- Bill Connelly is a staff writer for ESPN.com.
The college football calendar is the oddest in sports. We spend eight months arguing about what might happen, teams spend two months basically establishing pole position, and then almost everything that we will actually remember from a given season happens in a single month: November. Conference title races play to their finish, someone clinches the Heisman, the national title push goes from third to fifth gear, and if we’re going to end up with a truly indelible, lasting moment, this is probably when it’s going to happen. Hail Flutie. Harrell to Crabtree. The Kick Six. The Bluegrass Miracle. Clint Stoerner. Johnny Rodgers’ punt return. Wide Right I. They all happened in November.
It’s Nov. 1, so welcome to the college football season. Here’s how everything has taken shape as we dive into the most exciting month any sport can boast.
Where the national title race stands
We’ll obviously get the lay of the land when the College Football Playoff committee releases its first top 25 on Tuesday evening, but when you take projections for the coming weeks into account, there are basically four tiers of playoff contenders at the moment.
Tier 1 (greater than 90% chance of reaching the playoffs, per ESPN’s Allstate Playoff Predictor): Georgia
Tier 2 (50-70% chance): Alabama, Cincinnati, Ohio State, Oklahoma
Tier 3 (15-20% chance): Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame
Tier 4 (1-5% chance): Baylor, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pitt, Wake Forest
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