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College Football Playoff Hope-O-Meter: Where dreams come to die

October 14, 2019
Georgia v Tennessee

Silas Walker

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, to the unveiling of perhaps the greatest technological innovation of our time: THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF HOPE-O-METER! Over the course of the 2019 season, we will put our ultra-violet spectrum of college football emotion to the test, processing each weekend's scoreboard—and it's array of hopes, dreams, and delusions—to determine the state of the all-important CFP push. Here's where things stand as of today...



Mortal Lock: LSU

If Death Valley’s rocking, don’t go a-knocking. Just asked undefeated Florida who rolled into Baton Rouge on Saturday night, hung tough for two-and-a-half quarters, and still lost by a pair of touchdowns to LSU. This is good news for all of us who want the maximum allowable dosage of Coach O at every waking hour. The Tigers have already cleared their first set of regular season hurdles in Texas and Florida, putting up 87 point in the process. As a reward, the very un-LSU offense—the number one scoring offense in all of FBS, IT SHOULD BE SAID—will get Auburn and Alabama in back-to-back game weeks on 10/26 and 11/9. If Joe Burrow can hold his nerve and the Tigers manage to at least split those two matchups, they should be home clear.

Cautiously Delusional: Minnesota

It was a tough weekend for the under-the-radar undefeateds (more on that in a minute), but one separated themselves from the pack: The fightin’ Gophers of Minnesota. The Big Ten powerhouse no one is talking about made creamed corn out of Nebraska on Saturday, and gets Rutgers and Maryland next. Chances are they’ll be 8-0 and still tied for the lead in the Big Ten West before getting Penn State and Wisconsin at home (sandwiching tricky road trips to Iowa and Northwestern) to end the season. Playing a nice vintage of Minnesota football—game-management QB play, a strong run game and solid defense led in part by Antoine Winfield Jr.—there’s a non-zero chance that Minnesota could emerge as a one-loss Big Ten West champ. Do that and pull off an upset in the Big Ten Championship, and things could be Golden for the Gophers.

Hopelessly Hopeless: Georgia

Hoo boy, we know Will Muschamp is a master motivator and all, but let’s call Georgia’s double-OT home loss to an unranked South Carolina squad playing their third-string quarterback exactly what it is: A dream killer. Jake Fromm threw three backbreaking picks and the Gamecocks missed a chip shot to win it in single OT before The Spectacled Wonder (AKA Rodrigo Blankenship, AKA the best kicker in the nation) returned the favor on a kick that could have (and probably should have) sent the game to triple OT. Unfortunately for football fans in the great state of Georgia, Matt Bryant offered up a nightmarish case of deja vu on Sunday, missing a game-tying extra point against the Cardinals to drop the Falcons to 1-5. But hey, at least there’s baseball...oh wait, never mind.

Fugghedaboutit: Memphis and Wake Forest


Whether in the amateur ranks or the big leagues, this weekend was a football officiating blood bath, and unfortunately the two biggest casualties were also two of college football’s best underdog stories. First up was 5-0 Memphis, who, down two and driving on Temple with under two minutes left, appeared to come up with a miracle conversion on fourth and nine, only to have what was called a catch on the field overturned because of, um, honestly we still don’t know. Then under the white-hot lights of ACC Network in primetime, Golf Digest's Alex Myers' Wake Forest, deep in the throes of a barnburner with Louisville, appeared to come up with a crucial onside kick recovery, only to have an extensive replay review award possession and, by proxy, victory, to Louisville. Suffice to say, any starry-eyed pipe dreams these Cinderellas had about riding a magical pumpkin carriage all the way to the CFP died on Saturday, and the college football season became infinitely less interesting because of it.

Best Moment by an 0-6 Team: New Mexico State

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