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Ridley's Rankings Week 8

Updated on October 21, 2014

Another wonderful weekend of college football is now in the books. Florida State squeaked by Notre Dame with the help of an offensive pass interference call, Baylor saw their playoff hopes go up in flames after losing to West Virginia and Alabama laid to waste any claims they were slipping with a thorough dismantling of Texas A&M. All this action muddied up the playoff picture even more as nearly a dozen teams can legitimately claim they deserve a shot, but only four will get their tickets punched to January.

If you need a reminder of how the rankings are calculated or what the numbers mean, you can find the explanations here.

The Rankings

Rank
Team
Total
My Rank
1
Mississippi State
100.00
1
2
Ole Miss
95.47
2
3
Florida State
89.09
4
4
Auburn
87.65
3
5
Alabama
86.11
5
6
Oregon
82.58
7
7
Michigan State
78.55
10
8
Georgia
78.03
9
9
TCU
77.96
8
10
Notre Dame
77.76
12
11
Kansas State
72.78
16
12
Baylor
71.82
15
13
Ohio State
71.22
14
14
Arizona
69.40
13
15
Nebraska
67.69
17
16
Arizona State
67.39
21
17
Marshall
66.41
6
18
Oklahoma
62.87
25
19
USC
62.39
18
20
Utah
62.06
23
21
LSU
60.90
11
22
Clemson
60.37
20
23
West Virginia
59.83
19
24
East Carolina
59.05
30
25
UCLA
56.17
22
Source

6. Oregon (82.58) [7]

I have been asked a lot recently whether I thought Oregon had a chance to make the playoffs. Their situation is intriguing enough that I thought they were the perfect example to open this week's rankings.

If the season were to end today, the Ducks would find themselves on the outside looking in. Luckily for Oregon, the season is just over the halfway point and the landscape will drastically change by the time it is finished. The biggest help Oregon will receive comes out of the SEC West, where arguably three of the top four and four of the top six (four of my top five, to be exact) reside. That is all sure to change when all is said and done.

With all the looming match-ups between these top-tier teams, the SEC West (and possibly Georgia) will cannibalize themselves in the coming weeks. Undefeated Mississippi State still has to face Alabama and Ole Miss. Ole Miss has LSU and Auburn. Auburn has A&M, Georgia and Alabama and the Tide still has LSU. Theoretically, by the time the season is over, each team could have at least one loss, or one team of the Mississippi's runs the table and every other team has at least two losses. The latter situation would all but guarantee a Ducks' playoff bid.

Also working in the Ducks' favor is landscape of the Pac-12. Thanks to Arizona residing in the Pac-12 South, Oregon isn't at risk of losing the conference championship bid to the Wildcats. Should the Quack Attack win the remainder of their regular season games, they will find themselves in the Pac-12 championship, likely against a ranked opponent. Winning that would all but guarantee one of the four spots the playoff committee hands out.

The only chance I see a one-loss Oregon team missing the playoffs comes from the Buckeyes. Ohio State has been steamrolling opponents lately and if they win big against Michigan State (a common opponent of Oregon's) in East Lansing, the committee could very well give favor to Urban Meyer's crew. But this situation assumes that the SEC has two teams represented, something that may not happen if only one team escapes with one loss or less, in which case both the Big Ten and Pac-12 would have a rep (given they only have one loss).

Chances of making the playoffs: 50%

Source

Who Will Make the Playoffs?

Which Team Has the Best Shot of Making the Playoffs?

See results

13. Ohio State (71.22) [14]

With the previous talk of the Buckeyes crashing the playoff party, it is only fitting that we discuss the odds of Ohio State making the big dance.

The Buckeyes' playoff hopes seemed dashed when they lost to Virginia Tech at home in Week 2. Coupled with their uninspiring win over Navy in the opener, it appeared that Ohio State's chances for a national championship were crippled with Braxton Miller's shoulder. Yet, as the season progressed and freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett matured, the offense blossomed, showing the firepower accustomed to Urban Meyer's spread offense. In their last four games, all wins, their offense has averaged 56 points per game and the Buckeyes are gaining back supporters by the truckload.

Even with the recent offensive fireworks, Ohio State faces a very difficult challenge going forward. The Big Ten has plenty of respectable teams, but very few that get the national acclaim of those in the SEC and Pac-12. With only Michigan State offering the marquee opponent the committee will look for, the Buckeyes will have to post impressive wins throughout the rest of the year. The committee may have been told not to consider winning margin, but it will be hard for these human members to not think about 56-17 drubbings when comparing teams. As mentioned with Oregon, this will have the biggest impact if the Buckeyes can blow out Michigan State.

The other obstacle standing in Ohio State's way is how the committee will evaluate teams, particularly their losses. Will they look at all the losses of teams they are considering and determine which ones are the most justifiable? Or will they instead look at recent body of work and choose the four teams that are playing the best currently? Among the teams currently in the running, a loss at home to the Hokies would rank among the worst, yet you would find a difficult challenge trying to name four teams that are playing better football right now.

Chances of making the playoffs: 22%

Source

8. Georgia (78.03) [9]

The Bulldogs are an interesting team. They are just four points away from being undefeated and considered among the best in the country. Yet, they were unable to punch it in from the 4-yard line on first-and-goal and now find themselves fighting an uphill battle.

Like the Buckeyes, Georgia has been playing lights out in recent weeks. They shutout a ranked Missouri team on the road, mounted a huge lead against a tough Arkansas squad before letting up in the second half and easily handled Vanderbilt (like everybody else). But they are also the same team that sneaked past Tennessee and lost to a Gamecocks team that is currently 4-3. They are as talented as any team in the nation, but often find themselves playing to the ability of their opponents.

With the Bulldogs being in the SEC East, they won't suffer the same brutal schedule as their SEC West counterparts. This should help them in the win-loss column but it makes it more difficult to edge out other playoff competitors. Unlike Mississippi State, which will see five ranked conference foes, Georgia will only see three, two of which are not currently ranked. So while Mark Richt's team may avoid the cannibalization that the SEC West endures, they won't be given extra credit just for being in the SEC.

Still, at 6-1, the Bulldogs control their own destiny. Winning the remainder of their regular season games should not only position them in the top five (thanks to a win over Auburn), it would also put them in the SEC Championship. A win in the SEC title game would guarantee a trip to the playoffs. Even if they were to fall to Auburn, their chances aren't blown. Missouri, the Dawgs' only competitor for the East crown, is incredibly unreliable and will likely fall again before the season closes, putting Georgia back in control. I'm not part of the playoff committee, but I would not be the least bit surprised to see a two-loss SEC champion edge out a one-loss Big 12 team. Whether Georgia is capable of winning the SEC title is a whole other story.

Chances of making the playoffs: 15%

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