Oct 21, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; A general view of the College Football Playoff National Championship trophy on display in the end zone during a timeout during the fourth quarter of the game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Michigan 42-13. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

College football playoff outlook

The top four teams in the college football playoff rankings stayed the same for the second straight week.


Playoff Outlook

College football is near the finish line on the regular season. There are two more weeks before the regular season ends and conference championship games begin.

As it sits right now, the top four is Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan and TCU, in that order.

Georgia is the defending national champions and have been dominant this year. They have steamrolled the SEC and most notably defeated Tennessee, who held the No. 1 spot at the time of the matchup. Ohio State and Michigan have both gone undefeated in the Big-10 thus far.

These three teams are no strangers to the playoffs, having all appeared in the college football playoffs previously. The surprise on the list is TCU.

Texas Christian University (TCU) is 10-0 on the season and has beaten every challenge thrown its way. They have been cruising through the Big-12, beating conference opponents like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and most recently Texas.

Each team at the top of the college football playoff ranking is having a magical season. Every team in the top four is undefeated and the leaders of their respective power-five conference. However, the road to glory only gets harder from here on out.

SEC Path to the Playoffs

Georgia looks to be all but headed to another college football playoff. This week, they go on the road to face 6-4 Kentucky, then conclude the regular season the next week against 4-6 Georgia Tech. Barring two losses, Georgia will be headed back to the SEC Championship game. The Bulldogs will likely play an 8-2 LSU team, who recently took down Alabama.

Georgia will be heavily favored in all these games as well as being the undisputed No. 1 seed if they go undefeated the rest of the way. With a win over Tennessee two weeks ago, who ranks second in the SEC East and fifth in the playoff rankings, Georgia can afford a loss as they still have the head-to-head win over the next best SEC team.

BIG-10 Teams Clashing

The next path to the playoff is through the Big-10. Ohio State and Michigan come in the ranking at two and three. The college football hopes for the Buckeyes and Wolverines fall on the Nov. 26 matchup between the two teams. They are both in the Big-10 East and only one will get their ticket punched to the Big-10 Championship.

The winner of this game will likely be secured a playoff spot and will go play for the Big-10 Championship against the winner of the BIG-10 West. The loser of this game could technically still make the playoffs, but they would no longer hold control over their own destiny, needing other teams to lose for them to find a spot in the playoff.

TCU Playoff Hopes

TCU finishes off the season with its next two games on the road. This week, the team is traveling to be tested by 6-4 Baylor and then finish its season against 4-6 Iowa State. Both Baylor and Iowa State are in-conference opponents and likely to play TCU tough.

TCU has already secured a spot in the Big-12 Championship game. They will play the second-best team in the conference, which will take the next two weeks to determine. This championship game will be the third conference matchup TCU plays to end the season. Winning out would help TCU avoid stress in the playoff decision making process. A one loss TCU team will be compared to all other one loss teams in the hunt. The playoffs could feel more confident in a one loss SEC or Big-10 team.

College football is unpredictable, and the playoff picture can change a lot in a week. The playoff hopes of many teams are still alive as anything can happen on Saturdays.

About Nicholas Rubino

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