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These four teams were the favorites to reach the pre-season playoffs. If the season ends in Week 6, those four teams will be in the playoffs as undefeated teams. But of course, there are 12 games in the regular season, so there’s still a long way to go before their tickets get hit in the supplement. Let’s run with them to see what they’ve done so far, and which teams might ruin their playoff chances.
Stock Constancy: Georgia Bulldogs
The Dogs survived a panic in Week 5, escaping a road match against Missouri 26-22. But Georgia looked more like the offensive power we got this season last week, beating Auburn 42-10.
It was Georgia’s defense that made the Dogs family so good last year. This year, it’s Georgia’s crime. The unit averages 39.5 points per game and ranks fourth in overall attack.
Biggest Test Remaining: The annual cocktail party in Jacksonville vs. Florida is always an important party. But after Florida, Georgia has a tough time ahead. The Dogs face No. 6 Tennessee at home on November 5, followed by a road trip to No. 16 Mississippi to face the one-time losing Bulldog.
Next, Georgia goes on to play Kentucky before ending the season at home against Georgia Tech. Florida, Tennessee and Mississippi can all score, so these will be the toughest obstacles.
Stock Stability: Alabama Crimson Tide
Thanks to quarterback Bryce Young who suffered a sprained shoulder in Week 5 against Arkansas, the tide looked thin. The Aggies almost got kicked out of Alabama last week. In week seven, Alabama faces its toughest test yet, as it goes on the road to face the undefeated No. 6 Tennessee.
It’s been 15 years since Tennessee last beat Alabama, but the Vols look set to break that streak on Saturday. The Tennessee offensive, led by quarterback Hendon Hooker, ranks first in total yards, and the team is second in scoring, placing 46.8 points per game. Alabama is the favorite with seven points kings.
Even if Bama loses to Tennessee, her hopes of winning the SEC Championship and qualifying for the final will remain. But the tides still had to overrun Mississippi, and Ole Miss and Auburn were undefeated before they could get their ticket to Atlanta. If Alabama plays like it did against Texas A&M and loses two games, you could miss the final altogether.
Stock Stability: Clemson Tigers
Clemson looks set to return to the ACC Championship and play again after missing last season. The Tigers have passed some great tests so far this season, too. Clemson defeated Wake Forest on the road in double overtime in Week 4. In Week 5, Clemson took care of the undefeated North Carolina State 30-20 team.
Among Clemson’s remaining fiercest opponents are Florida, Syracuse and Notre Dame. Even if the Tigers drop one of those games, they’ll still do well to make it to the ACC Championship.
Quarterback DJ Uiagallei is a big reason why Clemson has been so consistent so far this season. He struggled hard last season, but played well in 2022. In the season, he threw for 1,462 yards and 14 touchdowns with two interceptions. That’s a huge improvement over last year’s 9:10 touchdown-to-intercept ratio, and Uiagalelei also rushed for 311 yards and three touchdowns.
Defensively, Clemson has done a great job stopping the race this year. The Tigers are ranked second nationally in rushing defense, shedding only 63.67 yards to the ground per game.
Fixed stock: Ohio
It wouldn’t be too surprising if Ohio State finished the regular season undefeated. With the exception of the 21-10 victory over Notre Dame in Week 1, the Buckeyes have dominated every game this season. The closest victory margin for OSU came last week against Michigan State — the Buckeyes won 49-20.
Ohio State, led by Heisman final quarterback CJ Stroud, ranks second in total attacking, number one in scoring and 14th in both passing attacking and dashing. Stroud has thrown 1,737 yards and 24 touchdowns – the most in the country – so far this season. The Buckeyes run also got a high-quality production from backs Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson, who combined for 933 yards and 12 touchdowns on the season.
The Buckeyes are also ranked seventh in overall defense and give up 15.7 points per game. Ohio State’s offensive is so good that it doesn’t really need a dominant defense, but the unit has been strong during the first half of the season.
For the remainder of the season, Ohio State should be a big favorite for each of its remaining games. On October 29, Ohio will face Pennsylvania on the road. The Buckeyes have defeated the Nittany Lions in five consecutive seasons. The last Test on Ohio State’s schedule is against Michigan at home, and The Wolverines haven’t beaten Ohio State in Columbus since 2000.