Top 5 College Football Playoff Storylines Heading Into Week 15

College Football Rankings Week 8

After 14 weeks, the College Football Playoff comes down to the conference championships. By my calculations, seven teams can make the College Football Playoff: No. 1 Ohio State, No 2. LSU, No. 3 Clemson, No. 4 Georgia, No. 5 Utah, No. 6 Oklahoma, and No. 7 Baylor*. All of these teams will be in action this weekend in their respective championship games.

For comparison, my College Football Playoff includes:

  1. LSU
  2. Ohio State
  3. Clemson
  4. Georgia

I still don’t agree with the committee’s decision to switch LSU and Ohio State since LSU never lost, but that should change this weekend if LSU beats Georgia. In Week 15, all eyes will be on the Pac-12 Championship, SEC Championship, Big 12 Championship, and the Big Ten Championship. Here are the top five CFP storylines heading into the weekend.

Will Ohio State Or LSU Make The Playoff If They Lose?

If Ohio State and LSU win their respective conference championships, they’ll make the College Football Playoff. That’s an obvious fact. However, what happens if Ohio State or LSU lose? Do both teams have strong enough cases to still make the Playoff? Truthfully, I’ve watched enough football this year to confidently say that Ohio State and LSU are two of the four best teams in the country. Between Ohio State’s domination and LSU’s wins against top-10 teams, their resumes are extremely strong and better than those of Utah, Oklahoma, and Baylor. In terms of which team can afford a loss more, it’s Ohio State since they’re currently at 1. To drop from 1 to 5 would be drastic for the Buckeyes if they lost to Wisconsin. I don’t have the same conviction for LSU if they lose to Georgia and either Utah, Oklahoma, or Baylor wins. However, if Ohio State and LSU win, then there’s nothing to worry about.

Is Ohio State Making A Case For Best Team Ever?

I’m jealous of Joel Klatt for tweeting this before me, but we’re both on the same page. This year’s Ohio State team is on track to become one of the best teams of all time. Besides the 11-point victory over Penn State, Ohio State has won every other game by at least 24 points. Furthermore, the Buckeyes are fifth in total offense and first in total defense. Ohio State has the stud quarterback in Justin Fields, the workhorse running back in J.K. Dobbins, and the best player in college football, Chase Young. If Ohio State rolls through No. 8 Wisconsin, Clemson, and LSU on the way to a National Championship, then the Buckeyes will go down as one of the best teams of all time.

Utah Needs To Put Pressure On The Committee With A Dominant Win

For the fifth-ranked team in the nation, Utah has gone fairly under-the-radar because of their lack of television presence on the East Coast. Make no mistake about it, the Utes are for real. Utah’s defense punches teams in the mouth and never backs off. Since their only loss to USC back in September, the Utes defense has given up 15 or more points once. Although Utah sits just outside of the playoff, I’m not convinced they have a “win and in.” Conventional wisdom says Utah gets in if Ohio State, LSU, and Clemson win and Georgia loses. However, Utah still needs to make a statement against Oregon and dominate from start to finish. Utah must silence its critics and put pressure on the committee to choose the Utes for the playoff.

Does The Big 12 Have Any Chance Of Making The Playoff?

To answer the question, yes, the Big 12 has a chance to make the playoff. Both Oklahoma and Baylor sit at 11-1. The winner would be 12-1 with a Power 5 conference championship. The only problem is both teams need Utah to lose in order to surpass them in the rankings. If Ohio State, LSU, and Clemson win and then Georgia and Utah lose, the Big 12 champion should make the playoff. I’m calling my shot. That’s exactly what’s going to happen. The top 3 teams will win, Georgia and Utah will lose, and Oklahoma will beat Baylor. Oklahoma is going to be the fourth playoff team. Bank on it.

Is Clemson Out Of The Playoff If They Lose To Virginia?

Yes. Next question. I like Clemson and believe they are one of the four best teams in the country. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Clemson wins the whole thing. But if Clemson loses to Virginia in the ACC Championship, the Tigers don’t deserve to make the playoff. Clemson has the No. 85 strength of schedule and the worst loss in the Power 5 title games. Clemson must (and will) win on Saturday.

Bonus: Georgia Can Spoil The Party

Failing to write a paragraph about Georgia was not my intention. The Bulldogs are a good football team with impressive wins over No. 15 Notre Dame, No. 9 Florida, and No. 11 Auburn. The Bulldogs will keep it close against LSU. If the Bulldogs can force Burrow to make mistakes, Georgia could be representing the SEC in the playoff.

Also, how weird is it to see Alabama outside the top-10?

What are your top College Football Playoff storylines for Week 15? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow, or email us at

*Rankings used in this article are from the latest College Football Playoff Rankings.

Top 5 College Football Playoff Storylines Heading Into Week 14

After three months, the college football regular season comes down to one final week. No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2 LSU, and No. 3 Clemson all control their own destiny. You could say that No. 4 Georgia also controls their own destiny as well since they will play LSU in the SEC Championship. However, teams like No. 5 Alabama, No. 6. Utah, and No. 7 Oklahoma will need some help to move up in the College Football Playoff rankings.

