Top 10 with the best shot

Breaking down the top ten teams that have the best chance of making the playoffs through the remainder of the season

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When looking at College Football’s top 25 BCS standings, there are only a handful of teams that can be looked at as legitimate contenders for one of the top four spots. This does not really have to do with the official standings, but more a study and prediction for the teams that have the best shot. With these teams remaining schedules and their performances so far, it’s hard to argue that these teams don’t have the best shot at making it to the big games in early January.

10. LSU

LSU running back Leonard Fournette poses Heisman

Coming in hot at number ten are the Tigers of LSU. After Heisman candidate Leonard Fournette and the Tigers suffered a near blowout loss to Alabama, the Tigers are gonna need some serious help in order to find a way into the top four. They find themselves one half game back in the SEC West behind the Tide, with Ole Miss and Texas A&M still left on their schedule. Coming into this past week, the Tigers were looked at as possibly being the best team in the country. I think one can still make a strong case for that, but the Tigers are going to need to win out; with Alabama losing at least one more so they can work their way in to the very important SEC Championship game on the fifth of December. Although the Tigers very well may be one of the top five teams teams in the country, they find themselves tenth due to the help they need to reach the playoff.

9. Florida 

[Florida] future SEC and National champs”

— Donnie Ruehl

Introducing your number nine team with the best odds of making it is the Florida Gators. The Gators have had a roller coaster season; losing their star quarterback Will Grier and a tough loss to LSU on the road by a touchdown. Some may think that it is absurd that they should even be in the top ten, but the Gators defense has proven to be the real deal. “Future SEC and National champs,” is what very bold junior Donnie Ruehl told me about his Gators, “People have no idea how good Florida really is.” Though Ruehl might be right, the Gators are still going to have a tough time making it. The Gators right now are the clear front runner to win the SEC East, and find their way to the SEC Championship; which is why the find themselves this high. However, the Gators are at a point where they cannot afford any more losses, and must find a way to win the battle against Florida State, and the SEC Championship to hopefully make their way in the top four when it’s all said and done.

8. Stanford

Sitting at number eight is the Cardinal of Stanford. Stanford finds themselves sitting at 8-1 on the year, with a very bad blemish on their record at the beginning of the season with a loss to Northwestern. Christian McCaffrey and the Cardinal have sort of flown under the radar this season; slowly creeping their way back into the top ten. Looking at the remainder of their schedule, the Cardinal have a struggling Oregon and California left on their slate. It looks as if Stanford shouldn’t have a huge problem winning the PAC 12; although, you never know with the craziness of college football. The only thing that seems to be keeping Stanford from possibly not winning out is their last game of the year; when they face of against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. This contest will ultimately be the game that will push Stanford over the top as a legitimate contender, assuming they don’t have slip-ups against the inferior PAC 12 opponents they have remaining.

7. Baylor

Baylor star Corey Coleman leaps to make the catch

At number seven comes in the untested but undefeated Baylor Bears out of the Big 12. The Bears have dominated everyone in their path this year, but have not seen anything even close to what someone can call a “test”. However, the Bears are entering the most crucial part of their schedule here with the next three games against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and TCU. The Bears year will ultimately be defined at the end of the season, and they will have to do it without normal starting quarterback Seth Russel, who is out for the season due to a neck injury. Baylor’s hopes at possibly making the final four will be seen these next three weeks. It’s hard to think that the Bears are going to be able to afford more than one loss in these games. If they want a shot of getting in the top four, they are going to have to win at least two of the next three games, get some help from other teams, and somehow find a way to win the Big 12 championship

6. Iowa 

Coming in at number six is a team very similar to the Baylor Bears: the undefeated and also untested Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa is another one of those teams that has not been tested all year. The reason they find themselves ahead of Baylor is due to the fact that the rest of their schedule isn’t very tough either. At Nebraska is the only game that could possibly give Jordan Canzeri and the Hawkeyes a scare. It’s hard to see Iowa losing in the regular season. But, they are going to have to eventually run in to one of the other Big Ten power houses in the Championship. Whether it’s Ohio St. or Michigan or whoever; they are going to give the Hawkeyes their first real test. Iowa should have no problem finishing with an undefeated regular season, but it’s all gonna come down to that Big Ten Championship game that will ultimately give them the spot in the top four.

