By Jack Beck ’18
The final full weekend of the regular season has provided the college football word with a dramatic finish and an interesting situation for the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. With only a few conference championship games left to be played this upcoming weekend, all eyes are pointed towards the Committee and which four teams will ultimately be selected to go to the third annual College Football Playoff.
The current playoff standings are as follows: Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Washington, Michigan, Wisconsin, Penn State, Colorado, Oklahoma and the top ten is finished off by Oklahoma State. Below I will go through my predictions for the final College Football Rankings and who will be moving on to the College Football Playoffs.
Alabama (12-0) has been ranked first in the playoff standings all year and nothing should change if they can beat 15th ranked Florida in the SEC championship. Lead by true freshman, Jalen Hurts, Alabama looks to continue their 19 game win streak that has occurred over the past two years. With a win, Alabama will be a lock for the first seed in the 2016 College Football Playoff.
Clemson (11-1) will play 23rd ranked Virginia Tech for the ACC Championship. With Quarterback and Heisman front-runner Deshaun Watson leading the tigers along with many other first round prospects, Clemson is ready to move onto bigger and better things. If Clemson can win this game, which they are heavily favored to do, they will be a lock for the playoffs in my mind should be ranked the second seed. However, there is a chance that with a win they will drop to third rank, but this just depends on the other games.
The final two seeds have sparked discussion and arguments among committee members, sports analysts and passionate fans. Some believe that winning a major conference championship should guarantee a spot in the playoffs, while others think that championship or no championship, if you have the best record against the best teams you should have a spot in the playoffs.
With my third seed, I am going with the Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2). Although they do have two losses this year, I believe that with a win this weekend versus Wisconsin and securing the Big Ten Championship, they deserve to be in this playoff. They are playing their best football right now and arguably the best football in the country. However, if they lose to Wisconsin, then there is a very slim chance they will be considered.
And with the fourth and final seed, I am going with another conference champion with the Washington Huskies (11-1). With a win this weekend against 8 ranked Colorado will have a 4-1 record against top 25 ranked teams, and their one loss came against one of the hottest teams in the country, USC. Washington Quarterback, Jake Browning, is looking to continue his dominance of the College Football world, and further his argument for the Heisman. Similar to Penn State, if Washington loses to Colorado in the Pac-12 Championship, then they will most likely not make the playoffs.
There are other teams who some people say might deserve the playoffs more than any of these four teams. Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State, the other members of the Top Ten are all being considered for the playoffs.
Ohio State not being in the playoff will cause a big discussion and argument in the sports world. After a win versus Michigan, many people think Ohio State has the resumé to be the playoffs, but don’t forget that they did lose to Penn State 6 weeks ago and was not able to play in the Big Ten Championship.
Although having a great second season with Harbaugh, Michigan just didn’t get enough wins to make the playoffs. They needed to either beat Ohio State this past week, or have beaten Iowa, who they lost to 3 weeks ago.
Colorado (10-2) has a good record and has lost to two ranked teams, which makes them look good to the committee. However, they just haven’t had enough good wins to prove themselves to be a playoff team.
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are very similar in talent and record, however the Big 12 does not have championship game which has proven to hurt the top teams in their conference.
This year is different than the past few years of the College Football Playoff. There truly are eight teams that are championship caliber teams, which makes this decision even harder for the committee. I, along with all of the other college football fans, hope to see the four best teams rightly chosen for the 2016-2017 College Football Playoffs.