Schedule analysis: Who has the toughest road to the CFB Playoff?

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Stop saying “eyeball test.”

Bring something else to the argument when talking about teams deserving of the four-team College Football Playoff.

Here’s a closer look at the “strength of schedule” argument as it pertains to the 18 Power 5 conference teams with one loss or less. Which team has the toughest schedule? Who has the toughest schedule left? Is there a team outside of the SEC with a worthy schedule? Who really has the “best” loss?

Here are the answers to those questions. You won’t have to result to the “eyeball test.”

Overall record of opponents

1.Auburn: 65-27, .707

2(t). Ole Miss: 60-33, .645

2(t). Alabama: 60-33, .645

4. Mississippi State: 59-37, .615

5. Kansas State: 54-35, .607

6(t). Michigan State: 54-38, .587

6(t). Nebraska: 54-38, .587

8. Utah: 54-39, .581

9. Notre Dame: 53-39, .576

10. Oregon: 52-41, .559

11. Arizona: 52-42, .553

12(t). Georgia: 51-42, .548

12(t). Florida State: 51-42, .548

14. TCU: 48-41, .539

15. Arizona State: 49-42, .538

16. Ohio State: 50-44, .532

17. Baylor: 45-45, .500

18. Duke: 38-56, .404

Toughest overall schedule: Auburn

It’s not really close. Auburn split trips to Kansas State and Mississippi State and still has to go to Ole Miss (Nov. 1), Georgia (Nov. 15) and Alabama (Nov. 29). If any potential two-loss team deserved benefit of the doubt, it would be the Tigers.

Worst overall schedule: Baylor

This takes Duke out of the picture, but the fact Baylor’s opponents are at .500 for the season will make it that much harder for the Bears to get back in the playoff picture.

Record of remaining opponents

1. Alabama: 26-5, .839

2(t). Auburn: 22-8, .733

2(t). Ole Miss: 22-8, .733

4(t). Georgia: 25-12, .676

4(t). Kansas State: 25-12, .676

6(t). Utah: 24-12, .667

6(t). Arizona State: 24-12, .667

6(t). Michigan State: 20-10, .667

9. Arizona: 25-13, .658

10. Nebraska: 19-11, .633

11. Notre Dame: 24-14, .632

12. Florida State: 23-15, .605

13. Ohio State: 23-16, .590

14. Mississippi State: 24-17, .585

15. Baylor: 21-16, .568

16. Oregon: 17-13, .567

17. TCU: 19-18, .514

18. Duke: 17-23, .425

Toughest remaining schedule: Alabama

Auburn’s schedule is tougher, unless you go by overall record. In that case it’s the Tide, with LSU giving it the slight advantage. Western Carolina is a win, but LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn aren’t guaranteed, even with the Bulldogs and Tigers coming to Tuscaloosa.

Worst remaining schedule: TCU

Again, this takes Duke out, but TCU will have to make its strongest impressions the next two weeks against West Virginia and Kansas State. The Horned Frogs’ last three opponents (Kansas, Texas, Iowa State) have a combined record of 7-15.

Toughest non-SEC schedule: Kansas State

Watch out for the Wildcats. If Kansas State can win at TCU (Nov. 8), at West Virginia (Nov. 20) and at Baylor (Dec. 6) to finish 11-1, it deserves a playoff spot. The Wildcats are the non-SEC Power 5 school whose opponents have a winning percentage over .600.

Best loss: Notre Dame/Alabama

Notre Dame lost to the defending national champions on the road on a questionable call. Alabama lost on the road to the nation’s top defense. It’s a coin flip.

Worst loss: Utah/Ohio State

Utah’s loss to 2-6 Washington State could be a killer if the Utes work into the Pac-12 championship conversation. Ohio State has a better chance to win the Big Ten, but that early-season loss to Virginia Tech (4-4) looks worse each week.

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