Well the college football regular season is just about half way done and its time to look at how things are shaping up for the NCAA playoff.
Back in August I predicted Florida State, Michigan State, Alabama and Oklahoma to make the 4 team playoff.
At this point it is possible, but not likely that three of those four teams could make the playoffs. I have a feeling I will be right on at least two of the four teams.
Florida State got very lucky to escape Notre Dame last week to keep their hopes alive. They cannot afford any losses with such a week schedule. They will need to win at Louisville and Miami and win the ACC Championship game to make the playoff and as long as their troubled star QB Jameis Winston stays on the field that is a very real possibility.
Alabama can still indirectly control its own destiny, they need to beat 1 loss Auburn and undefeated Miss State at home and have Ole Miss drop at least 1 game and win a tie breaker to make the SEC Championship game, but there is a chance that even with one loss and missing the SEC Championship game they could be part of the 4 team playoff.
However, if the SEC Champion ends up coming from the West (Ole Miss, Auburn or Miss State) and they have only 1 loss they would most likely make the 4 team playoff. The SEC West is so strong these teams could all end up beating each other and really hurting their own chances of making the playoff.
SEC likely Champion Georgia is a dark horse to get into the title game if they can beat Auburn and whoever the west sends to the title game they should make it. The question then becomes would the loser of the SEC Championship game or another 1 loss SEC West team also get a spot in the 4 team playoff. Would it be fair to have the loser of the SEC Championship game (if they are from the SEC West) miss the playoff with one or two losses while a one loss team that did not win its own division makes the playoff? These are questions the committee will seriously have to consider.
I still feel a one loss Michigan State team would have a shot to make the playoff. I predicted they would lose at Oregon but win out. They do still have to face Ohio State, but if they get past them they should be playing in the Big Ten Championship game barring a major upset.
If they win that and have only 1 loss to Oregon (on the road in a game they competed in until the 4th quarter) I think they would have a strong case to be included.
Oklahoma has two losses and is officially done.
My next choice to make the playoff was a one loss PAC 12 team. That could end up being Arizona, Arizona State (they play each other) or Oregon.
Notre Dame really had a tough break losing at Florida State, but if they are able to go into Arizona State and grab a win it would keep them in the discussion. They would have impressive wins against USC, Stanford and Arizona State on their resume and with one loss the lure of the Irish in the playoff could be too much to pass up.
If you asked me to pick the four teams today I would go with: Florida State, Michigan State, Mississippi (they and Alabama have the most favorable schedules left and Mississippi would own a head to head tiebreaker with Alabama) and Oregon. They have an easy enough schedule to win out in the regular season and assuming they win the PAC 12 they would be the 4th team in. It would be tough to leave them out with one loss while putting 1 loss Michigan State in.
There is a lot to think about and as the weeks go by we will be back with more updated playoff projections! Until then, happy watching!