There are 11 undefeated teams in college football as we head into week 7. Trying to figure out when each of them (if at all) will lose for the first time suggests that Alabama, Clemson and Washington look very likely to run the table in their conference, while both Michigan and Ohio State can go into their rivalry game undefeated to close out the regular season.
Michigan Wolverines: If this question was asked two weeks ago, their visit to East Lansing to play the Spartans would have been a reasonable guess. But since Michigan State started falling apart (three straight losses), the only teams besides Ohio State (final week of the season) that might give Jim Harbaugh some trouble is Iowa on the road, and that’s a flaky choice at best.
Ohio State: Riffing on the previous team, both the Buckeyes and the Wolverines could head into The Game at 11-0. But the Buckeyes have a much more difficult schedule: They play at Wisconsin, face #12 Nebraska and play at East Lansing too, against a Michigan State team that has twice spoiled great things for them in the last three years. The Buckeyes seem good enough to walk through this, but don’t be too surprised if they’re no longer undefeated after playing in Madison next weekend.
Alabama: Alabama have six remaining games, which include an FCS opponent and a bad Mississippi State team. So when can things go wrong for them? Texas A&M coming to Tuscaloosa could be trouble, and visits to Tiger Stadium the week after are always interesting. Tennessee on the road, their next game, doesn’t seem that difficult anymore. But if they do make it unbeaten through their next stretch, playing against Auburn at home sounds more like a coronation than a confrontation.
Clemson: With six games remaining, and Clemson having their ups and downs this season, they have three to watch out for: Next Saturday at home against North Carolina State, two weeks later on the road at Florida State (the most likely upset alert) and perhaps in mid November when hosting a good but inconsistent Pittsburgh team. Their rivalry game vs South Carolina won’t be the thing that stops them.
Texas A&M: We already know the Aggies are for real this season, but even with two weeks of rest, it’s hard to believe they remain undefeated after their visit to Alabama. If they actually win there, maybe their Ole Miss game in November can be considered a tricky one.
Washington: With the Huskies crushing Oregon and Stanford, suddenly their Apple Cup game at the end of the season vs Washington State seems like the biggest game of the year in the Pac-12. But along the way, Washington could find it tricky in their road game at Utah. Although it would be the classic Oregon State thing to do and beat them next week in Seattle.
Boise State: Colorado State and BYU are coming up in the next two weeks for the Broncos, but both games will be at home, so they don’t seem that intimidating. The most worrisome game for them on the schedule is probably the last: Playing on the road against Air Force.
Nebraska: It’s hard to see the 5-0 Nebraska finishing perfect. They have Indiana on the road next week which is tricky, but if they get through them and probably Purdue, it’s Wisconsin and Ohio State on the road back-to-back. They’ll fall somewhere.
Western Michigan: The Broncos actually have some tough games ahead, including Akron on the road coming on the road, and the season finale, even if it’s at home, won’t be easy vs Toledo.
West Virginia: The way the Big 12 is the season, it’ll actually be a surprise if West Virginia lose only against Iowa State and Kansas. The rest of their opponents: Texas Tech on the road, TCU at home, Oklahoma State on the road and that’s before Texas, Oklahoma and Baylor.
Baylor: After their game against roadkill Kansas this weekend, Baylor play Texas and Oklahoma on the road in two of three weeks. I think they fall by the time that stretch is over.