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Which undefeated has the best chance to reach the CFP?

Current Undefeated Teams in the FBS

8. Cincinnati 6-0 (AAC):  Cincy is one of the best kept secrets in 2018 and their open day victory over UCLA, 26-17, has long ago been dismissed as the Bruins have struggled mightily this season!! The fact is they are the 2nd best recruiting program in the Group of 5. Only Boise State has recruited better than the Bearcats the past four years. This is a composite rank from three recruiting site ESPN, 247 Sports, & Rivals! Cincinnati could go down on Saturday as the lace em up vs Temple, as they are a three and a half point Dog to the Owls! It is unlikely that the Bearcats will finish unbeaten, if they survive Temple, they still have Navy & USF @ Home and UCF on the Road. Cincy is currently ranked 20th in the AP Poll & 21st by the Coaches Poll and there is simply no way for them to play themselves into the top 4, however, if the win out, they will have played themselves into a New Years 6 Bowl!

7. South Florida 6-0 (AAC): The Bulls have the toughest schedule of the three remaining AAC undefeated teams! They have road games vs Houston, Cincy, & Temple all capable of pulling the upset in their home arenas! If that is not enough of a gauntlet, in their season finale, the Bulls welcome in-state power & rival, UCF to Raymond James Stadium! South Florida has beaten 2 P5’s Georgia Tech, 49-38 & Illinois, 25-19. Neither of these teams (GT is 3-4 & Illini are 3-3) currently have a winning record and both will struggle to make a bowl game in 2018!

The Bulls are currently ranked 21st  in the AP Poll and 20th in the Coaches Poll! It is simply not possible for USF to play their way into the Top 4 in the remaining weeks of the 2018 season. Yet, like Cincy, they can play their way into a New Year’s 6 Bowl by winning out!

6. Central Florida 6-0 (AAC): The Knights are the best example why a G5 team will not get in to to the CFP. They are currently ranked 10th in the AP Poll in week 8, as they were in week 7! Four Top 10 teams lost, Georgia to LSU, 36-16, West Virginia to Iowa State, 30-14, Penn State to Michigan State, 21-17 & Washington to Oregon in OT, 30-27. So why is UCF still 10? Three one loss Power 5 teams, LSU, Michigan, & Texas moved right past the Knights into the Top Ten and Georgia, who lost, stayed in front of them!

The reality, the perception, the truth, or pick one, even for the AAC, which is widely regarded as the best G5 Conference, is that their schedules are not as good and therefore they are less deserving! The best any AAC team can hope for is a New Year’s 6 Bowl Game! Last year, UCF went undefeated (14-0) and beat Auburn (who beat both CFP finalist. Bama, 26-14 & Georgia, 40-17) in the Peach Bowl, 34-27.

SCFP has advocated for a few years now, that the G5 Conferences should have a play-off similar to the FCS Tournament. A Final Four would cost them, as they would lose access to the bowl revenue, a 16 to 20 teams play-off would be required! Either way, these 3 undefeated AAC teams are not getting in the CFP!

5. NC State 5-0 (ACC): The Wolfpack was scheduled to play West Virginia on Sept. 15, but weather forced the game’s cancellation. Had that game been played, NC State may not be appearing in this report! If you look at their wins, James Madison, 24-13, Georgia State, 41-7, @ Marshall, 37-20, Virginia, 35-21, & BC, 28-23, none of those teams are currently ranked by the AP or coaches polls! However, SCFP page has BC (5-2) ranked 24th after a sound pounding of Louisville, 38-20 this past week end!

That said, this can all change this week end as NC State heads south to South Carolina & Clemson. The last 3 games have been competitive,yet Clemson has won all three, 56-41 in 2015, 24-17 in OT, & 38-31 in 2017!  A loss here and NC State is out of the CFP, a win and they raise their stock, but even if they win and then win out, no guarantees! Even an undefeated NC State would be at risk if LSU beats Bama (would they get in in front of a one lost Alabama, undefeated, Big 10 Champ OSU and an Undefeated ND)? NC State needs to win out and have Bama lose a second game or OSU / ND lose a game. That scenario is more likely, then the Wolfpack beating the Tigers on Saturday in Death Valley. NC Stat’s loss on Saturday will knock them out of the CFP and New Year’s 6 Bowl games!

4. Notre Dame 7-0 (IND): As we lined up to start the 2018 season, I thought the Irish would win 9 games and 10 with a bowl win. Unlike others, who think the remaining teams on ND’s schedule are not up to the task of taking down the Irish, I look at rosters and form a completely different perspective. FSU and USC have better rosters than ND, SC is the 5th best recruiting program in the country and Florida State is 6th, while the Irish are 10th!. So… while the Trojans are young & the Seminoles have a weak O-line, neither team lacks talent. The ND game allows FSU an opportunity to regain some of their pride and however unlikely, SC is still in the hunt for a P-12 title and at least, getting in the CFP conversation. SC will see a win over ND as a step in restoring some of their & P-12 tarnished image!  These teams (FSU & USC) will line up and get after it vs ND!

