Week 1 provided us with some pretty hefty upsets, causing many CFP-hopeful teams took a tumble down in the rankings.
However, a single loss in Week 1 does not prevent a team from having a successful run into the CFP.While the College Football Playoff has only been around for two years, six of the eight teams that have made appearances did so with a loss on their record. In fact, Alabama, who made appearances both years, stepped into the Playoff with a loss on its record in both 2014 and 2015. So, while it won’t be an easy task, these four teams with 0-1 records may still make it to the CFP.
Houston may have defeated the Sooners, but that doesn’t take their name totally out of the running. Last year, after an unexpected loss to Texas, Oklahoma focused and won seven straight games to make it to the CFP, and today, they still have two months of football left, which gives them plenty of time to prove themselves again.
In the game against Houston, Greg Ward Jr. ran over the Sooners’ secondary, and Baker Mayfield seemed to hesitate in finding receivers. Oklahoma didn’t play terribly, but Houston walked away with an almost perfect game. If Oklahoma can settle down and fill in the gaps found during this matchup, the Sooners may be able to tally another CFP appearance.
However, to stay in the CFP discussion, the Sooners probably need to finish with an 11-1 record. So, Oklahoma can’t blow the Texas game, which will be especially difficult since the Longhorns seem to be improved from recent years, or the Ohio State game, which will also be difficult even with Ohio State rebuilding in a few positions.
Overall, with the strength of Oklahoma’s schedule, if the team can keep it together for the rest of the season, we should be seeing the Sooners in the CFP.
Even though they led the game at the half, the Rebels didn’t stop FSU in the second half, where the Seminoles scored 32 points and took over the game. However, even after the game Chad Kelly reminded fans that it is not over.
During the FSU game, we saw Kelly throw three interceptions, and the offense’s third-down conversion rate wasn’t wonderful. Also, the Rebels have lost a few key players to injury already, so to go forward winning games, Ole Miss will have to push a bit harder and play a bit smarter to keep its CFP dream alive.
Also, Ole Miss’s schedule could really make or break the season going forward. If the Rebels can defeat everyone they are preparing to face, it would be difficult to argue a reason for them not to go to the CFP. However, with so many tough teams to face, losses may begin to stack up.
Really, the matchup against Alabama should be a telling game for the Rebels, and if they can defeat Alabama once again, we may be seeing Ole Miss in the CFP.
The upset by unranked-at-the-time Wisconsin looked a lot like the team we saw at the end of last year, even though Les Miles promised fans some changes. However, progress may still come from the Tigers.
During the game, Brandon Harris seemed to struggle a bit, and receivers, like Malachi Dupre, had a few tosses that they probably should have caught but didn’t. Also, three new starters for the offensive line stumbled a bit, trying to acclimate to the intensity of the game. If a few key plays had been made during this game, the score could have turned out very differently. But, that is not what happened, and for LSU to continue on a solid path to the CFP, some things need to change.
The offense probably needs to start running more plays that work to Harris’ talents, and with more experience, the offensive line should begin to improve. To prove themselves worth of a spot in the CFP, the Tigers will most likely have to complete the rest of their season without a blemish, meaning defeating Ole Miss, Alabama and Arkansas.
The Tiger’s schedule isn’t quite as strong as other teams on this list, but if they can pull the team together and start a solid winning streak to the end, purple and gold may be seen in the stands during the CFP.
This team may have the toughest road to the CFP out of the four. Even if they won every game for the rest of the season, the Fighting Irish still may not make it unless they defeat opposing teams by a large margin. Still, they have a chance.
Notre Dame played a close game against Texas, nearly matching Texas in possession time, first downs and overall yardage. However, even in keeping the game close all evening, the Fighting Irish couldn’t pull out a win.
DeShone Kizer led our team with 215 yds passing, five touchdowns, & one rushing touchdown in a 2OT battle at Texas. pic.twitter.com/YzsWgqGsy5— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) September 5, 2016
With DeShone Kizer leading the way into Notre Dame’s next game, the Fighting Irish have plenty to build on. The defense still needs some work, missing a few key tackles during the Texas game, but the receiving corps seems to being doing fine after the loss of Will Fuller, especially with Equanimeous St. Brown picking up the slack.
With a few minor improvements to the team overall, Notre Dame looks to be a solid unit in the running for the CFP, but again, they will not be able to afford another loss.