There may be just four undefeated teams remaining in college football, but the real watch is on the one-loss teams that are now battling for positioning in the eyes of the College Football Playoff committee. This much is certain; there will be a team with at least one loss in the College Football Playoff. With four spots to fill and a maximum of three undefeated teams possible this season and one undefeated not expected to be considered for playoff consideration, the debates will carry on over which one-loss team has the best overall profile.
There are a number of teams with one loss with a solid case to make for a playoff push if they can keep winning football games. There are others who may face an uphill battle due to upcoming schedules or other factors. Here are the one-loss teams, broken into two categories based on the chance they can make a playoff case or not.
THE TOP CANDIDATES
Alabama (6-1) – Crimson Tide coming off a resounding thumping of Texas A&M, will host Mississippi State and Auburn later this year.
Auburn (5-1) – Off this week but Tigers have a challenging schedule remaining including resurgent Georgia and Alabama.
Baylor (6-1) – Suffered first loss at West Virginia, still has Oklahoma on the schedule too.
Georgia (6-1) – Clearly the best in the SEC East, favorable schedule includes home game against Auburn.
Kansas State (5-1) – Coming off huge win at Oklahoma, in first place in Big 12. Oklahoma State, TCU and Baylor still to play.
Michigan State (6-1) – Still holding on to team-to-beat status in Big Ten for now, but still has Ohio State on schedule.
Mississippi State (6-0)/Ole Miss (7-0) – Both are currently undefeated, but will face each other in final game of regular season, so we’ll include them each in this conversation for now.
Nebraska (6-1) – Cornhuskers have a manageable path to Big Ten championship game but road trips to Wisconsin and Iowa not automatic.
Notre Dame (6-1) – Irish pushed Florida State to the limit and still has road games against Arizona State and USC.
Ohio State (5-1) – Buckeyes have been getting stronger each week since losing to Virginia Tech. Road trip to Michigan State looms.
Oregon (6-1) – Best team in the Pac-12? Oregon still has to solve Stanford’s defense and a road trip to Utah looks a bit more imposing now.
TCU (5-1) – The big tests are now behind TCU, but road trip to West Virginia followed by home vs. Kansas State could be challenging.
Arizona (5-1)/Arizona State (5-1) – These Pac-12 rivals still have to play each other, so one will be knocked down to a minimum of two losses. Arizona State also gets Notre Dame at home. Arizona plays at UCLA and both have Utah remaining.
Colorado State (6-1) – Rams will not enter playoff discussion, but a case is beginning to become stronger for access bowl consideration. Rams probably get edge over undefeated Marshall.
Duke (6-1) – Duke could very well be heading back to the ACC Championship Game this season, but can they get by Florida State in a rematch? ACC Coastal still wide open too, but Duke is capable of getting through it.
East Carolina (5-1) – East Carolina would love to have that South Carolina game back. Pirates will not enter playoff conversation, but currently feel like leader among pack for Group of Five access bowl spot.
Minnesota (6-1) – Gophers off to a terrific start (only loss at TCU), but Minnesota faces brutal second half schedule with Iowa, Ohio State, @ Nebraska, @ Wisconsin to end season.
Utah (5-1) – Utes also off to great start but face challenging second half with games against USC, Arizona State, Oregon, Stanford and Arizona in consecutive weeks.
Which one-loss team do you feel has the best chance to reach the College Football Playoff? Starting next week (October 28) we will all get a sense of how teams are stacking up in the eyes of the selection committee. The selection committee will begin sharing its top 25 ranking to allow for an inside look at the committee’s logic.