One-hundred twenty-eight FBS teams started the season undefeated on Aug. 30 or thereabouts. By the early morning of Sept. 22, 103 were no longer undefeated. From now through Selection Sunday, we’ll take a look at the undefeated teams remaining in college football and forecast how many teams can run wire-to-wire without suffering a loss.
The maximum number of undefeated teams the schedule allows by season’s end is nine, but history tells us the final number will be much closer to one or zero.
Next game: at Ohio State
Best chance for a loss: at Ohio State
Prognosis: The Bearcats have taken the odd tactic of trying to black out the stadium… while on the road. If the Fighting Tubervilles find a way to escape the Horseshoe alive, games against Memphis and Miami will be interesting.
Next game: at Miami
Best chance for a loss: at Miami…. or never?
Prognosis: We keep looking at the name on the uniforms and not the players inside them. Who had any idea Duke has won its last 12 regular season games? There are zero ranked opponents left on the schedule. The Blue Devils won’t go undefeated, but I think I’d take them straight up in every game remaining.
Florida State: 3-0
Next game: at N.C. State
Best chance for a loss: vs. Notre Dame (Oct. 18)
Prognosis: If the Seminoles can’t lose on Saturday, playing with their backup quarterback, with the opponent having the ball in the red zone in a tie game with two minutes to play, when will they lose?
Georgia Tech: 4-0
Next game: vs. Miami (Oct. 4)
Best chance for a loss: vs. Miami (Oct. 4)
Prognosis: The Yellow Jackets made it to late September unbeaten a year ago, and then lost three straight. Saturday’s win over Virginia Tech was impressive, but this team isn’t undefeated material.
N.C. State: 4-0
Next game: vs. Florida State
Best chance for a loss: vs. Florida State
Prognosis: I’ll be completely honest, I was astonished when I looked at the standings and saw N.C. State was undefeated. Enjoy it while it lasts, Wolfpack.
Next game: at Iowa State
Best chance for a loss: at Oklahoma (Nov. 8)
Prognosis: Granted, there are about 85 teams that would be undefeated to this point against Baylor’s schedule (SMU, Northwestern State, at Buffalo), but the Bears are extra undefeated. Current scoreboard: Baylor 178, Everybody else 27.
Next game: at TCU (Oct. 4)
Best chance for a loss: at TCU (Oct. 4)
Prognosis: TCU has struggled in the Big 12, but the Frogs have given Oklahoma every thing they wanted each of the past two years. TCU played Oklahoma to a 24-17 score in 2012, and 20-17 in 2013.
Next game: at SMU
Best chance for a loss: vs. Oklahoma (Oct. 4)
Prognosis: Gary Patterson said Monday he expects SMU’s best game on Saturday. So, Horned Frogs 40, SMU 10?
Next game: vs. Illinois
Best chance for a loss: at Michigan State (Oct. 4)
Prognosis: How do you think Nebraska gets to four losses this season. Do they go the 2013 model and get them all out of the way in the regular season, or do they opt for the 2010 and 2012 models, where the Huskers post a 10-2 regular season but drop the conference championship and the bowl game?
Penn State: 4-0
Next game: vs. Northwestern
Best chance for a loss: vs. Ohio State (Oct. 25)
Prognosis: James Franklin has already done something Joe Paterno never did. With Saturday’s 48-7 defeat of Massachusetts, Franklin became the first Penn State coach to win his first four games since Dick Harlow did it in 1915.
Next game: at Old Dominion (Oct. 4)
Best chance for a loss: at Old Dominion (Oct. 4)
Prognosis: Everyone’s favorite Group of Five undefeated candidate is still undefeated. That Old Dominion game is fascinating. I’d expect a pretty good atmosphere in Norfolk.
Next game: vs. Utah State (Oct. 3)
Best chance for a loss: at Central Florida (Oct. 9)
Prognosis: I don’t know what to think about this team. Taysom Hill is really good, and the Cougars have the ability to physically overwhelm every opponent left on their slate. But I don’t think the defense is 12-0 material, and they commit too many penalties.
Notre Dame: 3-0
Next game: vs. Syracuse at MetLife Stadium
Best chance for a loss: vs. Stanford (Oct. 4)
Prognosis: I think Notre Dame is underrated nationally, but we’ll know exactly where they stand by the end of the year with this bear of a schedule: Stanford, Florida State, Arizona State and USC, plus Louisville, Navy, North Carolina and Saturday’s date with the Orange.
There are zero undefeated teams remaining in the Mid-American Conference. #SadMACtion.
There are zero undefeated teams remaining in the Mountain West Conference. #SadMWaction.
Next game: at Oregon (Oct. 2)
Best chance for a loss: at Oregon (Oct. 2)
Prognosis: No team is more fortunate to appear on this list. Three of Arizona’s next four games are against Top 20 teams. This will be a theme from here on out.
Arizona State: 3-0
Next game: vs. UCLA (Thursday)
Best chance for a loss: vs. UCLA (Thursday)
Prognosis: The Sun Devils’ next three games are against Top 20 foes, then they get to navigate the minefield that the bottom half of the Pac-12 is, plus a November date with Notre Dame. Get well soon, Taylor Kelly.
Next game: vs. Arizona (Oct. 2)
Best chance for a loss: vs. Arizona (Oct. 2)
Prognosis: Somehow Oregon has only two dates with ranked foes left on the schedule. That has to be against Pac-12 bylaws. Anyway, the offensive line and defense need to improve quickly, or Oregon is going to lose once Marcus Mariota stops being perfect.
Oregon State: 3-0
Next game: at USC
Best chance for a loss: at USC
Prognosis: A year ago, Oregon State started 6-1, and finished 1-5. Here’s hoping they avoid a similar fate in 2014.
Next game: at Arizona State (Thursday)
Best chance for a loss: at Arizona State (Thursday)
Prognosis: I think we all had the Bruins unscathed at this point, but not by scores of 28-20, 42-35 and 20-17. Brett Hundley should return to action Thursday, which means I’d favor UCLA to get to 4-0.
Next game: at Washington State
Best chance for a loss: at UCLA (Oct. 4)
Prognosis: Put Utah on the list of most underrated teams in the country. The Utes’ ascension, aided by the arrival of new offensive coordinator Dave Christensen, makes the Pac-12 South the best division in college football outside the SEC West.
Next game: vs. Stanford
Best chance for a loss: vs. Stanford
Prognosis: Concurrently true facts about the Washington Huskies – this is a team that at one point led a Big Ten team 35-5 (albeit, Illinois), and also trailed Hawaii 10-0 while holding on for a 17-16 win, trailed Eastern Washington 45-44 through three quarters and hung on for a 59-52 win, and trailed Georgia State (GEORGIA STATE!) 14-0 before racing by the Panthers for a 45-14 win.
Next game: at Ole Miss (Oct. 4)
Best chance for a loss: at Ole Miss (Oct. 4)
Next game: vs. Louisiana Tech
Best chance for a loss: vs. LSU (Oct. 4)
Missississippi State: 4-0
Next game: vs. Texas A&M (Oct. 4)
Best chance for a loss: vs. Texas A&M (Oct. 4)
Ole Miss: 3-0
Next game: vs. Memphis
Best chance for a loss: vs. Alabama (Oct. 4)
Texas A&M: 4-0
Next game: vs. Arkansas at AT&T Stadium
Best chance for a loss: vs. Arkansas at A&T Stadium
There are zero undefeated teams remaining in the Sun Belt Conference. #SadFunBelt