- College football reporter
- Joined ESPN.com in 2007
- Graduate of Indiana University
Notre Dame is (already?!) out of the College Football Playoff race, and even No. 1 Alabama has warts.
Yes, it’s only two weeks into the season, but when every game matters, sometimes that’s all it takes to glean insight into the playoff picture. A two-loss team has never made the playoff, and Notre Dame is extremely unlikely to be the first after its shocking 26-21 home loss to unranked Marshall on Saturday.
The Irish are 0-2 with no conference championship game to help compensate for it, so now the conversation turns to how Notre Dame’s season will impact its opponents’ championship aspirations, including Ohio State, USC and Clemson.
While some playoff hopefuls have been tested more than others, the first two weeks of the season have left some early impressions. Here’s a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the top seven title contenders and when we’ll know if they can compete for the national title:
Saturday’s score: Georgia 33, Samford 0
Reason for optimism: Georgia picked up where it left off — in national championship form. The Bulldogs’ defense hasn’t missed a beat in spite of losing five first-round NFL draft picks, and quarterback Stetson Bennett has been one of the most steady and consistent players in the country. Through two games, Georgia has looked like one of the most complete teams in college football and has done what some others struggled to do — leave no doubt it’s the better team against lesser competition.
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