As much as we’ve enjoyed the wild ride that has been the 2015 college football season, we’re ready to move on to bigger and better things. By this, of course, we mean the College Football Playoff. Now that the regular season is officially behind us, all that’s stands between the four best teams in college football and their date with destiny is the conference championship games.
If you’re one of those people who believe the playoff is pretty much set, we hate to break it to you — that couldn’t be further from the truth. The way it stands, there are still a few teams that have a legitimate shot at making it into the playoff. And with the release of the latest CFP rankings, we’re here to take a closer look at how the top seven teams in college football currently stack up.
Following their thrilling 38-36 victory over previously No. 6-ranked Notre Dame, the Stanford Cardinal moved up two spots to No. 7 in the latest CFP rankings. Despite being on the outside looking in, the Cardinal still hold a small chance of making it into the College Football Playoff. Of course, if David Shaw’s group can’t defeat the USC Trojans in the upcoming Pac-12 championship game, then that’s all she wrote.
6. Ohio State
The Ohio State Buckeyes bounced back from their first loss of the season in a major way, demolishing Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines by a score of 42-13. Although Urban Meyer’s crew will not play in the upcoming Big Ten championship game, by moving into the No. 6 spot in the most recent CFP rankings, they still have a small shot at making the College Football Playoff. Unfortunately, for that to happen, it will require a few higher-seeded teams to stumble this week. There’s nothing worse than not controlling one’s own destiny.
5. Michigan State
By clobbering the Penn State Nittany Lions 55-16, the Michigan State Spartans held firm at No. 5 in the most recent CFP rankings. On top of that, this latest victory secured the Big Ten East title for Mark Dantonio and company, setting up a conference championship game that will most likely send the victor to the College Football Playoff. Sparty may be one of the hottest teams in the country, but we expect their next opponent to put up a fight.
With a 28-20 victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers, the Iowa Hawkeyes improved their record to 12-0 on the year and remained the No. 4 ranked team in the most recent CFP standings. While this group may not look like your average championship-caliber team, the Hawkeyes’ record tells a different story. If head coach Kirk Ferenz can lead his Iowa squad past Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game, we don’t see how the selection committee could possibly leave the Hawkeyes out of the College Football Playoff.
Despite all the anticipation leading up to the contest between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, the actual game itself proved to be an incredibly one-sided affair. Thanks in large part to 344 total rushing yards, the Sooners throttled the Cowboys 58-23, secured the Big 12 title, remained No. 3 in the CFP rankings, and likely secured a place in the College Football Playoff. Big Game Bob (Stoops), the stage is yours.
With a 29-13 victory over the Auburn Tigers in the Iron Bowl, the only thing standing in the way of Alabama (still No. 2 in the CFP rankings) and its second straight trip to the College Football Playoff is a looming matchup with the Florida Gators in the SEC championship game. While Jim McElwain is certainly leading a resurgence in Gainesville, with the way Alabama has been rolling, we have a hard time picturing the Gators stopping Nick Saban and the mighty Tide.
After defeating the South Carolina Gamecocks 37-32, the Clemson Tigers improved to 12-0 on the year and maintained their position as the No. 1 team in the country. The only thing standing in the way of Clemson and a spot in the College Football Playoff is a date with the North Carolina Tar Heels (No. 10 CFP) in the ACC championship game. This has all the makings of a classic. And with more than just a massive pizza party on the line, we cannot wait to see how it all plays out.