NCAA Football Playoff Predictions: Separating Contenders From Pretenders

Four top 10 teams lost over the weekend, creating a little more clarity at the top of the college football world.

Michigan State, Notre Dame, Kansas State, and Auburn were all essentially eliminated from playoff contention, so what teams will take their place at the end of the season?


8 ) Arizona State

Record: 8-1 (5-1 in Pac-12)

Last Week: 55-31 win over Notre Dame

This Week: Sat. at Oregon State

The Sun Devils put the rest of the country on notice with their resounding win over Notre Dame, and are in good position to make the playoff with a matchup against Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game looming. If they win their last three regular season games and beat the Ducks, they're in. Unfortunately, that won't happen, which is why I think they'll finish 8th.

7) Ohio State

Record: 8-1 (5-0 in Big Ten)

Last Week: 49-37 win at Michigan State

This Week: Sat. at Minnesota

Ohio State got a huge win over the Spartans this weekend, and looked really impressive doing it. However, they'll still sit at the back of the pack of one-loss teams at the end of the season because of that terrible loss to Virginia Tech early in the year and they don't have any other opportunities for marquee wins to bolster their resume.

6) Baylor

Record: 8-1 (5-1 Big 12)

Last Week: 48-14 win at Oklahoma

This Week: Bye

The Bears seemed like an afterthought after they lost at West Virginia, but they absolutely manhandled a good Oklahoma team on their home field to put themselves back in the mix. Baylor still has to play Kansas State at the end of the season, which would be a marquee win, but it won't be good enough to put them over the top.

5) TCU

Record: 8-1 (5-1 in Big 12)

Last Week: 41-20 win over Kansas State

This Week: Sat. at Kansas

TCU should win out with games against Kansas, Texas, and Iowa State left on their schedule. If they win all those games, there's a really good chance they make the playoff. Pretty much the only way they won't is if Alabama wins out and Mississippi State's only loss is to the Tide - which is the scenario I think is going to happen.


4) Mississippi State

Record: 9-0 (5-0 in SEC)

Last Week: 45-16 win over UT-Martin

This Week: Sat. at Alabama

The Bulldogs are going to get in if they only have one loss, and I think that loss is coming this weekend against Alabama. That puts the committee in a tough position having to decide between them and TCU for the final playoff spot. Mississippi State will get it because they have more big wins than the Horned Frogs, causing a huge public outcry in favor of an eight-team playoff.

3) Oregon

Record: 9-1 (6-1 in Pac-12) Last Week: 51-27 win at Utah This Week: Bye Oregon rebounded from a slow start to blow out the Utes on the road, and now look destined to make the playoff. They now face struggling Colorado and Oregon State teams before playing in the Pac-12 Championship Game. If they can take care of business, which they should do easily, the Ducks will be in the playoff.

2) Alabama

Record: 8-1 (5-1 in SEC)

Last Week: 20-13 win at LSU

This Week: Sat. vs. Mississippi State

The Crimson Tide pulled off a miraculous comeback and survived in Death Valley, and now welcome the top team in the country to Tuscaloosa. I expect them to use that home-field advantage to a win, putting themselves back into the College Football Playoff picture.

1) Florida State

Record: 9-0 (6-0 in ACC)

Last Week: 34-20 win over Virginia

This Week: Sat. at Miami

Florida State is in prime position to be the only undefeated team in the country going into the playoff. Miami will give them a test next weekend, but the Seminoles should be able to easily survive. FSU hasn't looked dominant since the beginning of October, but if they keep winning, they'll be in the playoff.

What four teams would you put in the College Football Playoff? Tweet your thoughts to @brauf33 and leave a response in the comments!

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