Three Games That Will Effect The College Football Playoffs
With the initial CFP rankings recently released, fans all over the country are wondering what their team can do to rise in the polls and enter the Top 4.
The majority of teams with a legitimate shot at making the CFP are going to start entering the most important stretches in their schedule. Listed below are three games that will have the greatest impact on determining how the rankings play out, and what teams can salvage a spot in the playoffs.
No. 2 LSU at No. 4 Alabama,November 7th
One of the best rivalries in the SEC is between the Tigers and the Crimson Tide. In the past 10 meetings, Alabama leads the series 6-4. This shows you how close these teams are to each other each year. Last years matchup was your typical grind it out battle that we’ve come to expect, with Alabama winning, 20-13, in overtime.
This year, LSU is the higher ranked team and open as 6.5-point favorites. Last year, Alabama was the underdog and they obliterated Georgia. Don't expect the same thing to happen. Leonard Fournette is healthy and leads the country in rushing yards. The Tide have their own bruising back in Derrick Henry. This game will come down to the quarterbacks, Jake Coker for Alabama and Brandon Harris for the Tigers.
The winner this year puts themselves in a great position for the CFP. If LSU wins, they control their own destiny to win the SEC West. If Alabama wins, they still need Ole Miss to lose in order to control the West, despite a top five ranking. No matter the outcome, this game should be fun to watch and leave a lasting impact on the outcome of the final CFP rankings.
No. 7 Michigan State at No. 3 Ohio State, November 21st
Ohio State has dominated this rivalry lately, winning eight of the last 10 games against the Spartans, including a 49-37 victory last season in East Lansing.
Both teams have struggled this year against lesser opponents, but remain undefeated. Michigan State’s quarterback Connor Cook continues to lead the Spartan offense. J.T Barrett has taken over the starter quarterback position for the Buckeyes and the offense has been solid for the time being.
Ohio State and Michigan State aren’t just in the Top 10 -- they are the remaining unbeaten teams in the Big 10 East. OSU would still have a tough game against Michigan the next week, but the winner controls the East division, and the winner will likely secure a spot for the Big 10 championship game.
No. 6 Baylor at No. 8 TCU, November 27th
Last year’s match-up between the Bears and Horned Frogs was an absolute barnburner, with Baylor edging out a 61-58 victory. Since 2005, these teams have played each other seven times, with TCU winning the series four to three, but Baylor has won the last two.
This season’s game should be no different than last year’s, high scoring and not a lot of defense. Baylor and TCU are the top scoring teams in the country, scoring 61.1 and 48.9 points per game respectively. However, their defenses are mediocre. TCU gives up 24.5 points per game, 53rd in the country, and Baylor gives up 25.1, 59th in the country.
There’s still a lot of top tier games to be played in the Big 12, but this matchup is considered to be the makeshift Big 12 Championship game. If both teams come into the game undefeated, the matchup takes on another level of importance. Both teams got spurned by the CFP selection committee because they were both named co-Big 12 champ. That shouldn't happen this year. Winner of this game wins the BIG 12, and claims a spot in the Top 4. Loser, while still great with what should be one loss, gets spurned again, but at least for a good reason this season.
These games all feature teams currently in the top 10. By the time they actually play each other, the rankings could look very different, but as of right now these are some big games to watch. These teams are so closely bunched together that it makes for not only a better game to watch as a fan, but a loss for any of them almost guarantees a fallout from contention.