Kentucky is undefeated and has an avenue to the College Football Playoff. Wait, what?
The Wildcats enter Week 7 with a 6-0 record and ranked No. 11 in the AP top 25. However, that poll is absolutely meaningless when it comes to deciding the final four teams at the end of the season.
The playoff committee will begin releasing a top 25 following Halloween weekend as teams continue to put together a resume heading down the final stretch of the season.
There is a lot of football to be played, but Kentucky has a clear path into the final four. KSR is here to break down all of the possible scenarios.
This one is fairly simple. An undefeated Power Five conference champion is a lock. One coming out of the SEC would be pretty much guaranteed the No. 1 overall seed.
Run the table, and Kentucky will leave Atlanta as the No. 1 team in college football with a 13-0 record.
That sounds fun.
One loss, not a conference champion
If Kentucky were to finish the season 11-1, the Wildcats would have a great chance at cracking the final four. However, some things would need to break their way.
Assuming the only defeat would be to Georgia, the Wildcats would need Kirby Smart’s team to run the table and finish the season 13-0. One of those wins would need to be over Alabama in the SEC title game giving Nick Saban’s squad two losses.
Outside of that, Kentucky would need some help in the other Power Five conference leagues plus the American. A combination of Cincinnati suffering a loss to go along with at least a pair of two-loss conference champions out of the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, and Pac-12.
That is feasible as conference favorites Clemson, Ohio State, and Oregon all have at least one loss to this point in the season.
Kentucky being a one-loss conference champion could be possible, but the Wildcats would need a lot of help to win the East if they are unable to defeat Georgia on Saturday.
Two losses would make it close to impossible
We are in the midst of a wild college football season. Nick Saban is losing to former assistants, Ohio State was thumped at home, and Clemson looks totally lost.
However, a two-loss Kentucky would have close to zero chance at making the playoff.
For the Wildcats to have any shot, Kentucky would need to qualify for the SEC title game somehow and get a win in Atlanta to improve to 11-2. The only way this is feasible is to be the SEC champion. That team is most likely not being left out.
Sugar Bowl consolation
After the playoff, the top landing spot for Kentucky would be a trip to the Sugar Bowl for the New Year’s Six. The Wildcats could get there with a 10-2 mark to meet the highest-ranked team out of the Big 12. However, Alabama’s loss to Texas A&M throws a wrench into things.
If the Tide were to finish the season with an identical record, that could hurt Kentucky in grabbing this spot. Kentucky’s best win would likely be a home triumph over Florida, but Alabama has that same win on their resume but it occurred on the road.
For the Wildcats to feel comfortable about making the trip to New Orleans for New Year’s Day, Alabama needs to win out to get into the playoff or the Tide must lose two more games.
Georgia potentially awaits the Tide in the SEC Championship while Bama still has to make road trips to Mississippi State and Auburn to go along with home games against Tennessee and Arkansas.
We could all be on Alabama watch to close out the 2021 season. If at 10-2 behind Alabama, the Wildcats could head west to the Fiesta Bowl to play an at-large selection if Cincinnati makes the College Football Playoff.
There is still a lot of football to be played.