|Phil Steele Blog • November 18, 2015|
Phil Steele's Projected Final 4 thru Week 11.
I am very proud that my magazine was the most accurate in 2014, the most accurate the last 3 years, the most accurate the last 5 years, last 10 years, last 17 years, etc. I do not stop working on football once the magazine comes out. Check out the team pages on philsteele.com (Here) for all the updated stats each week. During the season, I work anywhere from 100-104 hours a week on football including a 21 hour Saturday. I have 12 TV’s that I watch, taking in the action all day long. I go thru every box score and play by play for each game. With that said, each week I will have a blog where I project my final 4 for the playoffs.
In my magazine, my top 40 is based on where I think the teams will FINISH, not where I would rank them at the start of the year. This is NOT where I would have the teams ranked currently if I was an AP Voter, it is where I feel the teams will finish this year. With that said, here are my current 4 teams to make the playoff.
Before I give you the teams I would like to give you the 4 conferences that control their own destiny. I know that Notre Dame is No.4 in the current rankings but they do not control their own destiny. If a Big Ten team is Undefeated (Ohio St or Iowa) they are in. If the Big 12's Oklahoma St runs the table they are in. If the ACC's Clemson is Undefeated, they are in. If the SEC Champ has one loss, they are in. Those 4 conferences all control their own destiny. Last week I mentioned that upsets always happen this time of year and they were not kind to the Pac 12. Both one loss teams Utah and Stanford were upset and the Pac 12 will need a rash of upsets to get back in the mix.
The preseason No.1 Ohio State Buckeyes only have one road game versus arch rival Michigan left. They get to host Michigan State this week. Ohio State still figures to be at least a touchdown favorite in every single game and favored in the Big Ten Title game and I expect them to win out. If they win out, they are in.
The Tide has the best defense in the country, one of the best offensive lines, RB Derrick Henry, and an improving QB in Jake Coker. Alabama just dominated LSU and Miss St and should be a TD plus favorite in all their remaining games. I expect them to win out and if they do, they are in the playoffs and despite their one loss could even end up the top seed.
The Tigers are unbeaten and No.1 in the committee’s rankings. They have a solid defense and QB Deshaun Watson. They should win the rest of their games with only Wake Forest and South Carolina left in the regular season and they both have clinched losing seasons. They will be a TD plus favorite against whatever team the Coastal tosses up against them. I have Clemson written in pen in my playoff bracket.
My computer has the Sooners right at the top and they clearly pass the eye test. They have it all with a balanced offense that is averaging close to 300 ypg rush and 300 ypg pass the last 5 weeks. They have the best defense in the Big 12 and also rank in my top 20 on special teams. They sure pass my eye test and do not have any real weak area. If they beat TCU and Oklahoma St in the last two games they will have beaten 3 ranked teams down the stretch and they will be the CLEAR Big 12 Champ which was something the conference lacked last year.
Just outside the mix: (Teams below are listed in Alphabetical order, not by rank)
The Bears took a big hit last week with the loss to OU and I would put their chances as slim right now of getting back into it but they could take a big step if they knock off an undefeated Oklahoma St.
The Gators were not impressive in their last two wins but if they win out and that would include a win over Alabma in the SEC Title game, they will be in the playoffs.
Who cares about style points? If Iowa wins out including a win over Ohio State in the Big Ten Title game, they will be in the playoffs.
The Spartans have a good shot if they win out as they would be the Big Ten Champs. They could use Oregon to rebound and win the Pac 12 North and Pac 12 overall as they beat them earlier this year. Their biggest threat to being left out might just be Notre Dame.
The Tar Heels just need to win out which would include an upset of No.1 Clemson in the ACC Title game. They will probably still need a little help as they had two FCS teams on their non-conference schedule. They are in the mix.
The Irish are currently No.4 in the rankings. They could really use Stanford or USC to win the Pac 12 and if that happens and the Irish beat both, they could claim a “Conference Championship.” They still need for either the ACC, Big 12 or Big Ten to finish with a champ with one loss to get there.
Simple. Win out and they are in.
The Cardinal were in my final four last week but that loss gave their hopes a big hit. They need a little bit of chaos to happen but if they beat Cal and win the Pac 12 and knock off No.4 Notre Dame in between AND some upsets happen, they have a chance
The Frogs hopes took a big hit and they need some help. First they must win out and that is not an easy proposition as they are a banged up team with a tough schedule.
Utah has a little less chance of getting in than Stanford as they do not have a Notre Dame left on the schedule. Still alive but on life support.
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