Ranking the unbeatens in college football based on their chances to run the table

Written by on October 19, 2022

Fifteen groups within the Bowl Subdivision entered final weekend unbeaten. 9 got here out unblemished from the primary make-or-break weekend of the common season.

The record will proceed to shrink within the coming weeks. Solely 9 groups from the Energy 5 have entered the postseason unbeaten since the appearance of the School Soccer Playoff in 2014, not counting the abbreviated 2020 season. 4 groups from the Group of 5 have carried out so, together with Cincinnati a 12 months in the past, however there are not any unbeaten groups left within the non-major conferences.

And matchups scheduled within the coming weeks be sure that not more than 5 will enter the postseason with no loss, starting with a matchup of ACC unbeatens Saturday in No. 5 Clemson and No. 14 Syracuse. There’ll be, at greatest, just one undefeated crew within the SEC after No. 1 Georgia and No. four Tennessee meet in early November, and at most one good crew within the Massive Ten after No. 2 Ohio State and No. three Michigan collide later within the month.

Clemson kicker B.T. Potter (29) reacts after making a field goal against North Carolina State during the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium.

So the losses are coming. However when and the place will these 9 Bowl Subdivision groups fall from the ranks of the unbeaten? This is the inside track, from almost certainly to least prone to run the desk heading into convention championship weekend.

No. 5 Clemson (7-0)

Observe each sport: Live NCAA College Football Scores

Schedule: No. 14 Syracuse, at Notre Dame, Louisville, Miami (Fla.), South Carolina.

Most definitely first loss: Notre Dame, Nov. 5.

Clemson will likely be heavy favorites to win out with just one sport remaining in opposition to ranked competitors and 4 of 5 video games coming in Loss of life Valley. Nearly by default, that makes the sport at Notre Dame the Tigers’ largest take a look at even because the Preventing Irish journey and fall via Marcus Freeman’s debut. 

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No. 1 Georgia (7-0)

Schedule: Florida (Jacksonville, Fla.), No. four Tennessee, at No. 24 Mississippi State, at No. 18 Kentucky, Georgia Tech.

Most definitely first loss: Tennessee, Nov. 5.

For all of the well-deserved reward for Tennessee’s out of the blue unstoppable offense, Georgia ranks third nationally in averaging 7.four yards per play in opposition to Bowl Subdivision competitors – two spots forward of Hendon Hooker and the Volunteers. That does not imply Tennessee will likely be something near a pushover; even the Bulldogs may battle protecting Hooker underneath wraps. This makes the Volunteers by far Georgia’s largest take a look at and this sport one of many defining matchups of the common season.

No. 2 Ohio State (6-0)

Schedule: Iowa, at No. 16 Penn State, at Northwestern, Indiana, at Maryland, No. three Michigan.

Most definitely first loss: Michigan, Nov. 26.

It is laborious to image a situation the place Iowa or Maryland scores the mammoth upset even when Ohio State could occasional stomach flop in opposition to an inferior Massive Ten opponent. Given how the Buckeyes have rolled since early September, dropping at the least 45 factors on every of the previous 5 opponents, it might symbolize an nearly colossal letdown to not be unbeaten getting into the season finale in opposition to Michigan. How will that rivalry unfold? The Wolverines bullied the Buckeyes final 12 months and will very simply accomplish that once more subsequent month.

No. three Michigan (7-0)

Schedule: Michigan State, at Rutgers, Nebraska, No. 20 Illinois, at No. 2 Ohio State.

Most definitely first loss: Ohio State, Nov. 26.

You possibly can throw out the data in the case of the upcoming rivalry sport in opposition to Michigan State, however solely to some extent: Michigan’s dominance on each strains paints an unpleasant image of the Spartans’ probabilities of scoring the upset. Likewise with Rutgers, Nebraska and to a lesser diploma Illinois, which has made an enormous leap in Bret Bielema’s second 12 months. It is all concerning the Buckeyes and all that will likely be on the road on the finish of November, with this 12 months’s assembly in Columbus.

