These five teams might look legit, but they won’t make the CFP.
We’re entering Week 8 of the college football season, and as such, the College Football Playoff is finally starting to take shape. At this point, Alabama seems like a lock to make it, but the other three spots are up in the air.
With that in mind, we’ve decided to evaluate five of the teams that give the appearance of CFP contenders, but aren’t really more than just pretenders.
Here are the 5 biggest pretenders in the CFP race:
5. No. 19 Michigan (5-1)
It’s truly a miracle that the Wolverines have a winning record, as they’ve looked about as mediocre as any other college football team in the nation. The defense is elite and no one doubts that, but my god, the offense is a disaster. Michigan ranks No. 94 in the nation in passing yards and No. 50 in rushing yards per game, and those stats aren’t just going to magically improve—we’re seven weeks in, after all. This is Michigan’s identity, and with a brutal schedule remaining, the Wolverines might not be in the top 25 at the end of the season.
Michigan has a path to the CFP, but they basically have to win out to make it. Not happening.
4. No. 11 USC (6-1)
I don’t really understand this team at all.
The Trojans have so much talent, but yet they’ve looked good in only one game this season (versus Stanford). Texas took them to overtime, Washington State man-handled them and Utah nearly got the upset last week. USC might be the best football team out of this entire list, but they don’t play like it at all, and that inconsistency cannot be overlooked. This week, they take on Notre Dame, and a convincing win would go a long way here to showing people they’re legit. Right now, I just don’t see it.
3. No. 10 Oklahoma State (5-1)
No question, Oklahoma State has the best passing attack in the country led by QB Mason Rudolph, but outside of that, there are some question marks for the Cowboys. Against TCU and Texas Tech, the defense was less than stellar, allowing at least 34 points in both contests. That’s not ideal, considering those are the only two legit teams the Cowboys have faced this season. It’s easy to blowout lesser teams, but it’ll be interesting to see how the Cowboys fare in their upcoming three-game stretch versus Texas, West Virginia and Oklahoma.
2. No. 5 Wisconsin (6-0)
Wisconsin has looked all-around solid this season, but let’s take a look at who the Badgers have played these last six weeks: Utah State, FAU, BYU, Northwestern, Nebraska and Purdue. I mean, it’s really hard to not look solid against any of those programs.
The Badgers have one game against a ranked opponent—Michigan—and we’ve already gone over how awful that team is. I won’t be convinced of Wisconsin’s legitimacy unless the Badgers do something spectacular in the Big Ten title game, and that’s the only way I see Wisconsin making the playoff.
My editor, Andrew Holleran, summed up Wisconin quite nicely: “They’ll go undefeated and then lose to Ohio State in the title game by like 15.”
1. No. 8 Miami (5-0)
At the beginning of the season, I wrote that Miami had a chance to go undefeated, but that was all predicated not necessarily on Miami being any good, but because their schedule was a cakewalk. That became even more true when FSU lost Deondre Francois for the year, essentially neutralizing their toughest opponent (which they eked by). So are the Hurricanes legit or are they frauds? I’m leaning pretty heavily towards the latter. Maybe they’ll show out these next couple of weeks, but their play has been underwhelming so far.
Eventually, the magic is going to run out for this team, whether it’s versus Virginia Tech or Notre Dame—or maybe even Syracuse.
The undefeated record looks pretty on paper, but this team is fool’s gold.