With one week in the books the race for the college football playoff is amazingly that much clearer. A slew of teams from the Group of Five conferences have been eliminated. Thanks to some early upsets by FCS teams several Power Five conference teams are also effectively dead. Conversely several teams stole big wins against ranked opponents in the first week and are in the captain’s seat at this early point in the season.
The “Win And Your In” Conference
The Out the Gate Hot Division
Florida St. (1-0)
Texas A&M (1-0)
All of these teams are undefeated through one game with their wins coming over ranked opponents. Some wins looked better than others with Alabama’s thrashing of USC taking the cake. It is still very early in the season so it’s quite possible some of these ranked wins might not look that special around week seven (Texas A&M knows all about false early starts). That being said, given the consistency of some of the opponents in recent years you have to think a few of these wins will hold as far as their importance goes.
The “We Expected You To Be Good” Division
Michigan State (1-0)
Ohio State (1-0)
Oklahoma State (1-0)
These are the ranked teams that defeated their respective opponents. Applause for showing up to work and doing what was expected.
The “Look At You Go!” Division
Georgia Tech (1-0)
Penn State (1-0)
Wake Forest (1-0)
West Virginia (1-0)
This division is for those teams that have started 1-0 by beating a power five opponent in decent fashion. I’ve granted an exemption for Idaho, who beat an FCS team, because they are moving down to FCS next year and frankly every win the Vandals can get, even against FCS opponents, is worthy of a pat on the head at this point. I’m also granting a one-time FCS exemption for Kansas and UCF because they haven’t won games since before Cuba and the United States reestablished diplomatic relations until this weekend.
The Congrats On Beating Your Cupcake Division
Arizona State (1-0)
North Carolina State (1-0)
Texas Tech (1-0)
Virginia Tech (1-0)
This is the conference for power five teams that beat an FCS team. Congratulations on doing the college football equivalent of the bare minimum.
The “Wins That Feel Like Losses But At Least I’m Still Alive” Division
South Carolina (1-0)
A special division for those teams who have ugly wins that have left a lot to be desired. Tennessee is an overtime loss away from being in the life support division. South Carolina won a slap fight against division rival Vanderbilt. Nevada needed overtime to beat an FCS team in Cal Poly. Arkansas, Florida and TCU spent time last year being ranked and big things are expected of all three this year but struggled to put away Louisiana Tech, Massachusetts and not even the good Dakota team respectively.
The No Room For Error Division – Winners Bracket
Air Force (1-0)
Ball State (1-0)
Boise State (1-0)
Central Michigan (1-0)
Eastern Michigan (1-0)
Georgia Southern (1-0)
Middle Tennessee State (1-0)
New Mexico (1-0)
Old Dominion (1-0)
San Diego State (1-0)
South Alabama (1-0)
South Florida (1-0)
Southern Miss (1-0)
Texas State (1-0)
Utah State (1-0)
Western Kentucky (1-0)
Western Michigan (1-0)
Good on all of these guys for their wins but the harsh reality of life in the Group of Five conferences is you cannot spare a single loss. Most of these teams will be eliminated from playoff contention in the next three weeks.
The “You No Longer Control Your Own Destiny” Conference
The No Room For Error Division – Losers Bracket
Boston College (0-1)
Kansas State (0-1)
North Carolina (0-1)
Ole Miss (0-1)
Oregon State (0-1)
These team’s have a loss but they aren’t miserable, coming either to ranked teams, teams that became ranked by beating them, or other FBS teams. If any one of these teams win out they should be in the playoff mix.
The Life Support Division
Iowa State (0-1)
Mississippi State (0-1)
Washington State (0-1)
These teams are essentially dead but a doctor hasn’t called it yet. The only thing keeping them alive is machinery and hope for a miracle. If Mississippi State or Virginia goes undefeated and ends 11-1 the black mark of losing to an FCS team is still so glaring they will need help (and a lot of chaos) to secure their spot. These teams are technically alive but will need lots of help and divine intervention to make the playoffs.
The Eliminated Conference
The D.O.A. Division
Appalachian State (0-1)
Arkansas State (0-1)
Bowling Green (0-1)
Colorado State (0-1)
Fresno State (0-1)
Georgia State (0-1)
Kent State (0-1)
Louisiana Tech (0-1)
Miami (OH) (0-1)
New Mexico State (0-1)
Northern Illinois (0-1)
San Jose State (0-1)
The unfortunate truth is an 11-1 Ohio team cannot make the playoff. Group of Five programs must go undefeated to be considered for the playoff. Only Houston with its win over Oklahoma and resume from 2015 could maybe get away with a one loss playoff season in a very chaotic college football season. Some of these teams will go to bowl games and there might even be a conference champion or two in this mix but none of them will make the playoff.
On Deck For Week Two
Ranked Teams In Danger
Akron (1-0) v. #10 Wisconsin (1-0)
Arkansas (1-0) v. #15 TCU (1-0)
Central Florida (1-0) v. #5 Michigan (1-0)
Central Michigan (1-0) v. #22 Oklahoma State (1-0)
FAU (1-0) v. #25 Miami (1-0)
Idaho (1-0) v. #8 Washington (1-0)
#13 Louisville (1-0) v. Syracuse (1-0)
SMU (1-0) v. #23 Baylor (1-0)
Troy (1-0) v. #2 Clemson (1-0)
Tulsa (1-0) v. #4 Ohio State (1-0)
UL-Monroe (1-0) v. #14 Oklahoma (1-0)
UTEP (1-0) v. #11 Texas (1-0)
Virginia Tech (1-0) v. #17 Tennessee (1-0)
Western Kentucky (1-0) v. #1 Alabama (1-0)
In reality most of these teams are in no danger at all but these are the matchups of the (very early) undefeated FBS programs involving a ranked team. Some should be laughers, some might be interesting because of rivalry implications, and chaos is always a factor. Don’t forget that three FCS teams beat P5 teams and several more got pushed to the brink in week one so with several ranked teams playing FCS teams major upsets are on the table.
Pulling The Plug
Iowa State (0-1) v. #16 Iowa (1-0)
South Carolina (1-0) v. Mississippi State (0-1)
Virginia (0-1) v. #24 Oregon (1-0)
Washington State (0-1) v. Boise State (1-0)
A second loss for four of these teams means any playoff hopes are officially dead.
Back Against The Wall
Arkansas State (1-0) v. Auburn (0-1)
Eastern Michigan (1-0) v. Missouri (0-1)
UNLV (1-0) v. UCLA (0-1)
A loss from the P5 team likely eliminates the G5 team while a loss to the G5 team puts the nail in the coffin of the P5 team.
Take You Down With Me Matchups
Boston College (1-0) v. UMass (0-1)
New Mexico (1-0) v. New Mexico State (0-1)
Ohio (0-1) v. Kansas (1-0)
Rice (0-1) v. Army (1-0)
A win by the eliminated G5 team spoils the opponent’s playoff hopes.