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Andy Wittry | | October 31, 2021

7 college football predictions for November: Georgia's pursuit of perfection, Big Ten battles and more

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With the exception of the annual Army-Navy game in December, college football's regular season has just five weeks remaining, which means we're approaching the home stretch of conference races, teams pursuing bowl eligibility and schools making their push for the College Football Playoff.

After analyzing the conference standings through Week 9, AP Top 25 poll and November schedules for teams throughout the country, here are seven college football predictions for November. These opinions are mine and mine alone.

1. Only two undefeated teams will remain

Entering Week 10, there are just six undefeated teams remaining at the FBS level. There will only be two at the end of November.

Through the first six seasons of the College Football Playoff era (ignoring the 2020 season due to conferences starting their seasons at different points in the fall and many teams playing a limited number of games), there was an average of 2.5 undefeated teams through Week 13, including four seasons in a row (2014 through 2017) in which there were exactly two.

According to college football advanced statistician Brian Fremeau, entering Week 9, No. 1 Georgia had a better chance than not of finishing the regular season with a 12-0 record, but no other undefeated team could stay the same through Week 8. No. 2 Cincinnati's chances of finishing undefeated were a little less than a coin flip, and No. 23 UTSA wasn't too far behind Cincinnati.

I predict Georgia will finish November with an undefeated record, as will either Cincinnati or UTSA, but not both.

2. Oklahoma will lose once, but not twice

As referenced above, No. 4 Oklahoma, which started the season ranked No. 2 in the preseason AP poll and which takes a 9-0 record into Week 10, is unlikely to finish the regular season undefeated. The Sooners' November starts with a bye week in Week 10, but the final three weeks will be challenging, with games at Baylor, against Iowa State and at Oklahoma State.

Oklahoma will finish the regular season with an 11-1 record, which will set up the Sooners to potentially win their seventh consecutive conference championship and potentially make their fifth College Football Playoff appearance.

MORE: How the first CFP rankings predict the semifinals

3. Every Big Ten team not named Ohio State will have multiple conference losses

If you look at the Big Ten standings after Week 8, the Big Ten East has two teams that are 4-0 in conference play — Ohio State and Michigan State — and in the Big Ten West, Minnesota is 4-1.

By the end of November, not only will Ohio State be the only team in the conference with a perfect record in Big Ten play but the rest of the teams not named Ohio State will have multiple conference losses. Michigan State, which is 5-0 in conference play through Week 9, still has to travel to Purdue and Ohio State, plus host Maryland and Penn State.

4. BYU will have more wins over Pac-12 opponents than at least four Pac-12 schools

Through Week 9, BYU has 4-0 against Pac-12 competition this season, with wins against Arizona, Utah, Arizona State and Washington State. The Cougars' regular-season finale will come on the road against Southern California, which means they'll have a chance to be 5-0 against the conference. Right now, Utah is in first in the Pac-12 South with a 4-1 record in conference play, so BYU very well might have a win over the Pac-12 South champion, whether it's the Utes or the second-place Sun Devils.

Regardless of how many wins over Pac-12 foes BYU finishes with, whether the Cougars have four wins or five, I think BYU will have more such wins than at least four schools that are actually in the Pac-12.

RANKINGS: See all the latest FBS polls

5. Coastal Carolina and Louisiana will meet in the Sun Belt Championship, unlike last year

The Chanticleers and Ragin' Cajuns were supposed to play for the conference title in 2020 but the game was unable to be played due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Through Week 9, Louisiana is in command of the Sun Belt West, with a 5-0 conference record, while three of the five schools in the Sun Belt East are tied for first with a 3-1 conference record.

Coastal Carolina, which was the only ranked team in the conference through Week 8, suffered its first Sun Belt loss at Appalachian State, whose only conference loss came to Louisiana.

In the end, I think Coastal Carolina and Louisiana will play for the conference title, just as they were supposed to last season.

6. Two preseason top-25 teams won't make a bowl game

I'm looking at you, preseason No. 17 Indiana and No. 20 Washington. Through Week 9, Indiana is 2-6, winless in Big Ten play and the Hoosiers have scored a conference-worst 63 points in Big Ten play. They still have a road game against No. 6 Michigan and Indiana hasn't won in Ann Arbor since 1967, which means the Hoosiers would need to win out to qualify for a bowl game.

Meanwhile, Washington (4-4) needs to win two of its four remaining games to become bowl-eligible. The Huskies' three remaining home games are against Oregon and Washington State — two of the top three teams in the Pac-12 North — and Arizona State, which is tied for the division lead in the Pac-12 South. Washington also gets to play Colorado (2-6, 1-4 Pac-12) but both the game is on the road, and you only have to look at Washington's narrow 21-16 win over now 0-7 Arizona in Week 8 and its 20-13 victory over Stanford in Week 9 to see that Washington can't necessarily be trusted to separate itself from inferior competition on the road.

7. The teams in the SEC Championship will have one combined loss, but the teams in the ACC Championship will have at least three

If the regular season ended after Week 9, Georgia (8-0) and Alabama (7-1) would meet in the SEC Championship, and Wake Forest (8-0) and Pittsburgh (6-2) would face off in the ACC Championship.

Having two teams that have fewer than two combined losses meet in the conference championship is ideal for a conference's College Football Playoff hopes, because it means that the winner — regardless of which team it is — can potentially make the CFP. Or, in the case of the ACC in 2020, when Notre Dame was a temporary, full member of the conference, both the winning and losing teams in the conference championship game could make the playoff.

Advanced projections say Georgia is more likely to finish the regular season 12-0 rather than 11-1 and Alabama is more likely to finish 11-1 than 10-2. I think they'll meet in Atlanta with a combined record of 23-1.

But things in the ACC are far less certain, even though the conference's current division leaders have just one conference loss between them. Fremeau, whose projections are listed above, said that Pitt and Wake Forest each had between a 15 and 17 percent chance of winning the rest of their respective regular-season games, and then Pitt lost over the weekend to Miami, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see the ACC Championship feature a pair of teams with at least three combined losses.

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