This is it. College football is over and the real fun begins. By fun I mean the college football playoffs.
The teams that have separated themselves from the pack and emerged with a bracket spot and national championship hopes are Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and Clemson.
Lots of teams feel slighted by this system. Ohio State, Wisconsin and Auburn come to mind here. So why didn’t they get in? Well I think I’ll brake down a bit of why teams got in and why they didn’t.
Starting with the Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia Finished the year at 11-1 and won the SEC conference title game over Auburn. That lone blemish came at the hands of the Tigers in November by a 40-17 margin on the road. Yet they got revenge by beating the previous number two ranked team in the nation by 21 points.
The Bulldogs won three games against top 25 opponents and only lost one game against them. They also dominated in the Sec not playing many close games.
Plane and simple they put together a good season. They beat everyone on the schedule. They avenged their loss to Auburn and won a tough conference. The finished ahead of Alabama and Auburn in overall record. Putting them securely in the playoffs.
Second let’s discuss the Clemson Tigers. Winners of the ACC title game by a wide margin over Miami.
The Tigers do own a close win over Auburn. They own six victories over top 25 teams. Sure, they lost to Syracuse by a field goal, but they also lost to Pitt by a point during last season championship run. Not games they should have lost, but they did.
This season could be déjà vu for the Tigers.
They earned every win during this 12-1 season and sit atop the rankings for a reason. No argument as to why Clemson would be left out.
Third is the Alabama Crimson Tide. This is the head scratcher pick. The lost to Auburn. They didn’t play for a conference championship. Yet they finished ahead of the War Eagle in overall record.
The Tide owns an 11-1 record as does Georgia. The Crimson Tide also owns an identical record to Georgia against ranked teams.
Sadly, they didn’t match up during the season, or I think the winner there is in the playoffs, while the loser sits out.
Alabama is a good team. Though this year I think they slid in because they have been there before and people watch them.
The final team in is Oklahoma. The Sooners are another one loss team at 12-1. They won the Big 12 conference championship game by dominating TCU, a team they beat twice. They have four wins against the top 25 including beating Ohio State in Columbus.
The lone lost came by a score to Iowa State. I would compare that to Clemson’s loss to Syracuse. It hurts and costs your undefeated mark, but isn’t too bad if you take care of business. Oklahoma took care of business and should absolutely be in this bracket.
Now for the Ohio State Buckeyes. The team upended Wisconsin for the Big Ten title. They finished at 11-2, including the all too familiar three out of four victories against ranked teams. The lone loss in the top 25, against the aforementioned Sooners.
I think the second loss is what took them out of the playoffs. Losing to Iowa on the road by 31 isn’t good for playoff hopes. Usually in this format one slip up can be forgiven, two and your fate may be sealed. I think that’s the case here.
Now to look at the team beaten by Ohio State, for the Big Ten Championship Wisconsin. The Badger’s have the better overall record than the Buckeyes at 12-1. However, the Badgers own only two ranked wins in three tries this year. Their schedule seems a lot more forgiving too when compared to Ohio States.
If they beat OSU, the undefeated record and Big Ten title is more than enough to get them in the playoffs. Yet you coun’t really get the signature win you needed to put you in for sure. Good pick by the committee to leave them out.
Then taking a look at Auburn. They do have those important head to head wins over Alabama and Georgia. They did play for an Sec championship. Yet they also lost head to head to both Clemson and Georgia.
Add on a third loss to LSU and its your done. No team with three losses is getting in under this format. Even if they are quality losses.
Now to finish let’s look at the lone undefeated team in the nation in Central Florida. Yep the lone 12-0 mark comes to us from the American Conference. The Golden Knights then took care of Memphis for the second time this year to win the conference title game. This was the lone time they beat a top 25 team.
Plain and simple I will say the Knights have no right to a top ten spot in the polls. They maybe top 15 and that’s at best. They don’t play anybody.
The American conference is a joke compared to the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Pac 12 and more. Yes, teams in these conference schedule cupcake teams. But if you have a case like Clemson where your playing six ranked teams, your schedule going to be softer at some points.
Every team getting into the playoffs did have a couple weaker teams on the slate, but not a whole slate of them. I wouldn’t accuse any of them of having a soft except Wisconsin and it was still tougher than UCF’s.
I do think you get a chance to rebut if your UCF against Auburn. However, bet on the Tigers to win and win big in the Peach Bowl matchup with the Golden Knights.
There you have it the college football playoffs all set and ready to roll. Should be a great way to start out the new year.