (FL) 27-14

Interestingly enough, the Eagles still control their own fate in the ACC. They face Virginia Tech, #2 Clemson, Florida State, and #19 Syracuse to close out the season. If they can take down the Tigers in two weeks and #10 Ohio State can win the Big Ten, then maybe that mid-season loss to Purdue (30-13) wouldn’t look as bad anymore. If Alabama runs the show, a win over Clemson can propel them ahead of the rest of the SEC by season’s end.

23. Fresno State (Mountain West, 7-1)

Status: ELIMINATED

Last Game: W vs Hawai’i 50-20

The Bulldogs were able to shut down QB Cole McDonald last Saturday, and their ranking should be a wake-up call to the American Conference that there is still work to do. Fresno State has a seriously good defense and can play in a New Years Six Bowl game if they control the wild, wild Mountain West.

24. Iowa State (Big XII, 4-3)

Status: ELIMINATED

Last Game: W vs Texas Tech 40-31

The Cyclones can still play for a conference title if chaos ensues near the top.

25. Virginia (ACC, 6-2)

Status: NEEDS HELP

Last Game: W vs UNC 31-21

A crucial game against Pitt is on the slate for tomorrow and they face Virginia Tech to close the season. If the Cavaliers can reach the ACC title game and beat #2 Clemson, they would need the assistance of the other conferences to get into a semifinal.

Heisman Watch: Week 10

Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa had a bye-week this past Saturday but still remains the unanimous choice for the top award in college football.  Dwayne Haskins and Ohio State had a bye-week as well, but that opened the door for him to get passed by Kyler Murray after leading Oklahoma to a romping of Kansas State.  Washington State’s Gardner Minshew joins the bunch of Heisman finalists after his fifth 400-yard passing game in a shootout win against Stanford.

1.  Tua Tagovailoa (Quarterback, Alabama)alabama

QBR: 97.3

Passing Yards: 2,066

Touchdowns-to-Interceptions: 25:0

Tua held a bye-week before his upcoming SEC West showdown with #5 LSU.  This will be his biggest test of the season and if he can stay true to form against the Tiger’s defense, he’ll only further separate himself from the rest of the field.

 

2.  Kyler Murray (Quarterback, Oklahoma) oklahoma

QBR: 97.2

Passing Yards: 2,329

Touchdowns-to-Interceptions: 28:3

Murray passed for over 300 yards and 3 scores while adding a rushing touchdown against Kansas State.  Among the quarterbacks, his running ability and pure speed are the difference, and his QBR is right up there with Tua’s.

 

3.  Dwayne Haskins (Quarterback, Ohio State) ohio state

QBR: 83.9

Passing Yards: 2,801

Touchdowns-to-Interceptions: 30:5

Usually teams are enjoying their bye-week, but the Buckeyes were still living with the fact they lost to Purdue.  Haskins did all he could do in that game, throwing 73 times for 470 yards and two scores, but his offense was unable to establish a run game.  He still leads the NCAA in passing touchdowns with Hawai’i’s Cole McDonald, but he’ll need to be uber impressive on the November slate.

 

4.  Gardner Minshew (Quarterback, Washington State) wazzu

QBR: 81.8

Passing Yards: 3,183

Touchdowns-to-Interceptions: 26:6

Minshew’s name has been circling around Heisman watch lists for weeks, but after leading the Cougars to a 7-1 record and a #8 national rank, he deserves serious consideration.  He leads the nation in passing yards and gives the Pac-12 hope for a College Football Playoff berth.  He has 5 games this season where he threw for over 400 yards and his lowest passing-yard game of the season was 319 (a 41-19 win in the season opener against Wyoming).

Brad Bets: Week 10 MACtion

The final Tuesday of October means it’s officially MACtion season and there shall be no more football-less nights. With the MAC filling ESPN 2, 3 and U timeslots for the next 4 weeks, football is now a daily occurrence and we have arguably the worst, yet most entertaining FBS conference to thank for that.

