Countless Upsets Stir Limitless Playoff Combinations
One month ago, the College Football world told itself that the 4-team playoff would be filled with ease once again. At the time, the SEC, ACC, Big 10, and Big 12 conferences each presumed to be represented by their champion. Only the Big 12 conference’s presumed representative is the same as prior with the top of the rankings left to chaos. Oklahoma continues to hum past the remainder of the Big 12. The following list withhold the schools who were in the top 6 a month ago and still are today: Alabama. That’s it. The cast of teams surrounding the dominant
Alabama squad has shifted a great deal week by week. However, the phrase of “dominant” cannot be attached to Nick Saban’s team following last weekend’s contest. Upsets shake the world of College Football once again.
Throughout the previous month, the shapings of the playoffs have begun to take form. No team outside of Wisconsin and Central Florida makes out of the regular season unscathed. #1 Alabama fell to #6 Auburn in the Iron Bowl. The same outcome befell #2 Miami as they lost to an unranked Pittsburgh. Just two weeks prior, #9 Washington fell. #1 Georgia steamrolled #10 Auburn and #3 Notre Dame exposed by #7 Miami. #6 TCU battles and loses to #5 Oklahoma. And lastly, #6 Ohio State received a beating in Iowa City to the unranked Hawkeyes.
Penn State fell off the planet after being ranked second in the nation a month earlier before losses against #6 Ohio State and #24 Michigan State. Upsets have completely ravaged the top 10 of the College Football rankings week after week.
Despite all of these upsets eliminating teams from playoff contention, eight teams still have a chance at making the playoffs. This amount of teams is the highest by such a large margin in the history of the playoffs. The following teams are currently contending for the top 4 spots: Clemson, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Auburn, Alabama, Miami, Georgia, and Ohio State. Among these, there are no certains. None whatsoever. Here are all the likely possibilities.
If Clemson, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Auburn all win in their respective conference championship games, each of them will compete for the playoffs in no particular order. This particular scenario plays out with Alabama being the first team out of the playoffs. Alabama losing to Auburn head to head and Auburn winning the SEC championship defends this scenario. If Clemson loses, Miami will make the national semifinal game in Clemson’s place. If Wisconsin or Oklahoma lose, however, the outcome may not be so simple. Alabama may take one of those places, so Ohio State or even potentially Georgia could retain the spot. If Auburn loses to Georgia, Georgia simply replaces Auburn in the playoffs. However, of all these contingencies, as a lifelong sports fanatic since birth and self-proclaimed expert since, the following is my prediction for the playoffs.
#1 – Auburn. After beating Georgia and Alabama in three weeks with both teams being ranked one at the time and defeating a #7 Georgia again in the upcoming week in the conference championship, Auburn rises the number one slot in the playoffs.
#2 – Clemson. First, this Saturday, Clemson will defeat Miami for the ACC Championship. Second, I cannot put Clemson at number one in the nation for only two reasons. Syracuse and schedule strength. The lone loss in Clemson’s repertoire is facing Syracuse. A loss against Syracuse is inexcusable. Despite Clemson defeating Auburn in a head to head matchup and Auburn having two losses to Clemson’s one, Auburn has proven in the last three weeks and will continue to prove once again this week that Auburn is the hottest and the best team in the nation.
#3 – Oklahoma. The Sooners hold strong in a rematch against TCU in the Big 12 Championship game and retain their previously given slot from the College Football Playoff Committee. Oklahoma deserves to be in the Playoffs but does not own the resume to be placed higher than here.
#4 – Alabama. The Big 10 will miss out of the playoffs for the first year. A two-loss Ohio State Big 10 champion will not make the playoffs as a two-loss Big 10 champ in Penn State missed out on the playoffs in 2016. Wisconsin has not faced a single worthy opponent all year and Ohio State has faced Oklahoma and Penn State as well as rivalry games against Michigan and Michigan State. The Big 10 will do as the Big 12 has done multiple times and beat itself out of the playoffs. This leaves Alabama to enjoy a rematch of the Iron Bowl against Auburn in the National Semifinals on New Year’s Day.
This Saturday will without doubt deliver with multiple conference championship throughout the day. Oklahoma-TCU at 11:30 CST on FOX. Georgia-Auburn at 3:00 CST on CBS. Clemson-Miami at 7:00 CST on ABC and Wisconsin-Ohio State at the same time on FOX. Each of these games will determine College Football Playoff selections with the official ranking show occuring on Sunday, December 3rd at noon.