This past Tuesday, the committee revealed their latest playoff rankings*. The top five remain the same, but a string of one-loss teams sit at 6-9.

For comparison, my College Football Playoff after Week 13 includes:

  1. LSU
  2. Ohio State
  3. Clemson
  4. Georgia

I don’t believe in moving a team back after a win so LSU is still my number one. That doesn’t mean they’re better than Ohio State, but LSU has better quality wins so they’re still my top team. The regular season comes to an end with rivalry weekend. The marquee games include Ohio State taking on Michigan and Alabama traveling to Auburn. Here are the Top 5 CFP storylines heading into Week 14.

Can Ohio State Complete A Dominant Regular Season?

This year’s Ohio State team is approaching all-time great territory. Before the Penn State game, the Buckeyes had won every game by at least 24 points. Last week was easily Ohio State’s worst game of the season and they still won by double digits. Now, Justin Fields (who may be injured), Chase Young, and co. must go to the Big House and take on a hot Michigan team. If Ohio State goes to Michigan and dominates the Wolverines, the Buckeyes will move into the top 10 of the greatest college teams of all time.

Can LSU reclaim the top spot?

Last weekend, LSU destroyed Arkansas by 36 points and yet Ohio State surpassed the Tigers in the rankings. Neither Ohio State nor LSU wants to play Clemson, who will be the third seed if both the Buckeyes and Tigers win out. So both teams still want to impress the committee these final two weeks. Ohio State has the upper hand this week because beating Michigan on the road will go farther than LSU beating Texas A&M in Baton Rouge. That being said, if LSU knocks off Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, then the Tigers could catapult past the Buckeyes back to number one. Keep an eye on LSU this weekend to see if they run up the score to gain style points with the committee.

Utah Has A Path To The College Football Playoff

Simply put, Utah is the real deal. The Utes have the third-ranked defense in the country have allowed 7 points or less in five out of six games. Utah should get past Colorado this weekend and enter the Pac-12 Championship game at 11-1. Oregon’s loss hurt’s Utah’s resume, but it’s not a deal-breaker. Can Utah jump Alabama in the standings if the Utes are 12-1 with a Pac-12 Championship and the Tide are 11-1 with no conference title? The answer should be yes, but I’m not convinced it will happen. What Utah needs to do is dominate Colorado and then blow out Oregon in order to convince the committee they belong in the playoff.

Wisconsin And Minnesota Play For A Spot In The Big Ten Championship

The Big Ten West comes down to the last game of the regular season as No. 12 Wisconsin plays No. 8 Minnesota for the Paul Bunyan Axe. Last year, Minnesota defeated Wisconsin for the first time since 2003. This year, the stakes are even higher as the Gophers still have a fighter’s chance to make the playoff. Expect a low scoring game with an emphasis on ball control as both teams rank in the top five for time of possession.

Who Will Be The Top Group Of Five Team To End The Season?

The teams who will play in the New Year’s Six is starting to take shape, but which team will be from the Group of Five? Currently, the highest-ranked Group of Five team is No. 18 Memphis. After that comes No. 19 Cincinnati. Fittingly, Cincinnatti plays Memphis on Friday night with huge AAC implications on the line. If Memphis wins, they will play Cincinnatti at home for the AAC Championship next week. If Cincinnatti wins, then the game will be in Cincinnatti against either Navy if the Midshipmen win against Houston. If Navy loses, then Memphis will face Cincinnati in the title game. Tune in for Round 1 on Friday.

Bonus Storyline: Alabama Is Still Alive

Do not count out the Crimson Tide just yet. Alabama is more than alive for the playoff. The Tide are ranked fifth in the country and are on the outside looking in. If they get past Auburn in the Iron Bowl, they will have to sit and wait for the conference championships to finish. I’m not so sure that Utah, Oklahoma, Minnesota, or Baylor can pass the Tide in the rankings. We will know more after this weekend.

What are your top College Football Playoff storylines for Week 14? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow, or email us at

*Rankings used in this article are from the latest College Football Playoff Rankings.

Top 5 College Football Playoff Storylines Heading Into Week 13

What a difference a week makes in the race for the College Football Playoff. Last week, I declared No. 15 Auburn the most important team in the country. After their loss to No. 4 Georgia, Auburn is still the most important team in the country. Auburn’s loss hurt No. 6 Oregon’s and No. 5 Alabama’s (who has bigger problems) resume, but it strengthed No. 4 Georgia’s body of work.

This past Tuesday, the committee revealed their latest playoff rankings*. The top 6 remained the same as a week ago.

For comparison, my College Football Playoff includes:

  1. LSU
  2. Ohio State
  3. Clemson
  4. Oregon

This weekend is highlighted by the “Big Ten Game of The Year,” No. 8 Penn State vs. No. 2 Ohio State. Can Penn State get back into the top 5 or will Ohio State surpass LSU for the top overall seed? Here are the Top 5 CFP storylines heading into Week 13.

Who Will Take Control Of The Big Ten East?

