Wilson: Remaining Point Spread Projections & Scenarios for Every College Football Playoff Contender

Wilson: Remaining Point Spread Projections & Scenarios for Every College Football Playoff Contender article feature image
Credit:

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: CJ Verdell

  • Collin Wilson breaks down the College Football Playoff scenario for each team in the race.
  • See the projected spreads for each contender's remaining games below.

The first College Football Playoff rankings come out in one week, but there’s still so much football to be played.

There are of course four slots, and they’re shaping up like this.

  • One to the SEC champion
  • One to Clemson if it wins out and wins the ACC
  • One to an unbeaten or one-loss Big Ten champion
  • One to…well, that’s complicated

Right now, I’m projecting Georgia to get slot No. 1, Clemson in No. 2, Ohio State in No. 3, and TBD in No. 4.

Here’s how the rest shakes out.

Slot 1: Georgia (SEC Champion)

Remaining Schedule & Projected Spreads

  • Florida -5
  • Missouri -13
  • at Auburn +1
  • Texas A&M -10.5
  • at Georgia Tech -28
  • LSU +4.5 (potential SEC Championship)

What They Need to Do

Georgia must sweep the remaining schedule that includes Florida on a neutral, at Auburn as a potential underdog and the winner of Alabama and LSU in the SEC Championship game. Six straight wins against this projected path would lock up the No. 1 for the College Football Playoff.

Expect Auburn-Georgia to be a slow-paced trench battle won by the best offensive line in the country. Assuming LSU beats a Tua-less Alabama, Georgia would have minor advantages over the Tigers. The Bulldogs are number one in the country in opponent red zone scoring.

Slot 2: Clemson (ACC Champion)

Remaining Schedule & Projected Spreads

  • Wofford (N/A)
  • at NC State -27
  • Wake Forest -28.5
  • at South Carolina -23.5
  • Miami -24 (potential ACC Championship)

What They Need to Do

The Tigers could drop a game during the regular season and still win the ACC. There is a long history of teams to make the College Football Playoff with losses to teams with less than eight wins, but Clemson wouldn’t be a shoo-in.

Slot 3: Ohio State (Big Ten Champion)

Remaining Schedule & Projected Spreads

  • Maryland -40.5
  • at Rutgers -52
  • Penn State -15
  • at Michigan -14
  • Minnesota -24 (potential Big Ten Championship)

What They Need to Do

A one-loss Ohio State could still miss the College Football Playoff with a loss to Penn State.

A victory over Penn State may seal the College Football Playoff, as a loss at Michigan would still slot the Buckeyes in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Slot 4: Oklahoma (Big 12 Champion)

Remaining Schedule & Projected Spreads

  • Iowa State -15.5
  • at Baylor -10
  • TCU -20
  • at Oklahoma State -12
  • Baylor -13 (potential Big 12 Championship)

What They Need to Do

Oklahoma had a post-game win expectancy of 65% in a one-score loss to Kansas State.

A sweep of the remaining schedule and a statement game in the Big 12 Championship should get the Sooners back into the playoff.

A successful November from Kansas State may also help the cause. The committee will put a conference champion Oklahoma in the field over a two-loss team.

Slot 4: Alabama (At-Large)

Remaining Schedule & Projected Spreads

  • LSU -7.5
  • at Mississippi State -23.5
  • Western Carolina (N/A)
  • at Auburn -8.5
  • Georgia -9.5 (potential SEC Championship)

What They Need to Do

The path is clear for Alabama — beat LSU, and a potential loss to Auburn will not hurt advancement to the SEC Championship Game.

But I’ve got the Tigers winning that game, which I think eliminates Alabama.

The potential title game against Georgia would mark a fifth game in 28 days, with three against teams in Action Network Top 10. The projections above are with a healthy Tua Tagovailoa, and any further injury to the quarterback would severely affect Alabama’s chances to make the playoff.

Slot 4: Penn State (At-Large)

Remaining Schedule & Projected Spreads

  • at Minnesota -9
  • Indiana -17
  • at Ohio State +15
  • Rutgers -45
  • Minnesota -11.5 (potential Big Ten Championship)

What They Need to Do

The Nittany Lions have a trickier path than it might seem. Minnesota is one of the top defenses in the nation when it comes to pass explosiveness and also have a top 30 unit in havoc. If Michael Penix Jr. is healthy for Indiana, there is potential for an upset in an overlook spot.

Ohio State is the big one on this schedule, as a loss in the Horseshoe relegates the Lions to a strength of schedule argument against other at-large teams, and probably keeps them out.

Slot 4: LSU (At-Large)

Remaining Schedule & Projected Spreads

  • at Alabama +7.5
  • at Ole Miss -19.5
  • Arkansas -35.5
  • Texas A&M -14.5
  • vs. Georgia -4.5 (potential SEC Championship Game)

What They Need to Do

I’m projecting LSU to lose to Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, so it needs some other chaos to happen to reach the College Football Playoff as a one-loss, non-conference champion.

Slot 4: Utah (Pac-12 Champion)

Remaining Schedule & Projected Spreads

  • at Washington -3.5
  • UCLA -24
  • at Arizona -14
  • Colorado -24
  • Oregon -1 (potential Pac-12 Championship)

Slot 4: Oregon (Pac-12 Champion)

Remaining Schedule & Projected Spreads

  • at USC -5.5
  • Arizona -17.5
  • at Arizona State -10
  • Oregon State -24
  • Utah +1 (potential Pac-12 Championship)

What The Pac-12 Needs to Do

We lump Utah and Oregon together for a common goal of getting the West Coast into the Playoff. Week 10 is the biggest weekend for the conference, as both Utah and Oregon are single-digit road favorites.

A loss by both team officially disqualifies the Pac-12 from the Playoff. A loss by one of the teams may tarnish the Pac 12 Championship game in Santa Clara.

In the case or Oregon, beating USC a second time may not be enough for the selection committee depending on what happens elsewhere.

Slot 4: Florida (SEC Champion)

Remaining Schedule & Projected Spreads

  • Georgia +7
  • Vanderbilt -23
  • at Missouri -1
  • Florida State -11
  • LSU +11.5 (potential SEC Championship)

What They Need to Do

The Gators have the most difficult and improbable path to the playoff, which stands as the reason the Westgate lists their odds to win it all at 40-1. An upset victory in the cocktail party would need to be followed up by a win at Missouri.

Even with a potential double-digit underdog victory against the SEC West champ, Florida would not make the College Football Playoff with a loss to Florida State.

The committee has yet to take any team with two losses, including a two-loss Ohio State Big Ten champion a couple of years ago.

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