That said, ND is quite capable of taking care of both the Seminoles & the Trojans, I think their biggest challenge is their own Athletic Director. Starting Oct. 27th, the Irish will begin a marathon of cross country (literally) travel. Playing Navy in San Diego, then head to Chicago to take on NW, back to South Bend for FSU, then head to Yankee Stadium to play Syracuse, and finally out to LA to play SC, all in a five week period! That much travel for a college football team is ridiculous and the Irish will lose at least one and maybe two before the end of the season!

The Irish will play their way into a New Year’s Six bowl, but sorry to predict, they will not make the CFP! You will hear a lot about this travel in the coming weeks and no; Notre Dame should not join a conference, how about scheduling with some common sense!

3. Ohio State 7-0 (B-10): The Bucks are the second most talented team in college football, behind only Alabama! So the question is why is a team this talented allowing so many big plays?

  • In the Oregon State game, Trevor Bradford had a 49 yard TD pass and Artavis Pierce ran 80 yards for a TD and the 76 yards for another TD! Where is the speed in OSU’s secondary?
  • In the TCU game, Darius Anderson ran 93 yards for a TD
  • In the PSU game, KJ Hamier caught a short pass over the middle and outran the OSU defenders for 93 yard scoring play!

OSU has a trap game this week vs Purdue in West Lafayette. The Boilers had a disappointing start to the season, losing 3 in a row @ home to start the season, but have righted the ship winning their last three outings. Purdue can sustain drives and has the most explosive player in the B-10 in Rondale Morris! They have also taking on Jeff Brahm’s no nonsense personality and play with an edge! The Bucks also travel to East Lancing to take on MSU and then have that Team from “up north” who will come a calling on 11/24/18! Nick Bosa announced today he will not be returning to his team and has left school to prepare himself for the NFL draft!

It is likely that OSU will lose 1 game along the way and so the question becomes, can a one loss B-10 champ get into the CFP? Remember, the B-10 Champ has been shut out of the CFP the past 2 years! Let the intrigue begin in West Lafayette!

2. Clemson 6-0 (ACC): Since the Texas a&m game, Clemson has recommitted to running the football. At College Station, the Tigers were held to 115 yards rushing. Since then a much different story, 309 rushing yards vs Georgia Southern, 248 rushing yards vs Georgia Tech, 293 against Syracuse, and 471 vs Wake Forest! They have determined the best way to support their freshman QB, Trevor Lawrence, is to run the ball! Clemson’s biggest challenge may be this week vs an undefeated NC State, although the do have rivalry games vs Florida State (an underachieving but very talented team) and against in-state foe, South Carolina!

Clemson has the best defensive line in the country, is currently ranked 3rd in the nation in rush defense, allowing 261.2 YPG, and 6th in the country in pass defense, @ 152.8 YPG! Their schedule is favorable as 4 of their remaining 6 games are at home, and the two road games are @ FSU and BC, two good opponents that could pull off the upset. That fact will likely help the coaches ensure a good week of practice and focus on game day! That said, because to their talent on defense, their new found commitment to their running game, and their schedule; Clemson is the 2nd most likely club to reach the CPF!

1. Alabama 7-0 (SEC): The Tide has left little doubt but that they are the best team in college football in 2018. However, they are not unbeatable and not guaranteed a spot in the CFP because of the jersey they wear on Saturday’s! Like everybody else they have to perform! Here are some of the facts as to why we say their the best team in 2018!

  1. 2nd best in the country on 3rd down conversions a, 57% chance they will convert!
  2. 4th in the nation is completion percentage, a 71% chance they will complete every pass they attempt!
  3. Tied for 2nd in Defensive Touchdowns, 4 INT’s returned for TD’s
  4. Passes Intercepted by Opponents, 2nd in the land, the Tide has thrown 1 INT!
  5. Passing Offense, 5th best in the country, 350.3 YPG!
  6. Scoring Defense, 7th in the nation, allowing 15.1 PPG!
  7. Scoring Offense, 1st in the nation, scoring 53. 6 PPG!
  8. Team Passing Efficiency, 1st in the country, a 27 to 1 ratio (TD’s to INT’s)
  9. Total Offense, 1st in the country, 567 YPG
  10. Turnover Margin, 4th in the land, a plus 11 or a 1.57 advantage in each game!
  11. Winning Percentage, Tied for 1st @ 1.000%

Their are several other statistical categories where Bama is in the top 25, put simply, they have the best players, the best coach in college football, and exhibit the best mental focus of any team in the country … meaning, when things go sideways, they step up … they do not point fingers! The biggest threat to the Tide is LSU and even if they lose that game, a one lost Alabama is likely to get in unless; ND, Ohio State, Clemson are all unbeaten. Even then, the debate would rage about ” Best Team” should get in over a conference champ or an undefeated Independent! Bama is the most likely of the current undefeated teams to get the CFP!

 

 

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