Yes, the odds are stacked right now against Minnesota making it as one of the four teams in the College Football Playoff. But if you’re among the hopeful, here are the teams you need to root for and against.
First of all, it’s probably wise to consider No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Clemson to be playoff locks. It’s hard to imagine them not being among the four teams.
A lot of people are saying that about No. 2 Ohio State, too. But a Gophers fan can look past this weekend’s game — when the Buckeyes are favored by 51 points over Rutgers — and look at Ohio State losing to Penn State and at Michigan to close out the season.
If Ohio State and Penn State each finish with one loss in the Big Ten East and the Gophers win the West, that would set up a rematch of last weekend’s game for the conference title in Indianapolis on Dec. 7.
Root for Auburn: Georgia (No. 4) plays at Auburn (2:30 p.m., CBS) and a loss would drop the Bulldogs to 8-2. No team with two losses has ever been among the CFP’s chosen four.
Don’t hold your breath: Alabama (No. 5) plays at Mississippi State (11 a.m., ESPN). The Crimson Tide is a pretty sure thing against their 4-5 opponent.
Another one-loss team: No. 6 Oregon plays host to Arizona (9:30 p.m., ESPN). Arizona is 4-5 and isn’t likely to hand the Ducks their second loss of the season. But it’s something to follow on the radio when you’re driving back from Iowa City.
One more out west: No. 7 Utah isn’t likely to lose for the second time when it meets UCLA, which is 4-5 (7 p.m., FOX).
Two more before you go: No. 9 Penn State plays host to Indiana, which is having a historic season by its standards with a 7-2 record, which is likely to be 7-4 after playing the Nittany Lions and next week against Michigan.
This one is interesting: No. 10 Oklahoma has one loss and plays undefeated (and No. 13) Baylor. If the Sooners lose, that would be their second loss. If Baylor wins, you’ll be hearing people wonder if the Bears will make the same leap in next week’s rankings that the Gophers made this week, when they went from No. 17 to No. 8.
To review: Georgia has the toughest test on the field. A rooting interest in the Oklahoma-Baylor game is the toughest test for Gophers fans.
But the biggest takeaway: Did you ever see yourself, as a Gophers fan, spending a Saturday in November 2019 watching the national college football scoreboard?
By the way, here’s that scoreboard. Happy following.