Of course, the start of MACtion means an opportunity for some mid-week money. These bets will be separate from my traditional work, as these picks contain limited research and will be supported by limited funding. I have no clue who to pick in these games and know nothing about these teams, so let’s have some fun…..

Tuesday:

Bowling “For Soup” Green (+1) at Kent Read Kent Write Kent State (Nothing like a battle of perennial losers to kick-off MACion 2K18. Thanks to a coin flip aided decision, I like Bowling Green to win and “improve” their record to 2-7. Now if they could only improve their hideous color scheme.)

State University of New York at Buffalo (+6.5) at Miami O-H-I-O (This spread has bounced between 8.5 at the open, to 6.5 today. Anything above a touchdown, I like the RedHawks of Oxford. Anything below however and I’m rolling with the Bulls and their 6’7 QB Tyree Jackson.)

Wednesday:

Holy Toledo (-18) at Ball So Hard State (Fun Fact: David Letterman graduated from Ball State with a 2.3 GPA. Speaking of two’s and three’s, I like the Rockets to win by 23 at home against the Men of Muncie, Indiana.)

 

Courtesy of bradbets.com

College Football Playoff Picture: Week 9

A new-look top 10 is revealed in the last relevant AP Top 25 poll of the season after Ohio State took a royal beatdown to the Boilermakers of Purdue. This week, we look at every team’s status to make it to the College Football Playoff before Tuesday’s CFP rankings are released for the first time this season.

1. Alabama (SEC, 8-0)

Status: IN CONTROL

Last Game: W vs Tennessee 58-21

The Crimson Tide remain in control of their own destiny with a little more wiggle room to work with. Every team outside of the SEC should root for Alabama to win-out and remain in control of their conference. QB Tua Tagovailoa is still the unanimous Heisman favorite and has yet to throw an interception. He will be tested after the bye against #4 LSU, but history tells us that Alabama is dangerous after a week’s rest.

2. Clemson (ACC, 7-0)

Status: IN CONTROL

Last Game: W vs #22 NC State 41-7

Clemson proved why they are the kings of the ACC yet again after romping previously unbeaten NC State. They are playing good defense and will be tested against Florida State on Saturday. The Tigers need to continue to win to fend off any one-loss teams waiting behind them. Look for Clemson to be ranked #2 or #3 next Tuesday.

3. Notre Dame (Independent, 7-0)

Status: IN CONTROL

Last Game: BYE

Notre Dame needed one thing to control their own destiny on the road to the CFP and that was for Ohio State to lose. They got their wish and now have a schedule that is filled with teams that have proved to upset ranked opponents in the past. The Irish get Navy on Saturday before facing the current leader in the Big Ten West – Northwestern. They close the season with 3 mid-level games against Florida State, Syracuse, and USC.

4. LSU (SEC, 7-1)

Status: IN CONTROL

Last Game: W vs Mississippi State 19-3

Joe Burrow and the Tiger’s offense took a while to get going against Mississippi State, but LSU’s defense made it look like they had control throughout the entirety of the 4 quarters. #1 Alabama and LSU both get a bye before they play in Death Valley. If the Tiger’s defense can keep QB Tua Tagovailoa from having big plays, there can be a potential upset. Barring any chaos, next Saturday will be an elimination game for LSU. Alabama, on the other hand, can lose and still be in decent position to make the CFP.

5. Michigan (Big Ten, 7-1)

Status: MOSTLY IN CONTROL

Last Game: W vs Michigan State 21-7

The Wolverines took down in-state rival Michigan State in a heated matchup in Big Ten East play. Michigan gets a much-needed bye before they take on #17 Penn State. QB Shea Patterson and WR Donovan Peoples-Jones are continuing their strong season together (326 yards, 6 touchdowns) and are pretty much in control of their own CFP destiny since they hold the best loss in the country (#3 Notre Dame). A conference championship should put them in the playoff. The only thing possibly keeping them out would be if Alabama loses a close match to a LSU team that wins out. A one-loss Big XII champ would have to be unequivocally better than Michigan to get a spot ahead. The fact that #6 Texas lost to Maryland (who Michigan beat 42-21) should keep Michigan ahead of any Big XII team.

