Believe it or not, we’re at the midway point of the college football regular season. With that being said, it seems like an appropriate time to look at the teams that remain undefeated and whether or not they should be considered genuine contenders.
The Tigers have now won 21 straight games, the longest active winning streak in the country. Clemson had a scare a few weeks ago, only beating North Carolina by a single point. However, after their bye week, they responded with a 45-14 beatdown of Florida State on Saturday. There could be a few tricky games left on the schedule, but after one close call, the Tigers are likely to stay focused the rest of the way.
Matt Rhule has done an incredible job of getting Baylor turned around after going 1-11 two years ago. Of course, the Bears needed a last-second field goal to beat Iowa State a few weeks ago and double overtime to beat Texas Tech on Saturday on their way to 6-0. Baylor also has its toughest games ahead of it, although the Bears will play both Oklahoma and Texas at home.
After surviving Texas on Saturday, it should be smooth sailing for the Sooners from here on out. That’s probably not true with road games against Baylor and Oklahoma State and a potential rematch with Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game. But the Oklahoma defense looks far better than past years, which could be its ticket back to the College Football Playoff.
The Buckeyes headline four undefeated teams in the Big Ten. While they’ve impressed in all six wins, Ohio State still has to play Wisconsin, Penn State, and Michigan, giving them three potential stumbling blocks between now and the conference title game.
The Nittany Lions have been a little lackluster at times, but their defense is for real, and quarterback Sean Clifford is coming along. They’ll face Michigan and Michigan State the next two weeks, which will tell us a lot about Penn State.
Nobody saw Minnesota starting the year 6-0, but their emphatic win over Nebraska on Saturday is a sign that they could be for real despite some close calls early in the season. Of course, the road gets tougher in November when the Gophers have to play Penn State, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
The Badgers should be getting more attention after putting up shutouts in four of their six wins. They’ll get Ohio State in a few weeks, not to mention games with Minnesota and Iowa, but Wisconsin should not be overlooked as a CFP contender.
It’s business as usual in Tuscaloosa, with the Tide winning by comfortable margins every week. That isn’t likely to change until at least November when Alabama plays both LSU and Auburn in what will be their biggest tests of the regular season.
With wins over both Texas and Florida, the Tigers are a serious contender. Of course, games against Auburn and Alabama are on the horizon, but a win in at least one of those games should keep LSU in the CFP conversation.
Surprise, surprise, the Broncos are Group of 5 kings once again. Boise State has a road win over Florida State on its resume and should be heavily favored the rest of the way, although road games with BYU and Utah State could trip it up.
The Mountaineers have a new head coach, but not much else has changed. Appalachian State has notched road wins over North Carolina and Louisiana on their way to being 5-0. However, road games against South Carolina and Troy could potentially trip up the Sun Belt favorites.
The Mustangs are ranked for the first time since getting the “Death Penalty” over 30 years ago. The remaining AAC schedule is no cakewalk, with games against Temple, Memphis, Navy, and Tulane. Plus, SMU isn’t a threat to crash the CFP.