clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

No. 7 TCU is in Good Position to Move Up in the College Football Playoff Rankings

New, 26 comments

The Horned Frogs came in at No. 7 in the first College Football Playoff rankings, and with the way things play out the rest of the way, the Frogs are in solid position to climb.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

In case you missed it, TCU was ranked No. 7 in the College Football Playoff rankings released on Tuesday night. The Top 10 is as follows:

1. Mississippi State Bulldogs
2. Florida State Seminoles
3. Auburn Tigers
4. Ole Miss Rebels
5. Oregon Ducks
6. Alabama Crimson Tide
7. TCU Horned Frogs
8. Michigan State Spartans
9. Kansas State Wildcats
10. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

So, you can see that there are four SEC teams, along with Florida State and Oregon, ahead of TCU. If you're a Horned Frog Fan, you should be happy with this initial ranking. Here are five reasons why, and one hail mary.

1. TCU is already ahead of Michigan State and Notre Dame

The voters have essentially decided that at this point in the season, TCU has been more impressive than Michigan State and Notre Dame. That's incredibly valuable. TCU's best win is over then-ranked No. 4 Oklahoma, while Michigan State's is over then-ranked No. 19 Nebraska. Notre Dame's best win is their loss to Florida State (I know I'm not the first person to say that), but really their best actual win is over 3-loss Stanford or North Carolina, take your pick.

Here's how the three teams remaining schedules look the rest of the way:

Date

No. 7 TCU (6-1)

No. 8 Michigan State (7-1)

No. 10 Notre Dame (6-1)

November 1

at No. 20 West Virginia (6-2)

OFF

at Navy (4-4)

November 8

vs. No. 9 Kansas State (6-1)

vs. No. 16 Ohio State (6-1)

at No. 14 Arizona State (6-1)

November 15

at Kansas (2-5)

at Maryland (5-3)

vs. Northwestern (3-4)

November 22

OFF

vs. Rutgers (5-3)

vs. No. 25 Louisville (6-2)

November 29

at Texas (3-5) (Nov. 27)

at Penn State (4-3)

at USC (5-3)

December 6

vs. Iowa State (2-5)

Big 10 Championship

OFF

Remaining Combined Opponent Record (RCOR)

19-18

20-10

24-14

While TCU plays the two weakest teams (Kansas, Iowa State) out of the three, they also have the hardest team (Kansas State) left out of the three. All three teams have games that are lose-able, but they all have the potential to win out as well. At this point, I'd put Michigan State as the team with the best chance to win out (out of these three).

This will come down to championship weekend, when TCU faces off against lowly Iowa State, while Michigan State, if they stay on course, will be facing off against a very beatable Big 10 West team (probably Nebraska, maybe Minnesota). TCU fans should really follow Minnesota closely the rest of the way, because they could be a huge help to the Frogs should they reach the Big 10 Championship. Of course, they still face off against Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin, so the likelihood of them losing another game or two is high.

2. The SEC West is about to go Hannibal on itself

We can talk about SEC bias until we're blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is, in this sport your recent legacy carries almost as much weight as your current record, which is why four SEC West teams are in the Top 6. However, those four teams still have ridiculous schedules ahead. Here they are.

Date

No. 1 Mississippi State (7-0)

No. 3 Auburn (6-1)

No. 4 Ole Miss (7-1)

No. 6 Alabama (7-1)

Nov. 1

vs. Arkansas (4-4)

at No. 4 Ole Miss (7-1)

vs. No. 3 Auburn (6-1)

OFF

Nov. 8

vs. UT Martin (4-5)*

vs. Texas A&M (5-3)

vs. Presbyterian (5-3)*

at No. 19 LSU (7-2)

Nov. 15

at No. 6 Alabama (7-1)

at No. 11 Georgia (6-1)

OFF

vs. No. 1 Miss St. (7-0)

Nov. 22

vs. Vanderbilt (2-6)

vs. Samford (4-3)*

at Arkansas (4-4)

vs. W. Carolina (6-2)*

Nov. 29

at No. 4 Ole Miss (7-1)

at No. 6 Alabama (7-1)

vs. No. 1 Miss St. (7-0)

vs. No. 3 Auburn (6-1)

Dec. 6

SEC Championship

SEC Championship

SEC Championship

SEC Championship

RCOR (with FCS opponent)

24-17

29-9

22-8

26-5

RCOR (w/o FCS opponent)

20-12

25-6

17-5

20-3

*FCS Opponent

Out of these four, Auburn has the hardest schedule left by far, having to go on the road against Ole Miss, Georgia and Alabama. Meanwhile, it would seem like Ole Miss has the easiest schedule left, with only four games and Auburn and Mississippi State at home. The Bulldogs still have to go to Tuscaloosa, while the Tide has to go to Death Valley. The argument could be made that at the end of all of it, there will be only one SEC team with fewer than two losses.

Essentially what this means for TCU is that as long as they take care of business, they're going to watch, at minimum, two SEC teams fall behind them as we move through the back half of the season.

3. Oregon's remaining schedule is very weak

The Ducks have quality wins over Michigan State and UCLA, but the rest of their schedule isn't very daunting, meaning there may not be much opportunity to move up unless the SEC teams ahead of them fall out (very possible).

Here's a side by side of TCU vs. Oregon's remaining schedules.