Penn State is the 8th ranked team in the playoff rankings. The Nittany Lions are no slouch. That being said, do you want to know the line for Saturday’s game? Penn State is an 18.5 point underdog against Ohio State. EIGHTEEN AND A HALF POINT UNDERDOG! Is Penn State not as good as we think or is Ohio State a lot better than we think? I’m leaning towards the Buckeyes being a superior team. Plus, Ohio State will welcome back top prospect Chase Young. Despite Penn State having a loss, if they beat Ohio State, the Nittany Lions will be in the driver’s seat of the Big Ten Championship. If Ohio State wins, the Buckeyes will play in the conference title game.

Life Without Tua

Tua Tagovailoa / Getty/Wesley Hitt

Tua Tagovailoa suffering a season-ending hip injury not only sucks for Alabama fans, but for college football fans in general. It’s a devastating blow for college football. That being said, all hope is not lost. The Crimson Tide are still one of the nation’s top teams even with backup quarterback Mac Jones under center. Alabama plays the little sisters’ of the poor (Western Carolina) on Saturday before traveling to Auburn next week. Don’t count out Alabama for the playoff just yet.

Bounce Back Game For Minnesota

I’m going to sit here and say No. 10 Minnesota was a fraudulent team. That’s not the case. Iowa is a tough place to play. Just ask Ohio State and Michigan how hard it is to win at Kinnick Stadium. There are no moral victories in losses, but Minnesota proved to me that they’re capable of being a force in the Big Ten West for years to come. That being said, their magical season is intact. If they defeat Northwestern on Saturday, the Gophers will have a winner-take-all game next week against No. 12 Wisconsin. Will the boat row into Wisconsin with only one blemish?

Can Baylor Ever Recover?

Move over, Atlanta Falcons. There’s a new member of the “28-3” club. Last Saturday night, Baylor was about to change the trajectory of its program. Up 28-3 in the second quarter and 31-10 at halftime, the Bears were in cruise control. Then, Jalen Hurts and the Sooners took over and mounted an improbable comeback, capped off by a field goal with under two minutes left in the fourth quarter to win, 34-31. I can’t even put into words how devastating of a loss that was for Baylor. However, their season is not over. They can still clinch a spot in the Big 12 Championship with a win over Texas on Saturday. To add fuel to the fire, Oklahoma will most likely be their opponent in the conference title. Revenge game, anyone?

State Of The Pac-12

Oregon and No. 7 Utah are both 9-1 and sit atop of the Pac-12 North and Pac-12 South respectively. Both teams hit the road this weekend as Oregon plays Arizona State and Utah takes on Arizona. If both are 11-1 heading into the Pac-12 Championship, the winner of that game should make the College Football Playoff. The keyword is “should.” If you’re 100% convinced that the winner of the Pac-12 title game will make the playoff, then you haven’t followed college football the past five seasons. If Alabama is sitting at 11-1 at the end of the season, you’re crazy if you don’t think the committee will consider putting the Tide in. To be honest, the committee probably wants to put in Alabama over a Pac-12 champion. It’s a harsh reality, but it’s the truth. It’s not fair, but neither is life.

What are your top College Football Playoff storylines for Week 13? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow, or email us at

*Rankings used in this article are from the latest College Football Playoff Rankings.

Top 5 College Football Playoff Storylines Heading Into Week 12

The “Game of the Year” lived up to the hype and then some. When the dust settled in Tuscaloosa, Joe Burrow and the top-ranked* LSU Tigers ended their 8-game losing streak against Alabama in an eye-opening 46-41 victory. The win secured the top spot for the Tigers in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. Do you think Coach O was happy with the win? If you’re an Alabama fan, can you earmuff it for me?

*Rankings used in this article are from the latest College Football Playoff Rankings.

Because of this win, LSU was rewarded with the top spot in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. The final three spots went to No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Clemson, and No. 4 Georgia. If you’re a fan of No. 5 Alabama, No. 6 Oregon, No. 7 Utah, or No. 8 Minnesota fan, you’re furious with the rankings. Don’t worry, these rankings will change. Chaos always happens. My playoff heading into Week 12 includes:

  1. LSU
  2. Ohio State
  3. Clemson
  4. Oregon

I really wanted to put Minnesota at 4, but I rewarded Oregon for the tougher strength of schedule. To be honest, Minnesota should be in the fourth spot because they have the second-best win out of anyone in the top 10, but the committee seems to change their rules and qualifications on the fly so they’re only at 8 for now.

This weekend is highlighted by Georgia traveling to play the most important team in the country right now, Auburn. Plus, No. 10 Oklahoma and No. 13 Baylor battle for Big 12 supremacy. Here are the Top 5 CFP storylines heading into Week 12.

Auburn, The Most Important Team In The Country

The key to the College Football Playoff is Auburn. Without a doubt, they are the most important team in the country right now. For argument’s sake, let’s say LSU, Ohio State, and Clemson all win out and make the CFP. That leaves one spot left. Who gets it? Georgia, Alabama, and Oregon should be in the running for the fourth and final spot.^ Auburn controls the destiny for all three of those teams. Auburn plays Georgia this weekend. If Auburn beats Georgia, the Bulldogs will be eliminated from playoff contention and Oregon’s loss to Auburn will look a lot better on paper. If Auburn defeats Alabama in the Iron Bowl, Alabama will be eliminated from playoff contention and Oregon will be in the driver’s seat for the final spot. However, if Auburn loses one or both of those games, Oregon’s only loss will be to an 8-4 SEC team. There’s so much riding on the playoff and it all comes down to an Auburn team that probably can’t make it.

