Looking at the Remaining Games That Will Shape This Year's College Football Playoff Race

By David Regimbal on November 4, 2019 at 1:00 pm
Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins
© Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The College Football Playoff race is about to turn drastically more difficult for a number of contenders around the country, and that's especially true for Ohio State.

The Buckeyes have a tough remaining slate to navigate, particularly when compared to other teams in the hunt (hello, Clemson). But Ryan Day's team looks every bit the part of a playoff team as it leads the country in margin of victory, and it'll look to continue that momentum in the closing month of the regular season.

Ohio State learns where it stands in the eyes of the playoff committee this Tuesday, when the season's first official playoff ranking is released. The Buckeyes will almost certainly be ranked in the top four alongside LSU, Alabama and Clemson, with teams like Penn State, Georgia and Oregon in position to climb.

November has consistently proven to be a wild, shakeup month for teams chasing a title shot, and the same goes for the key conference title games.

Here's a look at the remaining games that will shape the College Football Playoff race.

Ohio State against the (B1G) World

Considering the audience here, it won't be imperative to highlight the Buckeyes' tough closing slate.

Tuneup games against Maryland (at home) and Rutgers (in the world's greatest television market) won't challenge Ohio State, but hosting No. 5 Penn State a week before traveling to No. 14 Michigan certainly will.

If the Buckeyes navigate the final month of the season and book a return trip to Indianapolis, they'll face either Minnesota, Iowa or Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game.

November 9: No. 1 LSU @ No. 2 Alabama

It's this week's game of the century of the decade of the year!

Joe Burrow leads his top-ranked Tigers into Bryant-Denny stadium for a showdown against a Tide team that hasn't played anyone currently ranked in the Top 25.

LSU, of couse, is battle tested after traveling to Texas and beating a healthy Longhorns squad. That win is complemented by a pair of solid home victories over Florida and Auburn.

Those wins helped the Tigers overtake Alabama for the No. 1 spot. Whoever wins on Saturday will not only have a stranglehold on the SEC West Division, but an inside track to the playoff.

November 16: No. 9 Oklahoma @ No. 11 Baylor

It's hard to acknowledge Baylor as a player after the on-field product fell so dramatically following Art Briles' disgraceful exit in Waco, Texas. The Bears have surged this year, though, winning their first eight games, albeit unimpressively. 

Their matchup against Oklahoma will determine the Big 12's only playoff contender, though. 

Every other Big 12 team has suffered two losses or more, so this matchup (and the conference title game, of course) is the league's marquee matchup.

November 30: No. 2 Alabama @ No. 12 Auburn

If the Tide can take down the Tigers this weekend, it'll set the stage for a huge Iron Bowl to close the season.

There are some experts who believe Alabama won't get into the College Football Playoff if it loses this weekend and finishes the year 11-1 and on the outside looking in of the SEC title game. It's hard to imagine the committee leaving the Tide out in that circumstance, especially if they come out with a convincing road victory against their top rival.

December 6: Pac-12 Title Game

No. 7 Oregon and No. 8 Utah look like they're on a collision course for the conference title game, which both desperately need because neither have a ranked opponent remaining on their schedule.

The Pac 12's best shot at getting a team into the playoff is a combination of chaos and these two teams winning out to face each other in Santa Clara, California.

December 7: SEC Title Game

Because duh.

Notice how Clemson wasn't mentioned here? That's because the only remaining game they have against a currently ranked opponent comes in two weeks when they host No. 22 Wake Forest. The Tigers' likely opponent in the ACC title game is either Virginia or Pitt.

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