Undefeated teams that probably can’t lose
The teams in this tier are good, maybe great, teams. They shouldn’t be favored against the teams in the first tier, but they aren’t that far from them.
I want to be clear about this tier. A loss does not exclude these teams from playoff consideration. However, these teams would need to hope for a little chaos to actually be chosen if they lose.
The first team in this tier are the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Penn State won big without taking a snap last week. Pittsburgh beating UCF gave Penn State a win that now looks one that has some quality.
Penn State has absolutely dominated their opponents (outside of Pittsburgh) and poses the biggest threat to Ohio State for the Big Ten East crown (sorry Michigan).
Penn State might be able to survive a loss to a team like Minnesota or the Iowa football team, but that would take them out of the driver’s seat. When it comes to the College Football Playoff, no one wants to have to rely on results outside of one’s own control.
Our Iowa football team represents the second team in the second tier. The Iowa football team hasn’t dominated opponents like Ohio State, Wisconsin, or to a lesser extent, Penn State, but they have done what they were supposed to three times.
In contrast, the Iowa football team has done something that neither Wisconsin nor Penn State has done – win on the road. I still believe that the win in Ames is going to look like one of the best non-conference wins at the end of the year.
That gives the Iowa football team the ability to remain in the playoff hunt, even with a loss to a team like Michigan. Just like Penn State, however, the Hawkeyes would need a few other teams to drop games to get into the playoffs with a loss.
Tier 2: #13 Penn State Nittany Lions, #14 Iowa Hawkeyes