Who are the sleepers to win the Southern 500 at Darlington?
Share Facebook Tweet Pinterest Email. David Ragan 31st in points and Regan Smith 32nd face even longer odds. Even if those drivers can capture victory, they'll make the Chase only if they leap-frog past other drivers into the top 30 -- no small accomplishment. In a poker game, the player who starts with the best hand is most likely to win the pot. Similarly, in the race for the Chase, Chase Elliott and Chris Buescher are most likely to earn spots in the playoffs because they are starting with an advantage and control their own destinies.
If there is a repeat winner in the Sprint Cup series at Richmond, Elliott can clinch a Chase spot with a finish of 39th or better 40th if he leads a lap. And bear in mind that, in each case, a driver can finish one position lower with a lap led and two positions lower with most laps led.
With a new winner, Elliott can clinch a Chase spot with a finish of 17th. The point penalty Newman incurred for his No. Newman has an average finish of Jim Harbaugh and company have wins over Colorado, Penn State and Wisconsin, all teams that will close the regular season ranked.
However, all those games came in the first half of the season. Michigan has only beaten one team that entered the game with a winning record since October 1, and that was a slumping Maryland team. The Nittany Lions have not gotten much press this season but enter the Big Ten title game riding an eight-game winning streak, which includes a victory over Ohio State.
Penn State will have won the Big Ten and will have a victory over the Buckeyes, which could greatly damage hopes in Columbus. One final thought to remember: If that trend holds true and the three teams most assume are in the playoffs are correct, it may be worth getting in on a Big 12 or Pac team. Alabama and Clemson are basically already penciled into the College Football Playoff.
Then you are almost assured to see either Ohio State or Michigan in one of the spots, as the winner of their game Saturday is likely winning the Big Ten. Given the above scenarios, that leaves one spot realistically up for grabs for several other teams to fight over.
So here are a few teams that could sneak into the fourth spot in the playoffs and maybe shock some people. However, they have gone in conference play while averaging 49 points and If they can win the de facto Big 12 championship game against Oklahoma State, OU is with a perfect conference record, with the two losses coming early in the season against quality competition.
Oklahoma would need some help, as Washington and Wisconsin losing would go a long way for the Sooners. Wisconsin has a tough regular season finale against Minnesota, but the Badgers should be able to pick up that win. Though Wiscy lost to both the Wolverines and Buckeyes earlier in the season, a win in the conference title game would trump those losses. This would be worst-case scenario for the selection committee, as Wisconsin would garner far fewer ratings and revenue than Michigan or Ohio State.
The Pac routinely gets snubbed on the national stage, but if Colorado wins out, it will be hard to ignore the Buffaloes. If they win the Pac, then they will have beaten a ranked team in each of their three final games.
Colorado would need a hand or two, likely requiring previously mentioned Oklahoma and Wisconsin to lose their remaining games.
This past weekend of college football action basically negated most of the conversations we had before it. Three of the top four ranked teams lost, five of the top 10 lost overall and seven ranked teams lost to unranked opponents.
Pitt kicker Chris Blewitt kicked a field goal with six seconds left to hand Clemson its first loss of the season. The Clemson running game was a dumpster fire, managing just 50 yards on 25 carries — though the Tigers did find the end zone three times on the ground.
Iowa freshman Keith Duncan kicked a last-second field goal to down Michigan, handing the Wolverines their third straight loss in Iowa City. The freshman signal-caller continually frustrated the Huskies with his ability to extend plays. The one constant in college football was Alabama. The undefeated powerhouse remained perfect by steamrolling Mississippi State Despite sitting outside the top four in the playoff rankings, the AP poll and the coaches poll, Ohio State has the second-best odds to win the college football national championship this season.
Ohio State has two games to play before that contest, with matchups against the Maryland Terrapins and the Michigan State Spartans. Not to say that Ohio State will percent win those games, but we can reasonably assume they pick up wins in those contests. Michigan is in a similar situation to Ohio State, with the Wolverines facing the Iowa Hawkeyes and Indiana Hoosiers before the climactic showdown.
That last game then likely means that it will be a one-loss Ohio State team taking on an undefeated Michigan team with the winner taking the Big Ten East division. With both of those teams better than any team in the West, the Buckeyes vs Wolverines matchup is the de facto Big Ten championship. Apparently, it was Les Miles who was weighing down LSU, as the team has been otherworldly since kicking its former coach to the curb. The Tigers have outscored opponents in the past three games with interim coach Ed Orgeron at the helm.
LSU already has two losses, so even one L in those outings means they are not making the playoffs.