^I’m not counting a 12-1 Utah, 12-1 Oklahoma, or 13-0/12-1 Baylor team in this hypothetical because their chances of making the playoff are slim.

LSU Needs Two More Wins To Make The Playoff

(Two) Win(s) and in. That’s the scenario LSU faces to close their season. If they defeat Ole Miss and Arkansas to end the season undefeated, LSU will make the College Football Playoff regardless of what happens in the SEC Championship Game. The Tigers have the strongest resume in the country and no team will surpass it in the regular season if LSU is undefeated going into Atlanta in early December.

Row The Damn Boat

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

PJ Fleck could motivate me to jump out of an airplane without a parachute. In just his third season, Fleck has Minnesota at 9-0 after a monumental win against No. 9 Penn State. Minnesota jumped nine spots in the rankings from No. 17 to No. 8. Minnesota has no time to celebrate as the Golden Gophers travel to No. 20 Iowa in what will almost certainly be a close game. At this point in the season, Minnesota does not need any style points. Survive and advance is the motto as games against Wisconsin and potentially Ohio State loom in the distance.

Can The Big 12 Still Make The Playoff?

The good news is both Oklahoma and Baylor will have the chance to impress the committee on Saturday night when the play each other in Waco. The bad news is it may not matter towards the playoff. Oklahoma truly screwed themselves by losing to Kansas State. Even if they finish the season as the Big 12 champion at 12-1, I don’t think it will be enough to surpass other potential one-loss teams such as Oregon, Utah, or Alabama. The same rules apply to Baylor if they finish 12-1. However, Baylor has a not-so-secret playoff advantage over Oklahoma; they’re undefeated. Baylor may be outside the top 20 in the Football Power Index, but they’re 9-0. The Bears may win a lot of close games, but a win is a win. If Baylor runs the table, wins the Big 12 championship, and finishes the season 13-0, mark my words, they will make the College Football Playoff. There is “no chance in hell” that the committee will pass over an undefeated Power 5 champion for the playoff.

Penn State Is Still Alive For The Playoff

Penn State suffered a hiccup at Minnesota, but it’s not the end of the world. Unless complete chaos happens, a Big Ten team will make the playoff. If Ohio State or Minnesota goes undefeated, they will make the playoff. However, if Penn State wins the Big Ten with only one loss, they should make the playoff. The Nittany Lions have to get passed Indiana, who is having a tremendous year at 6-2, but if they win Saturday, Penn State will have a chance to take over the Big Ten East if they defeat Ohio State in Columbus. A win over Ohio State would allow the Nittany Lions to control their own destiny to the playoff. Beat Indiana first, and then worry about Ohio State.

What are your top College Football Playoff storylines for Week 12? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow, or email us at

Top 5 College Football Playoff Storylines Heading Into Week 11

After two months of the regular season, the first College Football Playoff rankings were revealed this past Tuesday. Let’s just say that fans of the Big Ten and SEC should be very happy.

Ohio State, LSU, Alabama, and Penn State are in the first four spots. For reference, my playoff heading into Week 11 is LSU, Ohio State, Alabama, and Clemson. The playoff rankings are guaranteed to change after this weekend because of the showdown in Tuscaloosa when No. 1 LSU plays No. 2 Alabama. Here are the Top 5 CFP storylines heading into Week 11.

The SEC (And National) Game Of The Year

If No. 1 vs. No. 2 doesn’t get your juices going, then you must be a corpse. LSU and their high powered offense travel to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama in one of the most important games of the year. However, the real story is the health of Tua Tagovailoa. Will his ankle hold up? If Tua has limited mobility and can’t make the plays fans are used to seeing him make, Alabama is in for a long day especially if their defense can’t contain Burrow and the fourth-ranked offense in the country.

Can Minnesota Derail Penn State’s Perfect Season?

Should we be rowing the boat with Minnesota? The Golden Gophers have been the surprise of the Big Ten with an 8-0 record. However, the committee did not show any love towards the Gophers as Minnesota ranked 17th in the first playoff ranking. That ranking reflects their lack of quality opponents and 77th ranked strength of schedule. However, that can all change with a win over Penn State on Saturday. The Nittany Lions surprised some by receiving the final playoff spot over Clemson. Penn State still has a clash with Ohio State later this month, but they can’t afford to overlook Minnesota. PJ Fleck could have the entire country rowing the boat around 3 o’clock on Saturday if Minnesota upsets Penn State.

Clemson Is Fine… If They Win Out

Clemson is the defending National Champion and owns the nation’s longest winning streak (24), but the Tigers were outside of the top four in the CFP. Tiger fans are wondering why “no one respects them.” What do you want me to tell you? The toughest game Clemson has played all season was in Week 2 against Texas A&M. Currently, A&M is 6-3 and unranked. The Tigers started off slow and accumulated few quality wins. That being said, the Tigers still have Dabo Swinney, Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, and the fourth-ranked defense in the country. Clemson fans, relax. Win out and the Tigers will be in the playoff. However, lose one game and Clemson won’t be able to defend their championship.

