2018 College Football Playoff Projections, Week 7: Hello, Notre Dame

Oct 07, 2018 2:18 AM EDT
  • How is the 2018 College Football Playoff taking shape through Week 7?
  • Notre Dame looks to be in the driver's seat for a playoff berth after beating Virginia Tech. The rest of the Fighting Irish's schedule is pretty weak.
  • Washington has Oregon on deck. A win from the Huskies would do wonders for their CFP chances.

Notre Dame has been in the College Football Playoff conversation since beating Michigan in its opener. But the Irish really got ahead of the curve on Saturday night.

The win against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg wasn’t perfect, but now just six victories separate Notre Dame from a playoff berth.

According to our power ratings, Notre Dame will be a double-digit favorite, or close to it, in its final six games.

  • vs. Pitt
  • vs. Navy
  • at Northwestern
  • vs. Florida State
  • vs. Syracuse
  • at USC

Those look like six winnable games to me, especially with how Florida State and USC have looked so far this season.

We’re using playoff percentages from FiveThirtyEight.com, and will update with odds to make the College Football Playoff when they’re available.

College Football Playoff Projections, Week 7

1. Alabama

  • Record: 6-0
  • Playoff Chances: 63%

The Tide will be a double-digit favorite in the rest of their games, with a Nov. 3 date at LSU presenting the biggest challenge (or at least the tightest spread).

There’s no reason to think Alabama won’t run the table against this schedule, and it can still get in with a loss in the SEC Championship Game.

2. Clemson

  • Record: 6-0
  • Playoff Chances: 65%

The Tigers have looked mortal — at Texas A&M and home to Syracuse — but like Bama, they’ll also be double-digit favorites in every game. Maybe even the ACC Championship.

A game at Boston College looked like the biggest hurdle left for Clemson, but the Eagles have lost two of three and are missing star running back AJ Dillon.

Until further notice, the ACC is very much Clemson’s to lose.

3. Ohio State

  • Record: 6-0
  • Playoff Chances: 57%

The Buckeyes are in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten, which gives you a great chance to make the playoff.

4. Notre Dame

  • Record: 6-0
  • Playoff Chances: 34%

Is Georgia better than Notre Dame? Maybe. Does Georgia have a ton more to prove at this point, and a date with Alabama looming on Dec. 1 in Atlanta if it does prove those things? Yep.

No matter what the odds or projections say, an undefeated Notre Dame team is getting in the College Football Playoff. It’s played 10 Power 5 teams and would have wins over Michigan, Stanford, Virginia Tech and USC if it runs the table.


Outside Looking In

5. Georgia

  • Record: 6-0
  • Playoff Chances: 40%

There’s so much to be decided that it doesn’t feel fair to judge Georgia yet. But right now, Notre Dame is in a much better spot.

6. Washington

  • Record: 5-1
  • Playoff Chances: 20%

A one-loss Pac-12 champion isn’t guaranteed to reach the College Football Playoff, but it should have a pretty good chance, assuming there’s some chaos in November.

The Huskies play at Oregon this week in probably their toughest test remaining. Oregon would be working itself into the CFP conversation if not for that debacle against Stanford.

7. The … Big 12?

West Virginia remains undefeated, but still has to play Texas and Oklahoma. There’s a loss in there.

I believe a one-loss Texas would get in, assuming some chaos ensues elsewhere, and winning out isn’t as unlikely as you’d think. Oklahoma could do the same, but that defense needs serious work.

FiveThirtyEight gives each of these teams a 14% or 13% chance to make the Playoff. It’s possible one represents the league, but good luck guessing which after Texas’ upset of Oklahoma on Saturday.

8. The … Rest of the Big Ten?

Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin each have one loss, but the Wolverines and Badgers more or less control their own destinies since they can win out and snatch the Big Ten title from Ohio State. But they play this week, so one will be eliminated.

The Nittany Lions have a better chance at reaching the College Football Playoff than winning the Big Ten.


Fading Fast

9. All But Eliminated

LSU, Kentucky and Stanford all played themselves out this weekend.

Sure, LSU and Kentucky each have one loss. But neither is running the table. Get real.

10. UCF

The College Football Playoff committee never took UCF seriously last year, which is fine. That schedule was awful.

But remember Houston in 2016? The Cougars were coming off an excellent season and knocked off No. 5 Oklahoma to open the year. They got to No. 6 in the AP Poll themselves.

Trouble is, Houston lost before the College Football Playoff rankings came out. We never got to see where a Group of 5 team doubling down on last year’s success, with a high-quality win, would be ranked.

UCF has last year’s pedigree and is rolling, but no marquee wins. The committee loves strength of schedule, or it loves using it to shape its narrative. UCF doesn’t fit that narrative.

Credit:

Credit: Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Notre Dame Fighting Irisg wide receiver Miles Boykin (81) catches a second half pass in front of Virginia Tech Hokies defender Jovonn Quillen (26) at Lane Stadium.

Follow Steve Petrella on Twitter
@steve_petrella

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SCHEDULE
OPEN
CURR
# BETS
MSU
MICH
+6.5
47.5
+7.5
41
LSU
MSST
-6.5
44.5
-6.5
46
TEM
CIN
-3.5
48.5
-3.5
47.5
ECU
UCF
+24
64.5
+21.5
65.5
USF
CONN
-31
70
-32.5
69
WASH
COLO
-17
51
-17
50
TCU
OKLA
+7.5
61
+7.5
62
WSU
ORE
-2
66
-3
68.5
UK
VAN
-11.5
48
-11.5
46
TENN
BAMA
+28.5
58
+29
57.5
CLEM
NCST
-17
53.5
-17.5
57.5
IOWA
MD
-13.5
51.5
-9
42.5
PUR
OSU
+12
64.5
+13
69
WISC
ILL
-25.5
54.5
-24
56
IND
PSU
+13
62
+14
58