Later on this evening, ESPN will host the showing of the year’s first rankings for the 2017 College Football Playoffs. At this point in the season, we’ve already seen every team lose at least one game except Alabama, Georgia, Wisconsin and Miami from the Power 5 and Central Florida from the Group of 6.
This week, I thought I would take a look at some of the teams that I think will be in the first four this week, as well as who I predict will end up playing in the four-team playoff, but first, it’s trivia time.
TRIVIA TIME: Which school has the most wins in FBS history? Answer below.
Everyone that I’ve talked to has Alabama leading the list of not only undefeated teams, but those looking to crash the party come January. The only thing not in their favor so far this season was beginning the year against Florida State. In what was thought to be, at the time, a potential playoff preview, the Seminoles now sit at 2-5 on the year aftering faltering when they lost their starting quarterback, Deondre Francois.
That was supposed to be the Tide’s signature win, but they do have victories over Texas A&M with three quality wins coming up in November: LSU on November 4, at Mississippi State on November 11 and at Auburn on November 25 in the Iron Bowl.
After that, there is the potential of running into my next team in the SEC Championship.
Outside of Athens, not many people thought Georgia would be undefeated and picking up a few first place voted in the coaches poll, especially after their starting quarterback, Jacob Eason, was knocked out and replaced by another Jacob, Jacob Fromm.
But at this point, they own arguably the best win in the nation to date, beating 7-1 Notre Dame in South Bend and have a second quality win over 6-2 Mississippi State. Georgia’s average margin of victory in SEC play is 32 points. Think about that for a second.
At what may come as a surprise to some, I have Notre Dame ranked third with the best one-loss resume in the nation by quite a bit. They’re fifth in the AP Poll, two spots behind 7-1 Ohio State and eighth in the USA Today Poll, behind the Buckeyes, Clemson and Penn State. However, other than its one-point loss to Georgia, the Irish have blown out everyone on their schedule, including 7-2 USC, 6-2 Michigan State and 6-2 NC State this past weekend.
Lastly, my fourth team is Clemson, and yes I’m an ACC fan and would like to see the Tigers get back to the playoffs to defend the title for the conference. But the numbers are also there to make a legit case for them.
Clemson has victories over No. 13 Virginia Tech and No. 16 Auburn, plus convincing wins over Louisville, Boston College, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech; four solid ACC opponents this year. The only team the Tigers have played that has a losing record is Kent State. Their only loss was by three points on the road against a 4-4 Syracuse team, and Clemson played most of that game without their starting quarterback, Kelly Bryant.
So, the big question now is who will actually be in for this year’s College Football Playoff?
Let me run one scenario by you that could spell doom for a few Power 5 conferences. There is a chance that an undefeated Alabama makes the playoff at 13-0, Georgia makes it at 12-1 Notre Dame makes it at 11-1, leaving one other bid to be split between the champions of the Big Ten, ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12.
And let’s not forget about Oklahoma, who’s 31-16 road win over Ohio State looks better and better. Or Ohio State, for that matter who just beat Penn State by one point Saturday evening at the Horseshoe. Or Penn State, who’s only loss is that same one-point game on the road.
There’s also undefeated Miami, who has made every game a chore, and Wisconsin who, let’s face it, hasn’t played anyone.
So how do I see it going down?
1. Alabama vs. 4 Ohio State
2. Notre Dame vs. 3 Clemson
Trivia Answer: The Michigan Wolverines with 946 wins all-time, followed by Notre Dame, Texas, Nebraska and Ohio State.