Remaining NCAA Football Games with Key Impact on Playoff

Photo Credit: Uni Watch (featured image), CBS Sports (team logos)

There are still nine weeks to go until the best two teams in NCAA football will meet to determine who the 2017 national champion is, and that means there is lots of meaningful football to be played yet until we find out which four teams even make it to the College Football Playoff (CFP) semifinals, which will be held nine days prior. Here is a list of some of the key games down the stretch that could have a real impact on shaping this season’s CFP field involving two teams that BOTH still have a legitimate chance at making it into NCAA football’s version of NCAA basketball’s “Final Four.” This list includes the matchups themselves, the date of the matchups, and each team’s current rank in the CFP rankings as well as their current overall record. Note that this list does also not count conference championship games, which are sure to impact the CFP picture for both teams involved in many of them.

Last week, this list included a total of two games, down from 15 when this series began a few weeks ago. Now, it’s still two, as one of last week’s game was played but another game, which has yet to be put on this list, looks like it will have serious CFP implications for both teams involved in it. Without further do, here are those two remaining games.



2. aub #8 Auburn Tigers (7-2) @ BAMA #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (9-0)

  • Date: Week 13- Saturday, November 26th, 2016
  • Analysis: This game, the Iron Bowl, will likely decide which of these two teams represents the SEC West in the SEC championship game, meaning it will be a challenge for Alabama to get into the CFP if they lose this game, and impossibly for Auburn if they lose. Even if Auburn were to win this game and have two losses, having beaten the best team in the country on the road and then going on to play (and likely win) in the SEC championship game would give them the boost that they need in order to get into the CFP. For Alabama, the formula is far more simple. Don’t shoot yourselves in the foot, and win this rivalry game in front of the home crowd to lock up a berth in your third CFP in three tries depending on how the SEC championship goes against much lighter competition (which shouldn’t be the case, which you can read about HERE, but unfortunately is).


1. mich #2 Michigan Wolverines (9-0) @ ohiost #5 Ohio State Buckeyes (8-1)

  • Date: Week 13- Saturday, November 26th, 2016
  • Analysis: This game is almost guaranteed to determine which of these two teams will make it into the Big Ten championship game with a chance to go onto the CFP. The game is a must-win for both teams, as neither will be able to afford a loss on the final week of the regular season. Even if Michigan loses this game and only this game during the regular season, that loss coming in this particular game would most likely douse their hopes of making and winning the Big Ten championship and thus making it into the CFP. Ohio State cannot lose this game since they simply cannot afford two losses, as that would ruin their chance at making the Big Ten championship and the CFP. This game is similar to the Iron Bowl in that its implications are not just limited to conference championships, but to the whole CFP picture.


-Asher Fair