2019 College Football Rankings: How the Playoff Top 25 Would Look After Week 8

2019 College Football Rankings: How the Playoff Top 25 Would Look After Week 8 article feature image
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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jack Coan

  • Here's what we think the College Football Playoff rankings would look like after Week 8.
  • While we're still 2.5 weeks from the committee's first Top 25, we can speculate based on body of work and what each team has left.
  • Using our betting power ratings that can project point spreads between any two teams, it's easier to identify who has a realistic shot to finish with one loss or fewer.

We won’t get the actual College Football Playoff rankings until Tuesday, Nov. 5, but we can still do our best to project what the committee might do.

We’re not actually trying to predict who the best teams are — we rank every team here in our oddsmaker-style betting power ratings. Instead, we’re trying to figure out what the College Football Playoff committee will do in a few weeks.

The full ratings (which easily allow you to create approximate point spreads between any two teams) are available to Action EDGE members.

Projected College Football Playoff Rankings, Week 8

Our projections are based on five years of College Football Playoff rankings and try to mirror what the committee will do, not how good these teams actually are. For that, check out our betting power ratings.

 

We’ve split the remaining College Football Playoff contenders into four groups.

  • The elite teams that will be favored in all remaining games.
  • The teams that control their own destiny but will need to beat the elite teams as sizable underdogs.
  • The teams that need to win out and need chaos elsewhere.
  • The teams that no one expected to be this good and will be an underdog in multiple remaining games, but if they did win out, they’d get in.

We’ve also compiled each team’s toughest games (excluding conference championships) and the point spread for those games according to our oddsmaker-style power ratings, plus FiveThirtyEight.com’s playoff projection percentages.

The Contenders

Alabama

  • Record: 7-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 51%
  • Toughest Games: vs. LSU (-9), at Auburn (-13.5)

Uh oh. Tua Tagovailoa went down with a nasty-looking ankle injury against Tennessee, and Jalen Hurts is no longer there to back him up.

The Tide will turn to Mac Jones, a 3-star recruit in the Class of 2017, for the next few weeks. Coach Nick Saban says his star quarterback will only miss a week or two.

Our Collin Wilson says Tua is worth about a touchdown to the spread, so that game against LSU could be close to a pick’em if he can’t go.

Ohio State

  • Record: 7-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 55%
  • Toughest Games: vs. Wisconsin (-16.5), vs. PSU (-17), at Michigan (-16)

The Buckeyes just continue to roll, adding another blowout to their belt with a 52-3 win over Northwestern on Friday night.

Ohio State could be a two-touchdown favorite in all its remaining games.

Clemson

  • Record: 7-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 81%
  • Toughest Games: at South Carolina (-22.5)

Clemson blew out Louisville on Saturday, and while the narrative around this team isn’t the same as it is for Ohio State, LSU and Alabama, the Tigers will be right there in the end.

Clemson should be a three-touchdown favorite in all its remaining games, which is why it has by far the highest percentage chance to make the College Football Playoff.

Oklahoma

  • Record: 7-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 52%
  • Toughest Games: at Baylor (-13.5), at OK State (-11.5)

Oklahoma should be a double-digit favorite in all its remaining games, even the Big 12 Championship Game. The defense is legit, and the offense hasn’t missed a beat.

The Contenders That Need an Upset or Two

LSU

  • Record: 7-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 32%
  • Toughest Games: at Alabama (+9), vs. Auburn (-12.5)

LSU could be a double-digit favorite in all of its remaining games but that road date with Alabama, which complicates things.

If the Tigers win out and lose to Bama, there’s a real chance they can reach the College Football Playoff — just like Alabama did in 2017 with a very similar body of work. But they would need a little help, like Ohio State, Oklahoma or Clemson losing.

If LSU can shock Alabama, it’s possibly in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 overall seed.

Penn State

  • Record: 7-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 20%
  • Toughest Games: at Ohio State (+17), at Michigan State (-7.5)

The Nittany Lions didn’t look perfect against Michigan, but hung on to win — something James Franklin-coached teams haven’t always done against the big name programs in the Big Ten.

Penn State is very much in contention for a CFP spot, but that November date with Ohio State looms.

Teams Clinging to Some Hope

Oregon

  • Record: 6-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 19%
  • Toughest Games: vs. Wash. State (-10)

The Ducks survived a thriller at Washington on Saturday, maybe their toughest test left.

There’s still an outside shot Oregon reaches the College Football Playoff, but will need some chaos in the SEC and Big Ten, in particular.

Georgia

  • Record: 6-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 16%
  • Toughest Games: vs. Florida (-7), at Auburn (-2.5)

The Dawgs still control their own destiny to the College Football Playoff, but maybe they’re just not that good.

A 21-0 win over Kentucky in the rain on Saturday didn’t inspire a ton of hope.

Notre Dame

  • Record: 5-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 10%
  • Toughest Games: at Michigan (PK), at Stanford (-15)

Notre Dame’s schedule really lightens up in the second half after a date at Michigan next week.

The Irish will be a double-digit favorite against every team except Michigan, with its toughest other contests being at Duke and at Stanford.

That’s very doable. Like Oregon, it needs to win out and see chaos elsewhere.

Utah

  • Record: 6-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 10%
  • Toughest Games: at Washington (-1.5)

Like Oregon, the one-loss Utes will need to run the table and get some help from the rest of the country to have a shot. Utah and Oregon might meet in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

Auburn

  • Record: 6-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 9%
  • Toughest Games: vs. Alabama (+12), at LSU (+12.5)

The one-loss Tigers will need to pull some upsets down the stretch to have a chance at an SEC West title or the College Football Playoff.

Beating down Arkansas on Saturday was certainly a good start, and Auburn does control its own destiny. It’s just a difficult destiny.

Florida

  • Record: 7-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 11%
  • Toughest Games: vs. Georgia (+7), at Missouri (-1)

Florida will need to survive at Missouri and South Carolina, beat Georgia on a neutral field and then beat likely LSU or Alabama in the SEC Championship Game as a double-digit underdog to have a chance at the playoff.

That’s a rough road. The SEC is unforgiving.

Wisconsin

  • Record: 6-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 7%
  • Toughest Games: at Ohio State (+16), vs. Iowa (-4)

An outright loss to Illinois doesn’t eliminate the Badgers, but boy does it hurt. They’ll need to beat Ohio State next week, then beat (probably) Ohio State again in the Big Ten Championship Game, both times as double-digit underdogs.

Contending, Still

This group of teams would absolutely make the College Football Playoff if they win out. Trouble is, winning out will be very difficult.

Baylor

  • Record: 6-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 14%
  • Toughest Games: vs. Oklahoma (+13), vs. Texas (+3)

It’s hard to believe, but Baylor has a greater than 10% chance to reach the College Football Playoff.

The Bears’ bid would likely require two wins over Oklahoma.

Minnesota

  • Record: 7-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 4%
  • Toughest Games: vs. Penn State (+9.5), vs. Wisconsin (+9), at Iowa (+7.5)

We talked all offseason about how nicely Minnesota’s schedule set up. The Gophers have not been impressive by most measures, but they’re 7-0 and should enter the home stretch at 8-0.

They could be at least a touchdown underdog three times in those final four games, though.

Eliminated Saturday

Michigan

  • Record: 5-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: <1%
  • Toughest Games: Notre Dame (PK), at Ohio State (+16)

No one expected Michigan to actually make a run this season given how poor it has looked, but a second loss ends any hopes they did have.

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