Friday Five: Five teams not named Alabama or Clemson who have a realistic shot to win the national title
If the Crimson Tide or the Tigers don't win the College Football Playoff, here's five teams who could
by Tom Fornelli
3 hrs ago • 5 min
Over the summer, I wrote about the 16 teams that can realistically win a national title. The premise of the post that while every team technically starts the season with the same chance, the reality is much different. Now, only a few weeks into the season, that list of 16 has been culled a bit.
It hasn't stopped anybody from asking me a familiar question, though. Whether on radio, podcasts or social media, I've been asked multiple times some variation of "which team is most likely to win the national title if it isn't Alabama or Clemson?"
Well, for this week's Friday Five, I'm going to answer the question, though I doubt it will stop anybody from asking me. There's still a very long way to go in the season, but based on what we've all seen so far, these are the five teams I would give the best odds to right now.
5. Texas: Sometimes I wish I called this feature Friday Four instead of Friday Five because it's not always easy coming up with a fifth entry for the list. This was one of those times. I was going back-and-forth between Texas and all the honorable mentions listed below and ultimately decided on Texas for a couple of reasons. First of all, Texas is a talented team, and you need talent to win national titles. In 247Sports's team talent rankings, the Longhorns rank 7th in the country, ahead of the honorable mentions. More than that, however, Texas has an "easier" path to the College Football Playoff.
There's only one obstacle in its way in the Big 12, and it's named Oklahoma. Now, it won't be easy to beat Oklahoma twice in the same season, but it's not impossible. Meanwhile, Auburn might be the third or fourth-best team in its own division. Michigan hasn't beaten Ohio State since 2011. Penn State has to get through Ohio State as well. Notre Dame can get to the playoff, but it has to be perfect to do so, and that's very hard to do. Then there's Oregon, which might be the best team in the Pac-12, but being the best team in the Pac-12 doesn't seem to mean much to those who decide which teams get in. So Texas gets this fifth spot in a bit of a tie-breaker.