The College Football Playoff showed last season why it’s great for college football. Ohio State, who was the fourth seed of the four teams, ended up winning both of its playoff games to win the National Championship. We are one week away from finding out who will be the four teams to compete for it all this year. Here are my views on what could happen with the teams that are still alive.
- Clemson Tigers
It’s win, and you’re in. The No. 1 team in the country is undefeated and has quality wins vs Notre Dame and Florida State. This weekend the Tigers will play a team on the rise in North Carolina, and with a win they will be the No. 1 seed in the playoff. Now if they lose, depending on if the game is a blowout or close, they could still make it into the playoff since North Carolina is a top ten team. However I don’t see that happening with teams like No. 6 Ohio State and No. 7 Stanford on the outside looking in coming off of big wins. With the combination of Deshaun Watson and a offense full of playmakers, Clemson will stay undefeated and claim the number one seed after a in versus UNC.
- Alabama Crimson Tide
When isn’t Alabama playing for some kind of championship? It seems like every single year Nick Saban has his team ready to play. Alabama holds its own destiny as well with only one loss to Ole Miss earlier in the season. The difference from Alabama and Clemson is if Bama were to lose to Florida in the SEC championship game, their playoff hopes would be gone with two losses. It would easily open the door for the teams on the outside looking in, and Alabama would probably find themselves playing in another New Year’s Day bowl. However, I don’t see this team slipping up to a Florida team that was handled by Florida State in a 27-2 blowout loss. The number two seed should be where the Crimson Tide end up.
- Oklahoma Sooners
With no Big 12 championship game and a win over No. 11 Oklahoma State last week, the outright Big 12 champs don’t have much of a chance to lose this spot. They have impressive wins on the road against ranked opponents Baylor, Tennessee, and Oklahoma State, and not to mention wins over TCU and West Virginia at home who were both also ranked. Some like to claim that this conference is overrated, but regardless they have enough quality wins that they will not be moving anywhere besides up. I do not see a loss coming from Alabama or Clemson however leaving the Sooners right where they are as the third seed.
- Iowa Hawkeyes
You can make the argument that they haven’t played anyone, but being undefeated in the Big Ten automatically gives you a spot at the table. Iowa only has two ranked wins versus Wisconsin (who is no longer ranked) and Northwestern. It’s understandable why some don’t believe they should be in the playoff when the three teams right behind the Hawkeyes have better resumes. All of the questions will be answered Saturday however when they take on No. 5 Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship game. The winner will most likely take the fourth spot unless a team in front of them loses, or they could possibly take the three seed over Oklahoma due to the fact the Sooners do not play a conference championship game. I think this game will be close, and will keep the winner of the game at the fourth and final seat in the playoffs. I think Iowa makes it close but falls short to MSU, putting the Hawkeyes out of the playoffs.
- Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans may have the best resume of wins against ranked opponents when they played them: Oregon(7), Michigan(12), Ohio State(3). But because of close wins against lower teams in the non conference and Big Ten, and a Nov. 7 loss to Nebraska who was unranked, MSU finds themselves as the first team out. The same thing goes for the Spartans as it does for Iowa. Win the Big Ten Championship game and you’re in, plain and simple. I see MSU and Connor Cook pulling out a close win on Saturday night, putting them in the fourth spot for the playoff.
- Ohio State Buckeyes
Yes, believe it or not, there are more Big Ten teams (3) than SEC teams (1) that are in playoff contention, and Ohio State is the last Big Ten team with a chance. The convincing win vs No. 10-ranked Michigan a week ago still may not be enough to put the Buckeyes in the playoff due to the late season loss to Michigan State. Ohio State would need a loss from Alabama or Clemson to get a shot at making the playoff. Due to MSU playing Iowa, that spot will be filled by the winner of that matchup, but Ohio state in my opinion would be the first team in if one of the top two teams get upset. However I do not see any kind of slip up from Clemson and Alabama this weekend, leaving Ohio State looking forward to a New Year’s Day bowl game.
- Stanford Cardinals
The Cardinals had a huge win last weekend vs Notre Dame, which knocked ND out of being a possible playoff contender and put Stanford right in their spot. Along with that win against the Fighting Irish, they also have wins against UCLA and USC, but have two losses to Northwestern and Oregon. The two losses make it really hard for Stanford to have a shot at getting in, but the only chance they have is for both of the top teams to lose in their conference championship games. I don’t see one, much less either Clemson or Alabama losing, leaving Stanford out of the playoffs.
My final four playoff teams are: