Week 11 preview: Booking trips to championship weekend

13 November, 2017, 02:16 | Author: Kim Reid
  • The Biggest Threats College Football Contenders Still Face

The potential for upsets certainly exists as some rivalries and division showdowns take center stage throughout the day Saturday with some of the biggest games of the season to this point. Through this season's second edition of the rankings, with all the teams thus far on the outside looking in, the Big 10-leading Wisconsin Badgers look to the be the leading underdog to make the College Football Playoff this December. If they lose they are out because they are an independent team and can't win a conference championship.

But there's an even easier possibility to conceive of in the wake of Auburn's 40-17 drubbing of Georgia.

But what matters is that we're talking about a two-loss conference champion in the playoff mix. But the Buckeyes of last year had more quality wins than seemingly Miami or Alabama would compile this year.

Alabama is obviously in if it wins out and a strong case can be made that the Crimson Tide - should it go into the SEC Championship game unblemished - will be in even if it loses to Georgia in the SEC Championship game. Now, with Alabama and Auburn meeting in the regular season, and the victor then meeting Georgia in the conference title game, figure the SEC for one playoff spot.

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The Fighting Irish is undefeated since a Week Two loss to Georgia but can't afford a letdown this week at Miami. The ACC championship game against Clemson looks like a play-in game. And the Hurricanes opponent was also decided in Week 11, as Clemson's win over Florida State clinched another Atlantic Division title for coach Dabo Swinney's team. If the Tigers were to lose to SC in their regular-season finale but then win the ACC (especially over unbeaten Miami) and Auburn (which Clemson beat) wins the SEC, Clemson might have a case as a two-loss playoff team.

Oklahoma could take a giant step toward punching its ticket to two 2017 championship events with a win on Saturday night against Big 12 co-leader TCU, the team immediately behind the Sooners in the College Football Playoff Week 2 rankings. However, they'd still have to sweat out Selection Sunday. The Frogs will leapfrog Oklahoma and possibly others if they can come out of Norman with a win.

There's the long-shot scenario in the Big Ten, which suddenly seems a bit more plausible after Ohio State smacked Michigan State, 48-3. Could the SEC champ, ACC champ, Big 12 champ and Notre Dame all stay ahead of a 13-0 Badgers team? Fifteen Power 5 teams with two losses or fewer could say they're in the hunt.

They agreed on the top six, and even both had Alabama at No. 1, but the order was different.

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After the first release of the rankings this season, Hocutt said "the committee gave a slight edge to Georgia (for No. 1) due to their win on the road against a very strong Notre Dame".

Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins celebrates his touchdown against Michigan State during the Buckeyes' big win Saturday.

So that's how it breaks down heading into Week 11.

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