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Midseason projections: Just two CFB teams will go unbeaten


There are just six unbeaten college football teams left, and that number is guaranteed to shrink by one this weekend.

Baylor, Florida State, Marshall, Mississippi, Mississippi State and Notre Dame are the six, and the Seminoles play host to the Fighting Irish on Saturday. In addition, the Mississippi schools meet in their regular-season finale, so at the most, there will be four unbeatens at the end of the season. (And won't that make things fun for the playoff selection committee.)

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Six unbeatens is a low number at this point in the season: There were 14 unbeaten teams after Week 7 last season and 12 unbeatens at this juncture in 2012. The last time no teams finished unbeaten was in 2007. There has been one unbeaten in each of the past three seasons; there were three in 2010, five in '09 and two in '08.

Here's a look at the six remaining unbeatens; they're listed in descending order, from toughest to least difficult remaining schedule.

6. Notre Dame

Remaining schedule: Saturday, at Florida State; Nov. 1, vs. Navy in Landover, Md.; Nov. 8, at Arizona State; Nov. 15, vs. Northwestern; Nov. 22, vs. Louisville; Nov. 29, at USC.
The skinny: The Irish have three huge road games remaining -- Saturday's trek to Tallahassee, an overlooked toughie in the desert against Arizona State and the season-ender against rival USC. Louisville's defense could pose some problems, but the Cardinals' offense isn't going to scare the Irish.
The prediction: Two regular-season losses and a berth in the Orange Bowl, which is part of the "playoff bowl" structure.

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5. Baylor

Remaining schedule: Saturday, at West Virginia; Nov. 1, vs. Kansas; Nov. 8, at Oklahoma; Nov. 22, vs. Oklahoma State; Nov. 29, vs. Texas Tech; Dec. 6, vs. Kansas State.
The skinny: The contests with Kansas and Texas Tech should be easy wins. The other four games, though, have some intrigue, especially the trip to Oklahoma. History is not on the Bears' side: OU is 21-2 all-time against the Bears, including 11-0 in Norman. One positive for the Bears is that K-State and Oklahoma State have to visit Waco.
The prediction: One loss and a berth in the Cotton Bowl, which is part of the "playoff bowl" structure.

4. Mississippi State

Remaining schedule: Oct. 25, at Kentucky; Nov. 1, vs. Arkansas; Nov. 8, vs. UT-Martin; Nov. 15, at Alabama; Nov. 22, vs. Vanderbilt; Nov. 29, at Ole Miss.
The skinny: Some might see the Kentucky trip as a potential trap game, but given that the Bulldogs have this weekend off, that doesn't seem a likely place to lose. The other two road games, though -- those are huge and both are potential losses. The Alabama series is one of the most lopsided in the nation: The Tide lead 76-18-3 and are 22-2 against the Bulldogs in Tuscaloosa since 1959. And this season's Egg Bowl should be the most eagerly anticipated in history; not to be snarky, but this might be the first time ever that even casual fans care about the outcome.
The prediction: One regular-season loss, a win in the SEC championship game and a playoff bid.

3. Mississippi

Remaining schedule: Saturday, vs. Tennessee; Oct. 25, at LSU; Nov. 1, vs. Auburn; Nov. 8, vs. Presbyterian; Nov. 22, at Arkansas; Nov. 29, vs. Mississippi State.
The skinny: Trips to Arkansas and LSU won't be easy, though the Rebels should win both. It's the other two SEC West games, the contests against Auburn and archrival Mississippi State, that are the big ones. Mississippi State has won four of the past five Egg Bowls, while Auburn is 26-5 against Ole Miss since 1965. (An aside: Presbyterian? Seriously?)
The prediction: Two regular-season losses and a berth in the Peach Bowl, which is part of the "playoff bowl" structure.

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2. Florida State

Remaining schedule: Saturday, vs. Notre Dame; Oct. 30, at Louisville; Nov. 8, vs. Virginia; Nov. 15, at Miami; Nov. 22, vs. Boston College; Nov. 29, vs. Florida.
The skinny: Saturday's game looks to be the last impediment -- well, last on-field impediment, anyway -- between FSU and an unbeaten regular season. The Thursday night game in Louisville will have some intrigue, Virginia has an aggressive defense and there are rivalry games with Miami and Florida. But if the Seminoles beat the Irish on Saturday, an unbeaten record is likely.
The prediction: An unbeaten regular-season record, a win in the ACC championship game and a playoff berth.

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1. Marshall

Remaining schedule: Saturday, at Florida International; Oct. 25, vs. Florida Atlantic; Nov. 8, at Southern Miss; Nov. 15, vs. Rice; Nov. 22, at UAB; Nov. 28, vs. Western Kentucky.
The skinny: (Hey, stop laughing at that schedule.) The Thundering Herd might have already defeated its toughest opponent, dispatching Middle Tennessee State last week. But UAB is a lot better than usual, and Western Kentucky can throw the ball around with anyone. Still, unlike with FSU, there is no reason to use "likely" with Marshall: The Herd should finish unbeaten.
The prediction: An unbeaten regular-season record, a win in the Conference USA title game and a berth in the Peach Bowl, which is part of the "playoff bowl" structure, as the non-Power Five's automatic entrant.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.



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