Badger Football & the CFP

I still don’t think Wisconsin will get a CFP spot but a door that looked closed to me Thursday morning may be open by the slimmest of margins thanks to Houston’s thrashing of Louisville.

Thursday night Louisville got smoked by future Oregon HC Todd Herman and Houston.  The Cards trailed 31-0 and halftime eventually losing 36-10.   This crash comes at a terrible time Bobby Petrino and Louisville who were sitting at #5 in the College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings.  The Cards only loss before Thursday was @ Clemson, a game they were trailing by 18 at the half before storming back to take a lead midway through the 4th quarter.  Clemson eventually prevailed 42-36 thanks to the last known heroics from Deshaun Watson.  The point is, Louisville was in prime position to snag a CFP spot with 1-loss Michigan and THE Ohio State matching up in a couple weeks.

For the other spots.  Lets just give the one spot and probably the national title again to Alabama.  The Tide looks unbeatable right now.  They’re 2nd in points against and 14th in points per game.  Alabama is #1 in Team Efficiency Rankings fueled by a defense that seriously could have 5 NFL 1st rounders among its 1st string:

  • Jonathan Allen, DE
  • Reuben Foster, ILB (please please please end up in GB)
  • Tim Williams, OLB
  • Ryan Anderson, OLB
  • Marlon Humphrey, CB

And for good measure, TE OJ Howard and OT Cam Robinson could also go in Round 1.

Ole Miss pushed Alabama.  The Tide won 48-43 but led 34-30 early in the 4th before surging to a 48-30 lead trimmed by 2 late Ole Miss TD.  LSU hung tough, playing a scoreless game for 3 quarters before Bama won 10-0.  LSU had 125 total yards and 6 first downs that day.

Alabama is a lock for the #1 spot in the CFP.

The next 3 spots are a battle among the following:

  • B1G Champion
  • Clemson
  • Washington
  • Oklahoma

Clemson: Clemson still only has that 1-loss but got very lucky to survive @ Florida State and home vs NC State.  The ACC is still weak so the Tigers don’t have the chance like Oklahoma does to add some resume boosting wins late.  Beating Wake Forest and South Carolina aren’t exactly big feathers in your cap.  There’s a pretty strong 2014 Florida State vibe from this Clemson bunch.  Namely, yes winning games, but hardly earning plaudits or many converts along the way.

Clemson Needs: win out big and hope either Oklahoma and Washington lose again.  The Tigers have a pretty good shot here as winning out could still seem them earn a place even if everyone else wins out (Michigan or THE Ohio St will get a 2nd L).  I think Clemson gets the #4 spot and another shot at Bama.

Oklahoma has a chance to peak at the right time and sneak into the CFP with a game @ #14 West Virginia on Saturday followed by the Bedlam Game against future Oregon HC Mike Gundy and #11 Oklahoma St.

Oklahoma Needs:  Beat both WV and OSU to close out your season.  A second loss for the Huskies or Tigers would be great.   Sooners would have an argument despite 2 ugly losses in the first 3 weeks of the season to Houston and THE Ohio State.

Washington had impressive wins vs Stanford and @Utah before stumbling at home against USC.  The Huskies host ASU in a game that can’t really help their chances before a massive Apple Cup showdown @Washington St to possibly decide the North.

Washington Needs: Washington St to beat Colorado this weekend to (1) ensure their date with Wazzou means a lot (2) put USC in position to win the Pac-12 South (3) Stomp ASU and beat Wazzou to close the regular season (4) win a rematch against USC in the Pac-12 Title game

 

Wisconsin: the only team in this dumb post anyone should care about.  Wisconsin’s only 2 losses this season were @Michigan 14-7, a game that maybe wasn’t as close as the scoreline indicated but whatever.  The Badgers then should have won in Madison vs THE Ohio State the following week but lost in OT.  Wisconsin beat (then #5) #16 LSU to open the season.  The Badgers road win over Michigan St has not aged well.  Wisconsin won @Iowa something Michigan couldn’t do and finished off Nebraksa in OT in Madison. Wisconsin’s offense is slowly improving but is nothing to fear.  Its defense should keep it afloat in every game and has done so.  Below are Wisconsin’s national rankings on the defensive side of the ball:

Wisconsin Needs: Win out including beating Michigan or THE Ohio St in the title game.  Winning a rematch especially when your regular season matchups were close, helps the cause immensely.  Washington losing to Washington St, Oklahoma stumbling in 1 of its last 2, should remove any doubt as that would leave 1-loss Clemson and undefeated Bama as the only locks.

The problem here is that Penn St has 2 winnable games to close out the regular season @Rutgers and home to Michigan St.  If PSU wins, and THE Ohio State beats Michigan (in Columbus), the Badgers would face PSU in the B1G title game in a clash of two 2-loss teams.  That does not enable Wisconsin to erase or at least neutralize one of its regular season losses.  Beating PSU is the least helpful scenario for Wisconsin to crash the CFP.  It’s hard to see how a B1G title over PSU would do enough absent 2nd losses from the other contenders.

This chart shows the offensive (green), defensive (red), and team efficiency (blue) rankings from ESPN.  *No team has a larger gap between Offensive – Defensive efficiency than Wisconsin (-30.7)

cfp-efficiencies

Team Team Efficiency Defensive Efficiency Offensive Efficiency
Alabama 95.2 98.5 73.6
Clemson 82.2 81.5 71.7
Michigan 93.3 91.2 83.9
Ohio State 89.9 88 81
Oklahoma 78.7 56.7 89.5
Washington 88.1 77.9 87.1
Wisconsin 80.6 89.8 59.1

 

 

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