6. Texas (Big XII, 6-1)

Status: MOSTLY IN CONTROL

Last Game: BYE

The Longhorns remaining schedule is one of the toughest in the country. They have Oklahoma State on Saturday followed by #13 West Virginia, Texas Tech, and dark horse Iowa State. Texas remains atop the Big XII standings and will have a rematch in their conference championship game if they continue to win out. Like Michigan, the Longhorns should hope for Alabama to win out and need another team to lose ahead of them. They should also root against #11 Ohio State in the coming weeks.

7. Georgia (SEC, 6-1)

Status: IN CONTROL

Last Game: BYE

Georgia is still in control no matter which way the SEC is viewed compared to the other conferences in the country. If Georgia can get through #9 Florida and #12 Kentucky in back-to-back weeks, they’ll be in position to setup a conference championship with a top-tier team in #1 Alabama or #4 LSU. The Bulldogs control their own fate because of their strength of schedule and would be the strongest one-loss team in the country if they win out.

8. Oklahoma (Big XII, 6-1)

Status: MOSTLY IN CONTROL

Last Game: W vs TCU 52-27

Because the nature of the Big XII, Oklahoma has a shot at redemption. The Sooners get Kansas State before Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, and they close the season against #13 West Virginia – which could be a play-in game into the Big XII Championship. Oklahoma needs the same outcomes as #6 Texas to find themselves in the CFP. QB Kyler Murray (96.9 QBR rating) and Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa (97.5 QBR rating) are on pace to shatter the top 2 all-time QBR ratings in college football history.

9. Florida (SEC, 6-1)

Status: NEEDS HELP

Last Game: BYE

The Gators game against #7 Georgia this week will determine a lot in the SEC East, but #12 Kentucky still owns the tiebreaker thanks to a 27-16 victory against Florida in early September. It’s smooth sailing if Florida can get through Georgia on Saturday with Missouri, South Carolina, Idaho, and Florida State on deck in November.

10. UCF (American, 7-0)

Status: NEEDS HELP

Last Game: W vs East Carolina 37-10

It’s a pain to continually win games over the course of a season and a half and still need help to reach the CFP, but the Knight’s schedule is just not up-to-par with the rest of the country. Temple comes into town next Thursday night fresh off their win against previously unbeaten Cincinnati. The American Conference East Division is up for grabs against the Owls, who are undefeated in conference play despite being 5-3. The good news for UCF is that their final 3 games of the season can potentially be between 3 ranked opponents if Cincinnati can jump back into the rankings, #21 South Florida (7-0), and Houston (6-1) in the American Conference Championship. The Knights would need some help from two of the following: a two-loss Big Ten champ, a two-loss Big XII champ, #3 Notre Dame to lose, #2 Clemson to have a meltdown, and #1 Alabama to win out. Every week, those scenarios seem a little more likely.

11. Ohio State (Big Ten, 7-1)

Status: NEEDS HELP

Last Game: L vs Purdue 49-20

Ohio State looked inept on defense against the Purdue run game last Saturday, but they are still in control of the Big Ten East. QB Dwayne Haskins played decent (470 yards) as the offense struggled to put points on the board. If Ohio State can manage to win out, they should still hope for #1 Alabama to run the show in the SEC and to pass the eye test against a one-loss Big XII champ. If the Buckeyes could have kept their loss to Purdue close, they would not have to worry as much about the Big XII being a conference that could get in ahead of them. The coming weeks have Nebraska, Michigan State, Maryland (the team that beat #6 Texas), and #5 Michigan.

