There were 5 unbeaten teams at this point last season, but by the end of the regular season only 2 remained.
Wisconsin is ranked No. 4 in both the Associated Press and Amway Coaches Top 25 polls. But those polls will be superseded when the College Football Playoff selection committee unveils its first rankings of the season Tuesday night. Where will the Notre Dame football land in this group?
Wisconsin's lack of schedule strength, coupled with its unimpressive offensive performances in recent weeks, means the Badgers will have work remaining in order to climb past other top teams. Georgia takes Penn State's spot and is on a collision course with No. 1 Alabama to play in a SEC Championship Game for the ages.
That is, if both teams get past this weekend.
Aside from its narrow setback to Georgia, Notre Dame hasn't been challenged.
On Saturday morning, ESPN College GameDay host Rece Davis speculated about which conferences might not get a team into the College Football Playoff (CFP), saying, "I think the Big Ten is in a little bit of trouble if they don't have an undefeated champion, or even if Wisconsin is the undefeated champion".
There are a bunch of quality one-loss teams left in the country.
Three polls released Sunday agreed: Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and Wisconsin are this season's premier college football teams to date. Now, with the Noles tanking and Clemson already with one loss, that scenario is out the window and officials will be happy with one team dancing. Notre Dame has victories against Michigan State, USC and NC State, all ranked inside the AP Top 25. The Irish's only loss to the season was a one-point defeat at the hands of the Bulldogs, whom Dodd ranks No. 1. Notre Dame, Clemson, Ohio State, Penn State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Christian, Washington and Virginia Tech each have lost once. The Buckeyes defeated Penn State on Saturday.
With the exception of Georgia and Alabama, all of these teams have one thing in common: In their quest to make the playoff field, they nearly certainly can't survive another loss. However, the game was not very competitive.
Penn State is close behind at 24th and 13th, but the Nittany Lions' signature victory, a home dismantling of MI, doesn't match what Notre Dame and Clemson have accomplished.
Still, Wisconsin has established itself as the best team in the Big Ten West and can officially wrap up a spot in the league championship game soon. Most telling for Clemson: wins over Auburn and Virginia Tech, the latter emphatic and on the road. Their loss came to Syracuse in Carrier Dome with their starting Quarterback injured. Meanwhile, Clemson has four wins against top-30 teams, while Notre Dame and Penn State have three and Georgia and Oklahoma have two.
Dodd writes: "If the playoff started today, Notre Dame would definitely have to be in it".
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