Iowa And Wisconsin Still Fighting For The Big Ten West

Minnesota is in the driver’s seat for the Big Ten West with a 5-0 conference record. However, Iowa and Wisconsin are both alive at 3-2 in the conference. After Penn State, Minnesota plays both Iowa and Wisconsin (along with Northwestern) to wrap up the regular season. If Minnesota loses to Penn State, the winner of this week’s Iowa and Wisconsin game will control their own destiny for the chance to play in the Big Ten Championship. Expect a low scoring game at Camp Randall as Wisconsin and Iowa have the first and sixth-ranked defenses respectively.

Hypothetical Season Has Only Just Begun

College Football Playoff

The reveal of one playoff ranking has sent both teams and fans into pandemonium. The long list of hypotheticals aka “What Ifs” will dominate discussion over the next month. George broke down each team’s potential road to the playoff, but I want to focus on the biggest hypothetical in college football. Let’s say LSU, Ohio State, and Clemson all win out and win their respective conference championships. Those three teams would make the playoff, which leaves one remaining spot left. Who gets in if Alabama has one loss to LSU, Penn State has one loss to Ohio State, and Oregon has one loss to Auburn but wins the Pac-12? The answer should be Oregon, but that’s no guarantee. As we’ve seen in years past, teams with one loss have gotten into the playoff over conference champions. Nothing is written in stone.

What are your top College Football Playoff storylines for Week 11? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow or email us

Top 5 College Football Playoff Storylines Heading Into Week 10

Can Top 10 teams still beat unranked opponents? In the past three weeks, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma all fell victim to unranked opponents, jeopardizing their chances at the College Football Playoff. If I’m Clemson, Utah, and Oregon, I’m a little worried this week. Ahead of Week 10, my College Football Playoff includes:

  1. LSU
  2. Ohio State
  3. Alabama
  4. Clemson

Goodbye, Oklahoma, and hello, Clemson. I was worried about Clemson’s strength of schedule and lack of quality wins because it would be less than those of Oklahoma, Georgia, and Wisconsin if all finished undefeated. That being said, if Clemson goes undefeated, they will make the playoff.

The marquee game of Week 10 is No. 8 Georgia taking on No. 6 Florida in Jacksonville. From there, the Pac-12 has two interesting games with No. 9 Utah taking on Washington and No. 7 Oregon taking on USC. Here are the Top 5 CFP storylines heading into Week 10.

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Can Baylor Run The Table?

If you haven’t already, now’s the time to start taking Baylor seriously. The Bears are 7-0 and first in the Big 12 standings. The Bears are winning the close games and getting it done with their defense, which allows a conference-best 19.1 points per game. Baylor still has to play Oklahoma and Texas back-to-back, but both of those games are at home. It’s unlikely that Baylor makes the playoff but never say never.

Can Utah survive in Seattle?

Utah has slowly but surely crept its way into the Top 10 in the AP Poll. The Utes are getting it done with their dominant defense, which is ranked third in the country. Plus, it also helps to have an offense that has scored over 30 points in six of eight games. That being said, Washington is a team you can’t look past especially with Jacob Eason under center. Two weeks ago, the Huskies held a 14-point lead over Oregon before the Ducks scored late to win do the Huskies can rise to the occasion. If Utah can survive, they should win out to end the season.

Oregon Can Make The College Football Playoff

I’ve mentioned this before, but now I actually believe it. Oregon can make the College Football Playoff. They survived last week against Washington State thanks to a last-second field goal, but a win is a win. The last couple of weeks have been full of upsets in the Top 10, which has opened the door for the Ducks. More teams are going to lose in the Top 10. Georgia vs. Florida, Alabama vs. LSU, and Ohio State vs. Penn State will all be Top 10 matchups. It’s simple math. Oregon must win out, which is not up for debate, but with teams in front of them losing, the Ducks case for the CFP will be strong. That being said, USC is no easy out. The Ducks have not won in LA since 2012 so Saturday night in the Coliseum should provide fireworks.

The AAC Goes To Primetime

Who said the AAC doesn’t have big games? It’s a huge weekend for the AAC as the undefeated SMU Mustangs go on the road to take on the 7-1 Memphis Tigers. It’s arguably the biggest day in Memphis’ football history as College GameDay will be on Beale Street. The winner of this game will take control of the American Athletic Conference West. However, the stakes are even higher as the winner of this game will be in the driver’s seat to represent the Group of Five in the New Year’s Six. Memphis is a 5.5 favorite, but I expect this game to be decided by a last-second field goal.

The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party

Grab your favorite drink and turn to CBS at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday because Jacksonville will be rocking when Georgia battles Florida for the SEC East. If you want a shootout, this is not the game for you as Georgia ranks seventh and Florida ranks 25th in total defense. However, this game is going to come down to quarterback play. For Kyle Trask and Jake Fromm, whoever makes fewer mistakes should come out on top. With both teams in the Top 10, a win here could catapult the winner into the Top 5, keeping their playoff hopes alive.

