Each week John Chancey and Marty Coleman list their top 5. Their rankings after week 13 are below.
Chancey's Top 5
Georgia – On one hand, you have to wonder if the Bulldogs have gotten a little soft lately. They’ve only played one team with a winning record since mid-October. They aren’t playing down to the level of their opponents though, and they are playing an Alabama team that is very lucky they didn’t lose to Auburn, so I guess there isn’t too much to worry about.
Michigan – I have some Maize & Blue friends that are on Cloud Nine right now. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and they haven’t felt this in years. Now comes the test. Can Harbaugh gather the troops and get them focused for the Big Ten championship game? Iowa is not what we thought they were earlier in the year, but they aren’t scrubs either. They are in this game for a reason. The Wolverines need a smart game from Cade McNamara.
Cincinnati – This is exactly where they wanted to be. Everything’s coming together for them. All they need to do is get a big win against Houston. Some might say “Just win and you’re in!” but I don’t think that is true. Despite Alabama’s poor performance at Auburn, there are those who would put a two-loss Tide ahead of undefeated G5 team if they have Georgia on the ropes at any point in Atlanta. Remember how many people wanted to put the Bulldogs in the playoff a few years ago because they were ahead of the Tide at halftime, even though they choked it away in the 2nd half? Cincinnati needs a convincing win against the Cougars.
Oklahoma State – Michigan fans aren’t the only ones on Cloud Nine. The Cowboys don’t beat the Sooners very often, and they’ve never been in a position to make the CFP playoff. Coach Gundy has the same job as Harbaugh now: get his team focused and ready against a well-coached Baylor team.
Notre Dame – How bad was Alabama this past Saturday? They were so bad that an Auburn team, which just lost to South Carolina, with a hobbled back-up quarterback, almost beat them. I know flukes happen. Sometimes teams have bad days. I don’t care. Alabama played poorly and they were lucky they won. Notre Dame didn’t play a good schedule this year – let’s face it, they play a lot of ACC opponents and bookend them with Navy and Stanford – but they are 11-1 and are definitely more deserving of a CFP berth than Alabama. It just means more. There, I said it.
Coleman's Top 5
Georgia – Crushing bad teams is what the Dogs do, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens Saturday when they play an above average one in Alabama. Barring a 56-0 type loss the Bulldogs are in the playoff, so you wonder if they bring everything in this game or….something else.
Michigan – I suggested last week that the Wolverines may only be on this list for a week. I was wrong. Played well and crushed the demons of game 12 every year. You wonder if they peaked and will struggle against Iowa and in the playoff should they make it.
Oklahoma State – Sometimes you have to get a little lucky and the Cowboys did Saturday night with a dropped punt by Oklahoma at their own 8 and some questionable officiating. How do you drop a flag for a personal foul and then pick it up? I mean, you saw something that made you drop it in the first place, so…That said, this is a tough team and I expect they will beat Baylor and make the playoff.
Cincinnati – Hard to justify leaving the Bearcats out of the top 4 after their last two performances. FPI has them ranked 8th but gives them a 21.3% chance of playing for the title and 7.1% chance of winning it. I think those are high, but what do I know. The Bearcats can’t afford to look ahead as a very good Houston team lies between them, the playoffs and a lot of “Told you so’s”.
Notre Dame – The Irish have quietly put together a much better second half of the season than first. The schedule has been iffy at best, but all you can do is play the teams in front of you and win and the Irish have outscored their last four opponents 162-23. There are several scenarios where they make the playoff, but I could also see them getting left out. The Irish value their independence and there’s something to be said for that, namely they don’t risk a loss Saturday. The flip side is they can’t impress the committee either and that plus a weak schedule and a loss to Cincinnati could leave them on the outside looking in.