Playoff picture taking shape midway through the season
The College Football Playoff picture it taking shape early on this year.
There’s always room for chaos, but here’s a look at the teams that have a legitimate shot of making the final four.

Alabama once again looks like the best team in the country. The Crimson Tide absolutely dismantled a top-10 opponent on the road (49-10 win at Tennessee).
If Alabama is able to get by No. 6 Texas A&M Saturday, the Tide gets a bye week before gearing up for a very favorable November schedule.
Alabama plays at LSU and hosts Auburn in November, but neither of those teams are capable of beating the Crimson Tide.

Texas A&M
Texas A&M is a 16.5-point underdog against Alabama this weekend, according to That line looks out of whack on paper. But if you look at how Alabama beat Tennessee on the road as well as how Alabama manhandled Texas A&M in their last two meetings, the line may not be that much of a stretch.
Alabama dominated Texas A&M 59-0 in 2014, and followed that up with a 41-23 win in College Station last year.
Still, if Texas A&M is somehow able to pull off the upset, the Aggies would be in the driver seat to win the SEC West and be the league’s representative in the playoff. It’s a big if, but crazier things have happened.

Ohio State
Ohio State escaped Wisconsin with a hard-fought victory over the Badgers last week. With that game out of the way, the Buckeyes have two real tests remaining: Nebraska and Michigan.
Ohio State gets both of those conference opponents at home which should work in their favor.
The Buckeyes are one of the most talented teams in the country so it would be a shock if they don’t make the playoff.

Outside of Ohio State, none of Michigan’s remaining games should be tough.
The Wolverines just need to find a way to not get tripped up before their trip to Columbus.
Ohio State had its way with Michigan last season so there will certainly be a ton of motivation for the Wolverines in this one.
If both teams make it through the season undefeated, this will be the biggest game in the rivalry since 2006 when the two teams battled for a spot in the BCS Championship Game (Ohio State won).

It’s hard to properly judge Washington because it’s unclear how good their competition is. Beating Stanford looked like a good win at the time, but everyone realized Stanford may be overrated.
Washington still has to play Utah (on the road) and USC. Both games can be tricky.
If the Huskies come out undefeated, they’ll represent the Pac-12 in the playoff.

Clemson seems like the safest bet of this group. The Tigers have already beaten Louisville.
Clemson plays at Florida State on Oct. 29, but the Seminoles aren’t very good.
It hasn’t been pretty, but Clemson has found a way to win this season. The Tigers appear to be on track for a return trip to the playoff.