What are your top College Football Playoff storylines for Week 10? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow or email us

Top 5 College Football Playoff Storylines Heading Into Week 9

Penn State College Football Top 10 Rankings

Am I a jinx? In my Week 7 column, I wrote about Boise State and how we need to keep an eye on them going forward. Last week, I added SMU to the mix and said the race is on between Boise State and SMU for the right to play in a New Year’s Six bowl game. For Boise State, that dream was derailed after a 28-25 loss to BYU. Apologies to all of my Bronco fans. Ahead of Week 9, my College Football Playoff includes:

  1. LSU
  2. Alabama
  3. Ohio State
  4. Oklahoma

No changes to the top four. Without a doubt, these are the four best teams in the country right now. You can make an argument for each team to be number one and I wouldn’t disagree with your rationale.

Week 9 is highlighted by two Top-15 matchups: No. 13 Wisconsin vs. No. 3 Ohio State and No. 9 Auburn vs. No. 2 LSU. Here are the Top 5 CFP storylines heading into Week 9.

Wisconsin vs. Ohio State In Potential Big Ten Championship Preview

Wisconsin, you blew it! Wisconsin suffered an inexcusable loss to Illinois, 24-23, which could be their nail in the coffin in terms of making the College Football Playoff. However, the Badgers have a gigantic opportunity to make up for their loss when they travel to Columbus on Saturday to take on the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes. Both offenses are led by Heisman hopefuls Jonathan Taylor, who leads the nation in touchdowns with 19, and Justin Fields, who is tied for second in points responsible for with 180. However, the offensive fireworks may be hindered because Wisconsin and Ohio State have the number one and number two defenses in the country respectively. No matter what happens in this game, these two teams could meet again in the Big 10 Championship.

LSU Faces Another Top 10 Opponent

Find me a team with a better resume than LSU. The Tigers defeated Texas in Austin and Florida in Baton Rouge when both opponents were ranked in the top ten. Now, the Tigers will once again have a top 10 opponent when Auburn comes to Death Valley on Saturday afternoon. If Coach O, Joe Burrow, and the boys defeat Auburn, they will be the number one ranked team in the country.

Penn State Continues To Shine Despite Brutal Schedule

Two down, three more tough games to go. Penn State survived a late comeback against Michigan to hold on 28-21, improving to 7-0. The schedule does not get any easier for the No. 6 ranked Nittany Lions. Penn State heads to East Lansing to take on Michigan State, who is coming off back-to-back blowout losses against Ohio State and Wisconsin. Their Big Ten title hopes are dead, but they would love to play spoiler against Penn State for the third straight year. The Spartans own this rivalry as of late, having beaten the Nittany Lions in five of the last six years.

Alabama’s Season Rests Upon Tua’s Ankle

Alabama will beat Arkansas this weekend no matter who lines up under center. Mac Jones will start this weekend and Taulia Tagovailoa, Tua’s little brother, will serve as his backup. Frankly, a third-string offensive lineman could play quarterback and the Tide would still win by double digits. That being said, the future of Alabama’s season will come down to Tua Tagovailoa’s ankle. The superstar quarterback will miss at least one game with a right ankle sprain. Remember that Tua sprained his left ankle last season and it affected his mobility at times. High ankle sprains are no laughing matter. Thankfully for Tide fans, Alabama has a bye week after this game before the LSU Tigers stroll into Tuscaloosa for the SEC Game of the Year. If Tua’s not healthy for the LSU game, it will be tough for the Tide to roll.

It’s Do-or-Die For Jim Harbaugh

Is this Jim Harbaugh’s last stand? After the Wolverines suffered their second loss of the season to Penn State, NFL rumors circulated, stating that Harbaugh has an exit strategy in place to leave Michigan. Harbaugh quickly denied the rumor, but can we really trust college coaches in general? Most of them are snake oil salesmen who would leave at a moment’s notice if a better job came calling, leaving the players to suffer. So if you’re asking if I believe these NFL rumors, then I would say I do. Michigan will have to look past these distractions and worry about No. 8 Notre Dame coming to the Big House for a Saturday night showdown. If Michigan loses, it could be the final nail in the coffin for Harbaugh.

What are your top College Football Playoff storylines for Week 9? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

College Football: Before You Fire Your Head Coach Take the US Coaching Test

Coaching Test

Tis’ Firing Season

It is abundantly clear that many schools do not make good decisions when it comes to deciding whether to retain or fire their head coaches. So I am here to help. I have come up with a simple, absolutely genius, and foolproof Coaching Test to determine whether or not your head coach needs to be fired.
Thanks to social media, fans, and boosters that scream about wanting their coaches fired are now heard. More often than not get their wish granted. As of November 29th, there have been 12 FBS head coaching jobs that have come open. None of these coaching changes were unexpected, but sometimes coaches are fired prematurely. Often, coaches are on an extremely short leash and are expected to win now despite the dysfunction they inherited. Fans and boosters want Clay Helton, and Gus Malzahn fired at USC and Auburn. But should they be gone as well?

