NCAA Football Playoff Predictions: SEC West Dominates Rankings

The SEC has ruled the college football world over the last decade, yet they've never been as dominant as they are right now.

The SEC West has four teams ranked in the top five of the AP Poll, and that's where they land in our rankings as well.

Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State will eventually beat each other up and knock some teams out of playoff contention. When that happens, who are the teams that will take their place?


10) Georgia

Previously Ranked: NR

Last Week: 45-35 win at Arkansas

This Week: Bye

The Bulldogs have looked just as good without suspended RB Todd Gurley as they did with him, as they've showcased how dominant they are in other phases of the game. Gurley's return - which should be any day now - will only help this team as they cruise through the SEC East.

9) Michigan State

Previously Ranked: 10

Last Week: 56-17 win at Indiana

This Week: Sat. vs. Michigan

Indiana gave Michigan State a little bit of trouble in the first quarter, but they responded by blowing the Hoosiers out of the water from then on. As long as Michigan State handles their business against their desperate in-state rival this weekend, they'll be set up for a showdown with Ohio State on November 8 that will make or break their playoff chances.


8 ) TCU

Previously Ranked: NR

Last Week: 42-9 win vs. Oklahoma State

This Week: Sat. vs. Texas Tech

The Horned Frogs now have two wins over top 15 teams on their resume (and really could've had three if they hadn't blown a 24-point lead against Baylor), and they've become a surprise candidate to not only win the Big XII, but make the College Football Playoff as well. Quarterback Trevone Boykin has this explosive offense playing outstanding football, and if their defense can show up every week like they did against the Cowboys, it'll be hard to keep TCU out.

7) Notre Dame

Previously Ranked: 4

Last Week: 31-27 loss at Florida State

This Week: Bye

Voters weren't exactly sure how good this Notre Dame was going into Saturday night's game against Florida State, and even though the Irish lost, they still made a statement that they're one of the country's best teams. Everett Golson has reached the upper echelon of college quarterbacks, and he's taken Notre Dame's offense with him. The Irish still need another win over a ranked team to really get in the Playoff picture (and avoid getting jumped by teams like TCU), and they'll have two chances to do so on November 8 (at Arizona State) and November 29 (at USC).

6) Oregon

Previously Ranked: 9

Last Week: 45-20 win over Washington

This Week: Fri. at Cal

The Ducks have rebounded well after their loss to Arizona, but have to avoid slipping up again in a tricky Friday night road game against a Cal team looking for a marquee win. It seems like the rest of the team has finally caught up with quarterback Marcus Mariota with their level of play, but now Oregon has to be consistent and avoid the kind of major upset that's plagued them over the past few years.

5) Auburn

Previously Ranked: 6

Last Week: Bye

This Week: Sat. vs. South Carolina

Auburn had a week off to regroup from their loss at Mississippi State, and now face a reeling South Carolina squad that's looking for a way to salvage their season. The Tigers are in a good position right now, but they still have to face Ole Miss, Georgia, and Alabama in three of their last five games.

If they somehow manage to run the gauntlet and win out, they'll take the top seed away from Mississippi State. If not, Auburn will probably be a bubble team on the outside looking in.


4) Alabama

Previously Ranked: 7

Last Week: 59-0 win vs. Texas A&M

This Week: Sat. at Tennessee

Many people wondered how Alabama would respond coming off of a loss and a one-point victory over Arkansas, and we learned that the Crimson Tide are still a very, very good football team. Their blowout victory over Texas A&M was as impressive as any win this season, and they've put themselves back into the playoff picture as a result. Tennessee shouldn't pose a real threat to Alabama, so expect the Tide to continue to roll this weekend.

3) Ole Miss

Previously Ranked: 2

Last Week: 34-3 win vs. Tennessee

This Week: Sat. at LSU

Ole Miss continued to dominate last weekend, and now they face their toughest test since beating Alabama. LSU looks like an improved football team since they got walloped 41-7 by Auburn, and it's never easy to win a night game in Death Valley. Expect this game to be close, but ultimately the Rebels will pull it out.

2) Florida State

Previously Ranked: 3

Last Week: 31-27 win vs. Notre Dame

This Week: Bye

Florida State somehow survived against the Irish, giving them the marquee win they needed to justify being near the top of the polls. It wasn't pretty for the Seminoles - it's clear they need to work on their consistency on both sides of the ball - but they have a schedule that suggests they'll go undefeated the rest of the way.

1) Mississippi State

Previously Ranked: 1

Last Week: Bye

This Week: Sat. at Kentucky

The Bulldogs got a much-needed bye week to rest up and get healthy, and now face a tougher-than-expected test against Kentucky. Mississippi State is the heavy favorite, but the Wildcats are 5-2 and are playing at home. Still, quarterback Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs should win this one easily.

Who do you think is this year’s dark horse to make the College Football Playoff? What four teams would you put in? Tweet your thoughts to @brauf33 and leave a response in the comments!


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