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Which College Football Teams Have The Easiest Path To The College Football Playoff?

Posted by Blake Frazier on 8/23/2015 10:27:34 AM

The college football season is under two weeks away, and the sense of anticipation is growing with each passing moment. Which four teams have the easiest paths to the College Football Playoff? It’s not as though it’s easy on a general level, but some teams have a smoother road.

1 – Ohio State

This is an easy call. The Buckeyes’ one really, really tough game is at home in November against Michigan State. Michigan is just not ready to be an elite team this season, so although the Wolverines should be better this year under Jim Harbaugh, they shouldn’t threaten the Buckeyes if Ohio State plays anywhere near its best. Ohio State has a relatively soft Big Ten schedule, with no especially difficult road games beyond the one at Michigan, and to repeat, that game won’t be as tough this year as it will be in 2017 or other future years. The Buckeyes, as long as they win the Big Ten, should be able to make the playoff, and this is the case even if they lose once (though a surprising development might knock them out under such a scenario).

2 – Auburn

The Tigers get the really important games at home, which is something a college football team really needs if it’s going to make a run at the national championship. The Tigers made the BCS National Championship Game two years ago when they hosted Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Alabama, and Auburn gets that same schedule this year, only with Ole Miss and Mississippi State being much better than they were two years ago. The Tigers don’t play in a very easy conference, but they play tough teams in their own house, including Georgia as well from the SEC East. The schedule is lined up for the Tigers to do something. If they can somehow win at LSU this year, look out.

3 – TCU

The Horned Frogs don’t play in an easy conference, but since their game with Baylor is likely to be the Big 12 game of the year, the fact that the Horned Frogs get the game at home should be immensely beneficial to them. If you had to pick a Big 12 team to make the playoff strictly based on the ease of the schedule, the Horned Frogs would be a better bet than Baylor, so that’s why they’re on this list, even though Oklahoma and other teams are likely to challenge TCU over the course of the season.

4 – Clemson

The Tigers also don’t have the easiest schedule, but every really big game is at home. The Tigers host Notre Dame, an independent, and then the week after that in early October, they host Georgia Tech, the defending ACC Coastal Division champion. If the Tigers can win those games, they’ll be in the national championship picture. Then, if Clemson can avoid losses in a few road games against the middle of the pack in the ACC in late October, the Tigers would host Florida State in early November for a chance to catapult themselves into the playoff. Winning the ACC Championship Game could just about do it. The Tigers, like Ohio State, do not play any supremely threatening road games this season.

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