12. Kentucky (SEC, 6-1)

Status: IN CONTROL

Last Game: W vs Vanderbilt 14-7

Kentucky, like Georgia, is in control of their own destiny. RB Benny Snell Jr. continues to run the ball well (868 yards, 9 touchdowns) and is heading towards his third straight 1,000-yard season. If the Wildcats win out, they will have beaten #9 Florida (a game they won 27-16), #7 Georgia, and either #1 Alabama or #4 LSU in the SEC Championship game. They get Missouri this Saturday before taking on Georgia conveniently the week after Georgia plays Florida. Their remaining schedule sets up nicely with Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and Louisville to close the season.

13. West Virginia (Big XII, 5-1)

Status: MOSTLY IN CONTROL

Last Game: BYE

WVU has the toughest remaining schedule in the Big XII with Baylor tonight, #6 Texas, TCU, Oklahoma State, and #8 Oklahoma. Will Grier can win games and put up numbers, but consecutive weeks with that schedule ahead can be a tall task for the Mountaineers. To see what WVU needs to reach the CFP, see Texas above.

14. Washington State (Pac-12, 6-1)

Status: NEEDS HELP

Last Game: W vs #19 Oregon 34-20

Washington State saw their stock rise this weekend after a statement win against #19 Oregon. The Cougars only loss is to USC (4-3), who they can still potentially rematch in the Pac-12 Championship game. QB Gardner Minshew (2,745 yards, 23 touchdowns) is a top-5 QB in the country and runs an offense that Washington State depends on every game. If Alabama can win out, they will still need two of the following to happen: a two-loss Big Ten champ, a two-loss Big XII champ, Clemson to lose the ACC, and Notre Dame to lose (probably more than once). It’s an uphill battle, but Washington State gets #24 Stanford on Saturday and #15 Washington to close the season.

15. Washington (Pac-12, 6-2)

Status: ELIMINATED

Last Game: W vs Colorado 27-13

A two-loss team from the Pac-12 will not make the CFP. Even with #24 Stanford and #14 Washington State still left on the schedule, the Pac-12 South’s top 3 teams all have at least 2 losses. Every two-loss champion from the other Power Five conferences would have a stronger case than the Huskies, as would undefeated #10 UCF and #3 Notre Dame even if the Irish lose.

16. Texas A&M (SEC, 5-2)

Status: ON THE BRINK

Last Game: BYE

The Aggies get both Mississippi teams and Auburn in the coming weeks before #4 LSU to close out the season. If A&M wins out, they would still need #1 Alabama to lose twice to reach the SEC Championship game. If all of that magically happened and Texas A&M won the SEC, they would still need two of the following to take place: a two-loss team to win the Big Ten, a two-loss team to win the Big XII, a two-loss team not named #2 Clemson to win the ACC, #10 UCF to lose, and #3 Notre Dame to lose (probably twice). These scenarios are not as farfetched as they seem considering every conference championship can feature a team with multiple losses this season. Unfortunately, A&M’s biggest hurdle is that they don’t control their own destiny in the SEC West.

17. Penn State (Big Ten, 5-2)

Status: ON THE BRINK

Last Game: W vs Indiana 33-28

Penn State can thank their back-to-back conference losses (#11 Ohio State, Michigan State) for their current fourth place ranking in the Big Ten East. The Nittany Lions have a tough schedule remaining with #18 Iowa on Saturday followed by #5 Michigan and #20 Wisconsin. Penn State should also root for #1 Alabama to finish the season undefeated and then hope for one of the following: a two-loss team to win the ACC, a two-loss team to win the Big XII, #10 UCF to lose, and #3 Notre Dame to lose (probably twice). If all of that happens, Penn State will still need Michigan and Ohio State to find another conference loss before November ends.