Date

No. 5 Oregon (7-1)

No. 7 TCU (6-1)

November 1

vs. Stanford (5-3)

at No. 20 West Virginia (6-2)

November 8

at No. 17 Utah (6-1)

vs. No. 9 Kansas State (6-1)

November 15

OFF

at Kansas (2-5)

November 22

vs. Colorado (2-6)

OFF

November 29

at Oregon State (4-3)

at Texas (3-5) (Nov. 27)

December 6

PAC 12 Championship

vs. Iowa State (2-5)

RCOR

17-13

19-18

Oregon's hardest remaining game is at Utah, which, if they play poorly, is very loseable. Outside of that, their remaining schedule is weaker than TCU's, despite the Frogs' remaining games against Kansas and Iowa State.

If Oregon ends up beating the Utes, they'll probably face off against the winner of Arizona State/Arizona in the Pac-12 Championship.

4. Florida State should win out pretty easily

Wait, why is this good for TCU? I'll tell you. If Florida State loses a game the rest of the way, it'll probably be this Thursday against No. 25 Louisville. That gives them enough time as a one-loss team to run the rest of the schedule and get close to being in the Top 4. If it comes down to TCU and Florida State for the final spot, the resumes are very close, and it's highly likely that Florida State gets the nod as the defending champs. TCU's best win at the end of the season, should they win-out, would be No. 4 Oklahoma with No. 9 Kansas State close behind. Meanwhile, FSU will have beaten No. 22 Clemson and No. 5 Notre Dame, and both teams would have a loss to a Top 25 opponent.

What pushes FSU ahead? Well, defending champs status, as well as the ACC Championship game, where they'd probably face off against a ranked Duke team, while TCU played Iowa State.

Here's FSU's schedule the rest of the way, compared to TCU.

Date

No. 2 Florida State (7-0)

No. 7 TCU (6-1)

November 1

at No. 25 Louisville (6-2) (Oct. 30)

at No. 20 West Virginia (6-2)

November 8

vs Virginia (4-4)

vs. No. 9 Kansas State (6-1)

November 15

at Miami (5-3)

at Kansas (2-5)

November 22

vs. Boston College (5-3)

OFF

November 29

vs. Florida (3-3)

at Texas (3-5) (Nov. 27)

December 6

ACC Championship

vs. Iowa State (2-5)

RCOR

23-15

19-18

5. Outside of the SEC and Big 12, the other Power 5 conferences only have one contender

The Pac 12 (Oregon), Big 10 (MIchigan State) and ACC (Florida State) really only have one contender each to get into the college football playoff. That's good for TCU, because it means that if any of these teams lose, especially later in the season or in their conference championship, TCU is less likely to be jumped by anyone else in their conference.

There are a few teams to keep your eye on though.

The second-highest Pac 12 team is No. 14 Arizona State, arguably the most likely to shoot up the rankings should they win their conference. Meanwhile, the next highest ranked Big 10 teams are Nebraska at No. 15, and Ohio State at No. 16. Ohio State has potential to climb, as they still face off against Michigan State, and then could win the Big 10 (presumably against Nebraska).

Meanwhile, the ACC's next best team is Clemson at No. 21, who Florida State already beat. It's very likely that if Florida State loses somewhere along the way, that the ACC would be left out of the playoff entirely.

If any of these teams were to lose, however, it leaves room for another SEC team (any of Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss and Georgia, assuming Mississippi State wins out), to hop into the mix, but at that point, TCU would have most likely moved into the Top 4 as well.

One Hail Mary: Go Minnesota Go

Outside of TCU taking care of business, the best advocate for the Horned Frogs is MInnesota. The Gophers, sitting at 6-2, still square off against Nebraska and Ohio State. If, and it's a massive if (hence the Hail Mary), Minnesota could knock off one, or both, of those squads, they could wind up in the Big 10 championship against Michigan State. A win there, and holy cow the Frogs beat the Big 10 champs 30-7, and that looks really, really good.

So, keep an eye on those teams the rest of the way and take comfort in knowing that things are looking good for TCU. Also, if you want it, here's the Top 25 with toughest opponent remaining.

Rank Team Conference Toughest opponent left (per F/+) If the season ended today ...
1 Mississippi State SEC Ole Miss Sugar Bowl vs. Ole Miss
2 Florida State ACC Louisville Rose Bowl vs. Auburn
3 Auburn SEC Ole Miss Rose Bowl vs. Florida State
4 Ole Miss SEC Auburn Sugar Bowl vs. Mississippi State
5 Oregon Pac-12 Stanford New Year's bowl
6 Alabama SEC Auburn Orange Bowl*
7 TCU Big 12 Kansas State New Year's bowl
8 Michigan State Big Ten Ohio State New Year's bowl
9 Kansas State Big 12 TCU New Year's bowl
10 Notre Dame Independent Louisville New Year's bowl
11 Georgia SEC Auburn
12 Arizona Pac-12 Arizona State
13 Baylor Big 12 Oklahoma
14 Arizona State Pac-12 Notre Dame
15 Nebraska Big Ten Wisconsin
16 Ohio State Big Ten Michigan State
17 Utah Pac-12 Oregon
18 Oklahoma Big 12 Baylor
19 LSU SEC Alabama
20 West Virginia Big 12 TCU
21 Clemson ACC Georgia Tech Orange Bowl*
22 UCLA Pac-12 Stanford
23 East Carolina UCF New Year's bowl*
24 Duke ACC Virginia Tech
25 Louisville ACC Florida State