2019 Coaching Changes

Coaching Test
With some coaches having large buyouts, there are obvious financial ramifications to firing a head coach. In addition to financial ramifications of firing the coach, there is often a lot of uncertainty when you don’t know who the next head coach is going to be. Many fan bases that have called for their coaches to be fired are learning a hard lesson. You may get your wish with your coach being fired, but your new coach may be from the “scratch and dent bin.” There are good coaches in the scratch and dent bin, but they aren’t perfect and have some unsuccessful times in their history. But you got what you wanted, a new coach. Take Kliff Kingsbury for example. After Texas Tech fired him, his phone started ringing off the hook with job opportunities. Tell me if you think Kingsbury should have been fired after you take the test.

Unafraid Show Coaching Test

Every head coach needs to be reevaluated every season. It does not matter whether the coach went undefeated and won the championship or went defeated and zero games. You only need to answer two questions two know whether your coach needs to be fired or not.

Number one:

Is there a coach that is guaranteed to take your job that is better than your current coach? Example: James Franklin is the head coach at Penn State. He seems to be doing a good job, but anyone clearly would fire him if Dabo Swinney or Nick Saban would replace him. Often coaches are fired, and the schools have no clue who will replace him.
I believe that is part of the reason USC did not fire Clay Helton. How many established, and winning head coaches would be willing to leave a successful program to go to USC. Coaches are more often valuing the stability at a top 11-25 job rather than jumping at the chance to coach a top 10 team.

Number Two:

Is there still hope? Can your current coach go into the living rooms of 17-21-year-old kids and sell them and their parents on the fact that the future of your program is brighter than the past? Can you make them buy in, believe, and go all in with you?
If you can’t answer both of these questions in the affirmative, then you need a head coaching change. The Unafraid Coaching Test is a simple and foolproof test. If Athletic Directors and administrators answered these two simple questions every season, they wouldn’t consistently mess up their programs. This method of determining whether to keep or fire your coach is an easy explanation to the boosters and other influential people around your program. It will keep the waters from being muddied by people with personal agendas and faulty reasoning. When Athletic Directors and administrations listen to the mob of angry fans, they mess up their programs by firing a coach too prematurely, or they rely on their gut/pride and keep the coach too long.
The angry mob of fans and boosters change their minds like the wind; their opinions cannot be trusted in the short term. Think about this.  Last year Florida State fans couldn’t wait to get Jimbo Fisher out and Willie Taggart in. Now, they would happily take Jimbo back. Texas fans were unsure about Tom Herman’s prospects as head coach. Now the Longhorns fanbase is smiling.
Here are a couple of common questions I got when I explained this on #UnafraidShow:

What if the coach is winning, but he can’t recruit?

If your coach can’t recruit, then he can’t win long term. If he can’t win, there will be a loss of hope. When the loss of hope happens, fire your coach. Don’t fire a winning coach!

What if the coach recruits well, constantly goes 8-5 or 9-4, and can never get you “over the hump”?

This is clearly referring to Kevin Sumlin at Texas A &M last year. TAMU was able to get Jimbo Fisher who has won a national championship. So, firing Sumlin was a good move. If they had missed on Jimbo, the Aggies would have ROYALLY screwed up. A coach who recruits well and consistently stays in those win totals is really close to breaking through. If you miss on the big fish, you will wish for him back two years from now.
Next time you get into a discussion about whether or not the coach of your favorite team needs to be fired refer to the Unafraid Coaching Test.

Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 11: Time to Close the Deal

Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 11

The Pac-12 is still not decided yet. The south division is wide open, and the north is a two-team race. There are still four teams with a shot to win the south. The Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 11 is based on three things: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance. The “eye test” and preseason rankings are not factored into the Unafraid Show’s rankings. I know some of you are used to the biased rankings, but you won’t find those here.

You can see last weeks rankings here.

Pac-12 Bowl Projections are after the rankings.

Send all your questions, comments, and grievances to:

12. Oregon State (2-7)

(L) 21-38 USC

Oregon State returned to earth after beating Colorado the week before. The good news is they have a quarterback Jake Luton. The bad news is that Luton is a senior. They have a legit running back for the future in Jemar Jefferson who already has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark as a freshman. Oregon State didn’t win one Pac-12 game last year, so this season should be seen as an improvement… right?

11. Colorado (5-4) 

(L) 34-42 Arizona

The Buffaloes are spiraling out of control. Granted, they have been without their All-American wide receiver Lavishka Shenault. They started the season 5-0, but have dropped their last four against USC, Washington, Oregon State, and Arizona. Mike MacIntyre’s job will be in danger if Colorado drops their last three games against Washington State, Utah, and Cal. They have fallen from the top tier of the Pac-12 in rushing defense, rushing offense, 3rd down conversions, and sacks against.

10. UCLA (2-7) 

(L) 21-42 Oregon

Their 2-7 record doesn’t show improvement, but when you see the Bruins play, it is clear their team is on the rise. They have found a running back in transfer Joshua Kelley. Their defense held Oregon’s offense in check for three quarters. The offensive line is blocking better and Chip Kelly is getting his college football playcalling legs back under him. At this point, the Bruins goal for the rest of the season should be getting one more win. A win against USC would make the entire season worth it.

