Over the weekend, three teams suffered their first loss of the season; Oklahoma, LSU, and Kentucky. As recent history has shown, one loss is far from enough to eliminate any one team from the College Football Playoff if they come from a power conference, so the Sooners, Tigers and Wildcats still have plenty to play for moving forward, but they now join the jumble of one-loss teams that are now potentially looking for a little bit of help along the way.
In total, there are now 11 undefeated FBS programs left standings, and there can be a maximum of seven teams without a loss at the end of the season. The undefeated teams are:
- NC State
- Notre Dame
- Ohio State
- South Florida
- West Virginia
From that list, a maximum of seven teams can end the regular season (and conference championship game) without a loss before the bowl season. Alabama and Georgia are the last two undefeated teams in the SEC and could potentially face each other in the SEC Championship Game with unblemished records, meaning somebody will have to lose then if not before. Clemson and NC State, the last two undefeated teams in the ACC, are off this week but meet next week in a division game. There goes another undefeated team. The AAC also has three undefeated teams in Cincinnati, South Florida, and UCF, but all three reside in the same division and have yet to play each other on the conference schedule yet. Only one team can go without a loss if any do at all.
Will any of these undefeated teams go down this week? Here is what is on tap for each this week:
South Florida at Tulsa: The Bulls travel to Tulsa on Friday night in a tricky matchup. Tulsa just gave Houston a good scare last week before big plays ultimately led to another loss for the Golden Hurricane. Can South Florida avoid being tripped up after a close call at home against East Carolina? The Bulls could be in some trouble here.
Ohio State vs. Minnesota: After a somewhat concerning showing against Indiana, look for the Buckeyes to roll against the Gophers at home.
Notre Dame vs. Pittsburgh: The Irish are on the rise and host a Pitt team that has been blown out by Penn State and UCF already this season. But the Panthers have a knack for scoring a notable upset. Can they pull off a stunner in South Bend?
Georgia at LSU: LSU is coming off a hard-fought road loss at Florida, but could still pose a serious threat to Georgia. The Bulldogs will have their toughest challenge of the season in a mid-afternoon game in Death Valley. If Georgia survives this, their biggest hurdle to getting to the SEC Championship Game and to do so without a loss will be Florida. Georgia is off after this week to prepare for their showdown with the Gators in Jacksonville in two weeks. Winning in Baton Rouge is new easy task, however.
UCF at Memphis: UCF beat Memphis twice last season but the Tigers appeared to be the biggest challenge to the Knights in the AAC. Playing at home should be a benefit to Memphis, but the Tigers have been a bit more unpredictable this season while UCF continues to cook. Expect Memphis to give UCF a run, but keeping pace on the scoreboard with the Knights may once again be too much to ask for the Tigers.
Alabama vs. Missouri: Alabama will be 7-0. Moving on.
West Virginia at Iowa State: Although Iowa State had a rough start to the year, they have been feisty and competitive. A home game against West Virginia will see the Cyclones try to slow things down for the Mountaineers in an attempt to turn the game into the kind of game that favors Iowa State. West Virginia has been looking pretty good, but Iowa State is not to be taken for granted. This could be a difficult spot for WVU.
Colorado at USC: The power conference team most probably expect to be taking a loss this weekend might be Colorado. USC is a favorite at home in this key Pac-12 South matchup, but the Buffs have talent on offense to make some big plays. A win for Colorado in the Coliseum would put them on a clearer track back to the Pac-12 Championship Game even with Washington on deck.
Clemson, NC State, and Cincinnati are all off this week, so they are guaranteed to remain undefeated this time next week. How many of those playing in Week 7 will join them?