5. Oklahoma State 

The team with the fifth best shot is the Cowboys of Oklahoma State. The 9-0 Cowboys are fresh off their rout of TCU this past weekend; proving that they’re a real threat to make it into the top four. However, the Cowboys are far from wrapping this one up. They still have to face Baylor and Oklahoma later in the year. Luckily for them, quarterback J.W. Walsh and the Cowboys will have both of those opponents at home. Although they do have two very tough opponents left in the regular season, and will have one more in the Big 12 Championship if they make it; it’s hard to doubt the fact that they have the best shot of representing the Big 12 in the top four.

4. Notre Dame 

The Irish are clearly the best team in college football”

— Michael Groh

Sitting at number four is the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The 8-1 Irish have seemingly one of the best shots to make it into the top four. To me, it seems as if the Irish definitely control their own destiny. It’s simple for Notre Dame, they just have to win out. With the weird way that the Irish do it, they will not play a championship game at the end of the year due to the fact that they are an independent. CJ Prosise, Deshone Kizer and the Irish shouldn’t have an issue winning their next two games.  “The Irish are clearly the best team in college football,” said Notre Dame fanatic Michael Groh. “With Fuller, Kizer, and Prosise on offense, and Smith and Schmidt on defense, it looks promising for the Irish this year.” For the Irish, it’s all gonna come down to the last game of the year against Stanford. If Notre Dame is able to win that final game, without any slip-ups before it; there is no chance they won’t find themselves in the top four at 11-1.

3. Alabama 

Coming in at number 3 is the Crimson Tide of Alabama. The Tide is fresh off a 30-16 win against their rival opponent LSU last weekend. Alabama is another one of those teams that has the road set for them. If the Tide go undefeated for the remainder of the season, they’re is no way that they will not find themselves in the top four. Derrick Henry and the Alabama offense will be facing off this weekend against a very solid Mississippi State team on the road. If Alabama wins this game, they should not have a hard time winning the last two games of the year. It’s all going to come down to the showdown on the fifth of December at the Georgia Dome. The Crimson Tide right now control the fate of the SEC with an 8-1 record and a very strong resume. If they can find a way to remain unbeaten for the rest of the season; the Crimson Tide will easily find themselves somewhere in the playoffs.

2. Ohio State

Although some think that Ezekiel Elliot and the Ohio State Buckeyes are a very overrated squad, they still come in as the second ranked team to finish in the top four. The Buckeyes are another one of those teams who haven’t really faced a tough team all year, which leaves some to believe that they may be slightly overrated. “They have one of the best running backs in the country in Ezekiel Elliot,” said Rob Westerkamp. “As long as they stay healthy, this team has a strong chance to repeat.” Ohio State comes in this week with a 9-0 record facing Illinois. However, the Buckeyes still have their two toughest opponents to play in the last two games of the year: Michigan and Michigan State. The reason OSU comes in this high is that they have a very high power offense this year. With Heisman candidate Elliot, and JT Barrett at QB; the Buckeyes should be a huge favorite to finish the season undefeated and make it to the top four.

Honorable Mentions: Oklahoma, Michigan State, TCU, Utah, Houston

1. Clemson 

Clemson celebrates after 58-0 win at Miami

Coming in at number one is the 9-0 Tigers of Clemson. The Tigers are hot off their win against their conference rival Florida State. When looking at all the teams that have a good shot of possibly making it; it’s hard to say that Clemson doesn’t have the best shot. They have two very impressive wins this year; beating both Notre Dame and Florida State, that have defined their season. Deshaun Watson and the Tigers have the perfect road set for them to go and finish with an undefeated season. With their remaining three opponents having a combined record of 9-18; they should have no problem finishing the regular season undefeated. The only game for the remainder of the year that could possibly give them any trouble is the ACC Championship game on December 5. It’s hard to say who the Tigers will be facing in that game, but whoever it is shouldn’t cause them really any trouble. As long as the Tigers don’t have any huge lapses sometime in their next three games, and then in the ACC Championship; they will easily find themselves being the top seed in the NCAA College Football playoffs.

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