18. Iowa (Big Ten, 6-1)

Status: NEEDS HELP

Last Game: W vs Maryland 23-0

The Hawkeyes defense is one of the best in the Big Ten and has carried them throughout the season. The loss to #20 Wisconsin hurts them as they would need the Badgers to lose again to reach the Big Ten Championship game. Iowa takes on #17 Penn State on Saturday in an elimination game before Purdue and Northwestern. A one-loss Iowa that wins the Big Ten still needs one of the following to happen: #2 Clemson to lose, a two-loss team to win the Big XII, one team to run the table in the SEC (preferably #1 Alabama), and Notre Dame to lose (possibly twice).

19. Oregon (Pac-12, 5-2)

Status: ELIMINATED

Last Game: L vs #14 Washington State 42-24

Again, a two-loss team from the Pac-12 will not make the CFP this season. The Ducks have 3 teams with only 1 conference loss ahead of them in the North Division and essentially have no control of their own destiny. They face Arizona on Saturday and would need #24 Stanford and #14 Washington State to lose twice and #15 Washington to lose again just to reach the Pac-12 Championship.

20. Wisconsin (Big Ten, 5-2)

Status: ON THE BRINK

Last Game: W vs Illinois 49-20

Wisconsin still controls their own destiny in the Big Ten West with an important game this Saturday against Northwestern. The Badgers need the same scenarios as #17 Penn State does in order to have a chance at the CFP, but unlike the Nittany Lions who they play in three weeks, they have a better shot at winning their division.

21. South Florida (American, 7-0)

Status: NEEDS HELP

Last Game: W vs UConn 38-30

USF continues to find themselves escaping close conference games as their final 2 wins are by a total margin of only 9 points. The only reason they are listed as needing help rather than “on the brink” is because they deserve respect for being an undefeated team. However, USF cannot make the CFP without the weaker divisions in the Power Five winning conference championships. Virginia Tech (4-2), Northwestern (4-3), and #23 Utah (5-2) all currently lead their divisions in Power Five conferences. USF needs to root for #1 Alabama and major chaos ahead of them to be playing in a playoff. The Bulls get Houston on Saturday and end the season with crucial divisional games against one-loss Cincinnati, Temple, and #10 UCF.

22. NC State (ACC, 5-1)

Status: ELIMINATED

Last Game: L vs #2 Clemson 41-7

Even if #2 Clemson lost again, NC State would still be out of their own conference championship game. Two-loss teams from the Big Ten, Big XII, and SEC all have stronger resumes than the Wolfpack, as does #10 UCF and #3 Notre Dame. If NC State can win out with Clemson falling apart, they would still need a lot of the same crazy scenarios as the USF Bulls.

23. Utah (Pac-12, 5-2)

Status: ELIMINATED

Last Game: W vs USC 41-28

Back-to-back losses to the Washington teams doomed the Utes from the start. Their remaining schedule is too weak for them to reach a semifinal with UCLA, Arizona, and #19 Oregon being their strongest opponents all coming in consecutive weekends starting on Saturday.

24. Stanford (Pac-12, 5-2)

Status: ELIMINATED

Last Game: W vs Arizona 20-13

Stanford still has a chance to be the strongest two-loss team in the country by season’s end. They play #14 Washington State and #15 Washington in back-to-back weekends starting this Saturday and can still play for a conference championship. The Cardinal would need a million and one things to happen to reach the playoff and they simply don’t have enough time to do so.

25. Appalachian State (Sun Belt, 5-1)

Status: ELIMINATED

Last Game: W vs LA Lafayette 27-17

Appalachian State has always been making a name for themselves under head coach Scott Satterfield. He’s been with the program for years and helped the Mountaineers transition to the FBS in 2014. He’s had a winning record every season since entering the Sun Belt Conference. Rather than focusing on App State’s CFP chances (slim to none), it would be very realistic to see them in a New Years’ Six Bowl game. If they run the table and can prove to be better than an American Conference team, they can set themselves up nicely for a high-profile bowl at the end of the season. As we know, it helped #10 UCF get to where they are now.