9. USC (5-4)

(W) 38-21 Oregon State

USC had been inconsistent rushing the football all season but had their best rushing output of the season against Oregon State. Clay Helton called the plays, and the Trojans finished with 332 yards on the ground against the worst rushing defense in the Pac-12. Can USC keep up the momentum through the rest of the season? Cal brings the best pass defense in the conference to the Coliseum this week. USC cannot go to sleep in this game. If they do, Cal will beat them to sleep.

The USC faithful are trying to be patient, but everyone knows that losses to Cal, UCLA, and Notre Dame will take things to DEFCON 1.

8. Cal (5-4)

(L) 13-19 Washington State

Cal suffered a brutal loss against Washington State. Justin Wilcox has his team playing phenomenal defense, but his offense continually lets him down. They had an opportunity to go up on Wazzu late in the 4th quarter, but sophomore quarterback Brandon McIlwain threw an interception in the end zone. Cal switched quarterbacks like they were running backs all game. I’m not sure why they won’t just stick with Chase Garbers who is the better passer. If Cal can manage at least their 23 point season average, they will have a chance to get bowl eligible.

7. Stanford (5-4)

(L) 23-27 Washington

David Shaw’s teams are usually a shoo-in for 10 wins. The “intellectual brutality” is missing in 2018. Stanford is still averaging under 100 yards per game rushing, only scoring 26.1 ppg, and 11th in the conference in total offense. The combination of K.J. Costello to JJ Arcega-Whiteside was only good for one catch for 11 yards against Washington. Costello finished the game throwing for 347 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Even with so many things going wrong in 2018 Stanford still has the opportunity to finish 8-4. Their last three games against Oregon State, Cal, and UCLA are all very winnable.

6. Utah (6-3)

(L) 20-38 Arizona State

Utah is in a bad spot right now. They were in control of their own destiny in the Pac-12 south and were just starting to get respect nationally. Then they lost their starting quarterback Tyler Huntley to a broken collarbone. The Utes backup quarterback Jason Shelley struggled to complete passes and move the football. Oregon makes their way to Salt Lake City this weekend. Only a fool would count the Utes out of this game because Oregon has struggled to take their game on the road.

5. Arizona State (5-4)

(W) 38-20 Utah

Herm Edwards has his team in prime position to get to a bowl game in year one. After back to back wins against USC and Utah the Sun Devils are in the driver’s seat in the Pac-12 south. N’Keal Harry torched the Utah secondary. He finished with nine catches for 161 yards and three touchdowns. This was the kind of monster game we had been waiting all season to see. Arizona State has moved up to 4th in the conference with 435 yards of total offense per game. Their last three games are against UCLA, Oregon, and Arizona. If they can keep up the scoring, they have a legit shot to make the Pac-12 title game.

4. Washington (7-3)

(W) 27-23 Stanford

Huge win for the Huskies. Their defense and running game fueled the victory. The defense forced three turnovers and only allowed Stanford 77 rushing yards. Jake Browning and the Washington offense has continued to be underwhelming this season, but they did get their running game going. Myles Gaskin returned to the lineup and rushed for 148 yards. Despite all the negatives, the Huskies are a win against Oregon State and Washington State away from a birth in the Pac-12 Championship game.

3. Oregon (6-3)

(W) 42-21 UCLA

Oregon got a much-needed win at home against UCLA. Their defense and special teams led the way. The score would fool you into believing the Ducks offense is back where it needs to be; it’s not. However, the Ducks did flash some big play ability again with a long run from Tony Brooks-James and a 67-yard touchdown pass from Herbert to Mitchell.

Oregon heads to Utah to face Utes on Saturday. Offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo will need to have his offense firing on all cylinders if they are going to put up points against the Pac-12’s best defense.

2. Arizona (5-5)

(W) 42-34 Colorado

The “eye test” and stats tell me that Arizona is a middle of the road Pac-12 team, but they just continue to win games. The results say Arizona is the second hottest team in the conference right now. I have no clue how they keep winning with one of the worst defenses in the conference. They are ranked 10th against the run, 9th against the pass, and 10th in total defense. Khalil Tate being nearly healthy is a significant difference maker for the Wildcats. His legs help him extend plays, but the magic happens when he passes the ball. Arizona wide receivers make more acrobatic catches and draw more pass interference penalties than any team in the Pac-12.  They have a bye this week and will need one win at Washington State or against Arizona State to secure a bowl game.

I predicted Arizona would win the Pac-12 south, but I never fathomed it would look like this.

1. Washington State (8-1)

(W) 19-13 Cal

The Cougars are sitting at #8 in the College Football Playoffs. Something special is brewing in Pullman, Washington. Mike Leach has turned one of the worst college football teams into a playoff contender. No one expected their success after they lost their starting quarterback Tyler Hilinski to suicide during the offseason. However, graduate transfer Gardener Minshew II has shown up and thrown for nearly 400 yards per game.

If one of nations top defenses cannot stop the Cougars, they should be able to finish their Pac-12 schedule unscathed.



Rose Bowl– Ohio State vs. Washington State

Holiday– Iowa vs. Stanford

San Francisco– Northwestern vs. Utah

Sun– Boston College vs. Oregon

Alamo– Texas vs. Washington

Texas– Oklahoma State vs. Colorado

Independence– Duke vs. California

Cheez-It– Nevada vs. USC

Las Vegas– Utah State vs. Arizona State