We are still a week away from the first 2016 rankings release of the College Football Playoff committee. And while it’s clear that if Alabama, Michigan, Clemson and Washington keep winning that they will be the four teams at the top, it’s also clear that the Gators and Noles will be greatly involved starting this weekend.
Obviously, the titanic ACC showdown in prime time Saturday night in Tallahassee has Clemson playing arguably their last best chance to be knocked off in the regular season against FSU. Unfortunately, the Seminoles already suffered a second loss in the conference to UNC and so, short of two loss tiebreaker mayhem, they can’t win the division.
However, Florida State can obviously derail DeShaun Watson and the Tigers hopes for the unbeaten season and open the door for others in the CFP standings with their possible victory at Doak.
Needless to say, they will be rooting hard for the Noles in places like Louisville (who lost head to head to Clemson), Columbus, OH (where they lost to Penn State Saturday), but also un-beatens like Baylor, West Virginia and Nebraska want losses in front of them, too. Those three are definitely FSU fans Saturday.
And then there’s the other Florida team in the CFP rankings mix, the Gators.
Florida does have the one loss at Tennessee, but starting with this game Saturday in Jacksonville with Georgia, they essentially run a gauntlet of games that could land them in the CFP fianl four teams. Playing at Arkansas and now at LSU are huge schedule strength games and if the Gators win out, win the East and find themselves in Atlanta, they would essentially have a “play in” SEC Title game for the committee to ponder.
It will not be easy, as starting with the ‘Dawgs this week and continuing with the Hogs, Bayou Bengals and likely the Tide in Atlanta (if they even get there), that’s four tougher games than almost everyone of the contenders outside the SEC will have have to face down the stretch.
But to be worthy of the CFP top 4, Florida must win those games. Period.
So, starting this weekend, we find out if they have what it takes and down I-10, if Florida State can mess it up, for now, for Clemson.