Welcome to Before The Snap, For The Win’s college football show where we’ll break down the sport’s trending storylines, examine each week’s biggest matchups and track the College Football Playoff and Heisman Trophy races.
Week 4 of college football gave us some crazy, awesome games and a couple unexpected upsets. One upset we saw coming was Wisconsin beating Michigan, but the Badgers dominating was a little bit of a surprise.
Michigan looked confused on its was to a 35-14 loss, and the Wolverines’ College Football Playoff hopes are almost nonexistent at this point. It’s not impossible for them to make the four-team playoff, but it’s highly unlikely with all the chaos they’d need in both the Big Ten and every other Power Five conference. According to ESPN’s Playoff Predictor, Michigan has less than a one percent chance to make the playoff, so on to 2020?
Notre Dame lost on the road to Georgia in a game that turned out to be a little more competitive than expected. The Fighting Irish stuck around before losing, 23-17, to a very serious playoff contender.
The problem for Notre Dame now is obviously it’s no longer undefeated, and without a conference championship game to win or lose, it might not have a strong enough argument for a return trip to the playoff. It is, however, still possible, but now the Fighting Irish need to cheer for some good upsets around the country. They have an 18 percent chance to make the playoff after Week 4.
And now, UCF — one of the biggest surprises of the weekend because it’s been years since the Knights lost a regular season game. Seriously, their last regular-season loss was in November of 2016, and they’ve combined for a 25-1 record the last two seasons. But Pitt has been looking to upset someone this season, and while it came close against Penn State two weekends ago, it took down UCF, 35-34, on Saturday, in large part thanks to running a “Philly Special” — or Pitt Special, as Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi put it.
The College Football Playoff committee ignored UCF when it had back-to-back undefeated regular seasons, and playing a stronger schedule and beating those teams is one common suggestion for it to build a realistic playoff argument. It’s unlikely the Knights’ regular-season win streak would have continued on forever, so if they had to lose, at least it was to a Power Five team.