CFB Playoff: Previewing the Top Five


The No. 2 Seminoles receive a much needed bye this week, but with the initial CFB Playoff standings being released on Tuesday, it’s worth keeping an eye on the rest of the top five (the SEC West), which is still in action, including a top-25 showdown.

No. 1 Mississippi State at Kentucky

Had Kentucky shown up last weekend vs. LSU I might be riding the trap-game bandwagon, but I simply do not see it this weekend. Former Seminole defensive coordinator Mark Stoops has this Kentucky program heading in the absolute right direction, but they are still a very young team. Mississippi State has proven it can handle tough competition, so we will see how Kentucky fairs against the No. 1 team in the country.

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Kentucky comes into this game following a 41-3 dismantling by LSU in Death Valley. Kentucky has showed signs of fight this season, however, with a 45-38 win at home vs. Spurrier’s Gamecock and a triple-overtime loss vs. the Florida Gators. The Wildcats know how to compete, but Mississippi State is an elite opponent.

Mississippi State is coming off of a bye week in which the Bulldogs saw the Seminoles beat then No. 5 Notre Dame. The Bulldogs still believe they deserve that top spot, and most of the country does as well. With a big win Saturday, their case might just be solidified given the Seminoles’ off week

No. 2 Florida State: Bye Week, next Thursday at Louisville

No. 3 Ole Miss at No. 24 LSU

After its 41-3 blow out win vs. Kentucky, LSU has me believing that it can pull off this upset. Despite being handled by now No. 1 Mississippi State at home, and being blown-out at Auburn, LSU is still a talented ball club. They are similar to FSU in that they are young, talented, and have some players with experience. If LSU can ride a close game into the 4th quarter in front of its home crowd, I think they can pull off the upset.

Ole Miss will not let it happen easily, however;  their defense is for real and Bo Wallace is playing the best football of his career. Wallace’s inconsistency is still a big question mark though, and LSU’s defense is good enough to capitalize on his mistakes. Ole Miss blew out Tennessee 34-3 last weekend, but I do not see that happening again this weekend.

No. 4 Auburn vs. South Carolina

Plain and simple, South Carolina has not been good this season. A blow-out loss to Texas A&M at the beginning of the season was an eye opener, and most thought A&M was for real, but after a 59-0 loss to Alabama last weekend that’s clearly not true. South Carolina got beat by a solid Kentucky team on the road, but with how young Kentucky is, that should not happen. Mike Davis has been quiet all season, and Connor Shaw has not met his potential. They will struggle on the road Saturday.

Auburn’s only loss was to now No. 1 Mississippi State on the road, in a game the Tigers definitely did not play at their best. Many pointed fingers at Auburn after their narrow victory at Kansas State, but as the season progresses Kansas State looks better and better, making Auburn look the same. Auburn still has a grueling schedule left including games at No. 3 Ole Miss, at No. 8 Georgia, and at No. 5 Alabama. With a schedule like that, they can not afford to lose a very winnable game like this one.

No. 5 Alabama at Tennessee

Lane Kiffin’s return to Knoxville– this one will be interesting. Tennessee fans are still angry about the way Kiffin left, and I think,  because of that, this game will be close for the first half.

Alabama may have the most impressive win of the season last weekend with a 59-0 win vs. then #21 Texas A&M. (Florida State still holds the record for largest win over a top-25 opponent with the 63-0 win vs. Maryland last season). Tennessee was a tricky team earlier this season, and should have beat Georgia in Athens but lost in the waning moments. Is Tennessee capable of the upset? No, probably not. With Nick Saban and Alabama still angry about their loss at Ole Miss, they are playing their best football in two seasons.

With the schedule they have left, the Tide cannot afford to lose an easy match up vs. Tennessee. #24 LSU awaits next weekend, and a possible top-5 game vs. Mississippi State follows the next weekend, then, of course, the Iron Bowl awaits on November 29th.