Free Press writers Jeff Seidel, Nick Baumgardner and Orion Sang react to Michigan’s eighth straight win, a 42-7 whopping of Penn State, Nov. 3, 2018.
Nick Baumgardner, Freep
Michigan football seems like a lock to succeed LSU in the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday.
LSU debuted at No. 3 last week, then got dominated at home by top-ranked Alabama, 29-0.
Michigan travels to play Big Ten also-ran Rutgers on Saturday, then hosts Indiana before a showdown at Ohio State on Nov. 24. The game against the Buckeyes likely will determine the Big Ten East Division champion, and if Michigan can win that game — and the conference title the following week — then it should have a clear path to the playoff.
Here’s a roundup of College Football Playoff projections from around the internet. Tuesday’s rankings will be unveiled after Michigan State’s season-opening basketball game against Kansas on ESPN.
• 247Sports: The national recruiting website pits No. 4 Michigan against No. 1 Alabama in the Orange Bowl, and here’s why:
“We’re basically projecting Michigan to win-out and reach the final four as the Big Ten’s champion after Saturday’s blowout win over Penn State and Ohio State’s so-so outing vs. Nebraska. No team in the Big Ten is playing better defensively right now than Jim Harbaugh’s squad and it looks like Shea Patterson finally has it figured out on the other side of the ball.”
• ESPN: Michigan is projected to be the No. 4 seed and has a 50 percent chance to make the playoff. U-M also has a 20 percent chance of making the championship game and an 8 percent chance to win the title.
• FiveThirtyEight: ESPN’s analytical vertical website gives Michigan the fifth-best odds to make the playoff at 40 percent. The website gives Oklahoma a 41 percent chance to make the playoff, ahead of the Wolverines.
• SB Nation: No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Michigan. (Orange Bowl)
• Sports Illustrated: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Michigan. (Cotton Bowl)
• USA TODAY Sports: Michigan gets the No. 4 seed after pounding Penn State. Here’s the explanation:
“The Wolverines pounded Penn State and now look by far like the Big Ten’s best team. The defense, we knew. But hello, Shea Patterson and the offense are firing up, too.”