Breaking down potential fatal flaws for 16 College Football Playoff contenders

John Adams/Icon Sportswire

Week 4 of the college football season was an evener of sorts. If you hadn't looked good yet, if you hadn't won a game, this was a good week for you to do so. (Congratulations, New Mexico State and others.) Meanwhile, if you hadn't yet found your moment of sloppy vulnerability, that probably came too. Five unbeaten teams lost as favorites, and even Georgia looked mortal for once.

Georgia looked like a perfect college football team for three weeks and opened Week 4 against Kent State with a 75-yard touchdown run from its tight end, but the Bulldogs quickly found themselves in a scrap, committing multiple turnovers and leading just 19-13 late in the first half.

The Dawgs pulled away to win 39-22, but it was an underwhelming performance for a 45-point favorite, and it reminded us of one of college football's undying rules (and one that we forget from time to time): Anyone can slip up, or at least look bad, on a given day. Georgia had battled spells of passive pass defense -- only one sack and a higher-than-normal 58% completion rate allowed through three games -- and sure enough, Kent State found a rhythm, completing 68% of its passes and moving the ball better than expected. Throw in a couple of sloppy turnovers, and the Dawgs had themselves a battle.

If a team is going to slip, we generally know how it's going to happen before it does. We often come to understand a team's worst flaws before they actually cost it in the win column. With that in mind, let's look at the worst flaws for the best teams in the country through four weeks.

The fatal flaw for each CFP contender

Below are the 16 teams that are unbeaten or have one loss and odds of 1% or greater to reach the College Football Playoff, according to the Allstate Playoff Predictor. Most or all of these teams will lose at least once (or once more) over the next 10 weeks. Let's talk about how it will probably happen.


Record (Week 4 result): 4-0 (defeated Vanderbilt, 55-3)

Rankings: second in the AP poll, first in SP+, first in FPI

Current odds of reaching CFP: 84.7%

Fatal flaw: Bryce Young might not have enough help. Granted, if you watched the Bama defense get torched by Quinn Ewers early in the Crimson Tide's 20-19 win over Texas in Week 2, you'd reserve a sliver of doubt for the pass defense, but that's really the only time the defense has been vulnerable this season. I'm finding a bit more concern with the fact that Bama isn't getting a lot of big plays from its passing game and is merely good, not great, in terms of run efficiency.