No. four Tennessee (6-0)

Schedule: Tennessee-Martin, No. 18 Kentucky, at No. 1 Georgia, Missouri, at South Carolina, at Vanderbilt.

Most definitely first loss: Georgia, Nov. 5.

Kentucky will not be a pushover. The Wildcats completed with 487 yards in final week’s win in opposition to Mississippi State, a season excessive in opposition to FBS competitors, and will proceed to place up huge numbers on offense now that quarterback Will Levis and working again Chris Rodriguez are lastly collectively in the identical backfield. Whereas Georgia is the marquee sport on the remaining schedule, you may make the case that Kentucky is up there by way of significance: Tennessee can lose to Georgia and nonetheless make the playoff at 11-1 however would wish to win out – beating the Bulldogs and certain Alabama – to achieve the semifinals with a loss to the Wildcats.

No. eight TCU (6-0)

Schedule: No. 17 Kansas State, at West Virginia, Texas Tech, at No. 21 Texas, at Baylor, Iowa State.

Most definitely first loss: Kansas State, Oct. 22.

The bandwagon is filling up for TCU after a livid comeback in opposition to No. 11 Oklahoma State left first-year coach Sonny Dykes and the Horned Frogs as the one unbeaten crew within the Massive 12 on the halfway level. Which may not final previous Saturday’s matchup in opposition to Kansas State’s underrated cross protection and two-man offense of quarterback Adrian Martinez and working again Deuce Vaughn. 

TCU safety Bud Clark (26) makes the interception in front of Oklahoma State wide receiver Braydon Johnson (8) during the second half at Amon G. Carter Stadium.

No. 7 Mississippi (7-0)

Schedule: at LSU, at Texas A&M, No. 6 Alabama, at Arkansas, No. 24 Mississippi State.

Most definitely first loss: LSU, Oct. 22.

That the Rebels are getting little to no recognition for remaining unbeaten via seven video games has all the things to do with the schedule: Ole Miss has performed simply two groups presently with a profitable file, Troy and Kentucky. That is left a backloaded SEC schedule jammed with opponents competing for eight or extra wins in the course of the common season. The Rebels’ first loss may come as quickly as this weekend’s highway journey in opposition to LSU, which has received 5 of six underneath new coach Brian Kelly.

No. 10 UCLA (6-0)

Schedule: at No. 9 Oregon, Stanford, at Arizona State, Arizona, No. 12 Southern California, at California.

Most definitely first loss: Oregon, Oct. 22.

The offense is rolling: UCLA has scored at the least 40 factors 5 occasions in six video games and is one among simply 4 groups within the FBS – together with TCU, Ohio State and Kansas – averaging at the least 5.5 yards per carry and at the least 9.1 yards per cross try. The Bruins have additionally notched two very good wins in a row in opposition to Washington and No. 15 Utah. Oregon has been terrific since shedding to Georgia within the season opener and can present an excellent more durable take a look at, particularly as quarterback Bo Nix begins to flourish since transferring into this system from Auburn.

No. 14 Syracuse (6-0)

Schedule: at No. 5 Clemson, Notre Dame, at Pittsburgh, Florida State, at No. 13 Wake Forest, at Boston School.

Most definitely first loss: Clemson, Oct. 22.

Probably the most nice shock within the Energy 5 this facet of Kansas, the Orange have been typically spectacular on protection, particularly in opposition to the run. Almost a 3rd of the 1,613 complete yards allowed by Syracuse got here in a single sport in opposition to Purdue, which put up 485 yards, 424 via the air, in final month’s 32-29 loss. Attending to 9 wins and securing a house within the Prime 25 is a chance, particularly if working again Sean Tucker will get on observe after a hit-or-miss first half. However there are a number of losses on the docket within the second half, the primary coming this weekend at Clemson.

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