College Football Playoffs

Playoffs begin with the Celebration Bowl on Dec 15 and end with the College Football Playoff National Championship on Jan 7.


Tribune News Service

Alabama’s current record is 10-0 and they are projected to be ranked number two.

With the cold weather that December brings, it also brings the excitement of bowl season for college football. As the season begins to wind down, the College Football Playoff (CFP) selection committee must begin thinking about who will be in the top four and make it to the fifth annual College Football Playoffs. Currently, there are six teams in serious contention for those four spots, but not all of them will make it.

Clemson- Current record: 10-0 Projected record: 12-0

Clemson is coming off a fairly easy schedule this year. The only real competition they have faced so far is 17th ranked Texas A&M and Syracuse, who have had their number for the last three years and almost beat them again. Their only challenger in the second half of their schedule is 16th ranked North Carolina State, so going undefeated should be easy to accomplish. With their strength of schedule they should end up third, but due to upsets, they could wind up at the number one seat.

Alabama- Current record: 10-0 Projected record: 11-1

Seeing Alabama not ranked number one may seem strange, but at the end of the season they will likely end up at the two spot. In two weeks, Alabama is playing Louisiana State University (LSU) in Death Valley. Although Alabama is averaging 39.1 points per game and is 4-0 in conference play, they have not been in a slugfest yet. They have played fairly decent teams and blown them out of the water every time. They have a stellar quarterback, a solid defense and a high powered offense. With LSU it will be different, and they will come out of Death Valley with a one in the loss column, dropping them down to number two.

Ohio State- Current record: 9-1 Projected record: 11-1

In East Lansing, on Nov. 10, the currently 24th ranked Michigan State Spartans are likely going to beat the second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. For the last seven years, Michigan State has had their number. Every game between the two in the last seven years has been decided by a less than two touchdown margin aside from an ugly blowout last year. Ohio State has consistently been dominant for a while now, but Michigan State has put up a hard fight against them every time they have played them. So Michigan State will knock them down a bit, but they will come back with two big wins against Maryland and Michigan and earn the third spot in the playoffs.

LSU- Current record: 8-2 Projected record: 11-1

Louisiana State University has been in four dog fights this season. All four of them came against opponents who were ranked higher than them. They came out on top in three of those. The highlight of those four coming against previously second-ranked Georgia who they beat and held to 16 points. Georgia has a stellar quarterback, a solid defense and high powered offense averaging 39 points per game. That probably sounds familiar because Alabama is the same way. As said before, Alabama has not been in a hard-fought game yet. They have played against teams who went in prepared to lose. LSU, however, has been fearless all season long. They are going to come out and punch Alabama right in the mouth and the Tide are not going to know what hit them. Round that off with two more conference wins against Mississippi State and Texas A&M, and LSU will find themselves in the top four with something to prove.

Honorable Mentions:

Michigan- Current record: 6-1 Projected record: 10-2

After a hard-fought loss to a solid Notre Dame team, Michigan still looks promising. They are second in the Big 10 East with some solid victories under their belt. However, with their game against Ohio State coming from a rivalry that has favored the Buckeyes the last few years, Michigan’s season will likely end in a bowl game out of the playoffs.

Georgia- Current record: 6-1 Projected record: 10-2

Georgia is an extremely strong team with a really strong schedule. With the constantly improving SEC, their conference gets more difficult each year. This both benefits and harms them. With conference wins help prove their strength of schedule which makes them look better, but any losses will hurt them big time. They have a chance to win out, but with their next three games coming against three powerful SEC teams, it is likely they will suffer another loss that will keep them out of the playoffs.