As always, these are my guesses for how things play out by the end of the season. With everyone at one loss in the Big 12 right now, I think the Big 12 champion ends up with two losses.
1) Alabama (13-0)— The Tide have a ridiculously easy regular season schedule. That’s no fault of the Tide. Florida State is a dumpster fire, and the SEC is not very good. Georgia and Alabama look like the country’s two best teams. The next twelve are not close to national contenders.
2) Clemson (12-1)— Miami is undefeated right now, but the Hurricanes remind me of the 2015 Seminoles. Miami wins a lot of close games. Someday that will catch up with them.
3) Ohio State (12-1)- With their win over Penn State, and what would likely be another good win over Wisconsin the Buckeyes have a clear path to the playoff. The only potential snag is if Oklahoma wins out too. The Committee might rank Ohio State above Oklahoma on Tuesday. They won’t be able to if both win out.
4) Georgia (12-1)- Their win over Notre Dame is insanely valuable right now. If they keep it close against Alabama, they’ll have a good shot to make the playoff.
5) Notre Dame (11-1)- This season may not propel Notre Dame to join a conference, but expect to hear plenty about the “13th data point” if Notre Dame is left out.
6) Penn State (11-1)- The Nittany Lions won’t have the strength of schedule of Notre Dame. It’s unfair a team that loses by a point in Columbus can’t make the playoff, but hopefully a two SEC playoff year will draw some support for expansion.
7) Wisconsin (12-1)- They will end up playing one top 25 team this season. They have to go undefeated to have any shot at the playoff.
I have the PAC-12 Champion losing two games. Washington still faces four competent opponents— Oregon, Utah, Stanford and Washington State. Then they’d need to win the PAC-12 Championship. I think they’ll lose one of those games.
After Penn State’s loss, this race is much tougher to predict. This is also a prediction for the end of the season.
1) Bryce Love- He’ll get healthy and his stats are just overwhelming. This should be an incredibly close vote.
2) J.T. Barrett- Ohio State’s quarterback had a fantastic run against Penn State. He’ll end up overtaking much of Saquon Barkley’s natural constituency.
3) Baker Mayfield- He has the statistics, but if Oklahoma drops another game, he’ll have a tough time winning.
4) Saquon Barkley- He won’t have overwhelming rushing stats. His all-purpose yards will be awesome. But a running back with a team out of the national title race (unless Ohio State drops a game they shouldn’t), better crush it in rushing statistics. He has not.