As the Independents are obviously done this week, save for Army (whose matchup with Navy I’ll give my thoughts on later next week), I’m looking for something to rant about. Since ND shot themselves in the foot twice this year and finds themselves out of the playoff picture, I’ll take a look at the other games this week.
Currently, the College Football Playoff ranking looks like this:
- Ohio State
- Penn State
I’m stopping at 10 because that’s where most pundits would draw the line for any team having any shot in hell at making the tournament. If you’re asking for my opinion, I really draw the line at #7 Miami. Here’s why:
- The PAC-12 has been eliminated for weeks, plain and simple. There simply aren’t enough conference championship games to be lost for USC to make it in. Goodbye, Trojans.
- Penn State is sitting with two losses and no conference championship game after being eliminated via losses to Ohio State and Michigan State. Goodbye, Nittany Lions.
- Ohio State will either lose the Big 10 Championship this week, or they’ll win the conference but still have two losses. More on this one later.
- All of the top seven teams pass the eye test. All have great offenses with strong defenses to compliment them. All of them (minus Wisconsin) have played good schedules throughout, and Wisconsin has taken care of their business.
Moving through the conference championships, now:
- The winner of the ACC is absolutely in. Clemson has impressive wins over South Carolina and Auburn, among others. They tripped up in a game on the road against Syracuse when Kelly Bryant was dealing with injuries, but it is what it is. Miami was dominant for much of the early regular season, but their loss to Pitt came one week after coming down to the wire with Virginia. I like Clemson in this one – I think Miami has more talent and the better quarterback, but Dabo Swinney has been here before, and they’re white hot. The U is bleeding.
- Oklahoma is in if they win the Big XII. Sitting at 11-1, they have the fourth hardest schedule in college football. They have a Heisman candidate in Baker Mayfield. They have a large fanbase willing to travel to wherever their Sooners are playing (don’t tell me fan influence isn’t a factor – it absolutely is). Their lone trip-up is a home loss to Iowa State, who ironically also beat TCU, OU’s opponent this week. TCU, sitting with two losses, also is at a supreme disadvantage, as they are not as good as Alabama and do not have as strong a schedule as Ohio State (10th vs. 3rd, respectively). I’m taking Oklahoma in this game.
- The winner of the SEC is in, in my opinion. Georgia got their doors blown off against Auburn for their only loss of the season. With a strong backfield, they’ve managed to get past that loss and do everything they had to do to keep themselves in contention. Auburn lost to Clemson and #17 LSU early on, but they beat two teams that were ranked #1 in the playoff at the time (Georgia and Alabama). The Tigers have played too well down the stretch to be left out at this point if they can take care of business. But in this matchup, I don’t think they will. I’m taking Georgia.
- The Big 10 is interesting because this game alone, in my opinion, decides if Alabama makes it in. If Wisconsin is able to win, then they have to be in the playoff – they’re an undefeated team in an elite football conference. It doesn’t matter that they play on the weak side of that conference, and it doesn’t matter that they’ve played one ranked team to date. You can only take care of business on your schedule when we’re talking about Power 5 conferences, and that’s what Wisco has done. Ohio State definitely has talent, but I do not think they can shake those two blowout losses. Regardless of record, Ohio State is better than Wisconsin, and they will show that this weekend. I think Alabama being eliminated from SEC Championship contention last week is a nightmare scenario for the Bucks; it’s basically a checkmate. I think Ohio State will win the Big 10, catapulting Bama into the playoff as a 4 seed. Tide fans, you should be rooting pretty hard for Ohio State this weekend.
Based on these scenarios playing out, my playoff rankings this time on Sunday would be:
Clemson is first due to the fact that they will have only had one loss, played a more schedule than Georgia, in a better conference than Oklahoma, and they’re currently the defending champs. Gear up for a rematch against ‘Bama.
Oklahoma also only has one loss, and the benefit of the fourth toughest schedule will reward them with a two seed and a date against the Bulldogs.
Do you like what I think? Hate it? Think I’m stupid? Let me hear it – in the comments, on Facebook, or on the Twitter machine.
Cover photo from College Football News.