Expect a wild conclusion to yet another great college football season

December 2, 2022

There is nothing quite like waking up at 9 a.m. in the morning on a Saturday and turning on the TV to watch College GameDay. Nothing is as electric as watching Lee Corso put on the mascot head of his predicted winners of the day.

Sadly, this feeling comes to an end as soon as the season winds down, but nevertheless, the much-anticipated college football playoff looms closer.

This is the ninth year that the college football playoff has been instituted into college football. Every year, four teams are selected by a committee into a playoff consisting of 3 games until one team remains. 

The Alabama Crimson Tide leads the way with seven total appearances and have won 3 championships. Despite this pristine track record, the Crimson Tide currently have a longshot of making it in as the rankings are currently the following (updated 12/01):

Rankings:

  1. Georgia Bulldogs (12-0)                                  14. Florida State Seminoles (9-3)
  2. Michigan Wolverines (12-0)                         15. Oregon Ducks (9-3)
  3. TCU Horned Frogs (12-0)                               16. Oregon State Beavers (9-3)
  4. USC Trojans (11-1)                                              17. UCLA Bruins (9-3)
  5. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1)                           18. Tulane Green Wave (10-2)
  6. Alabama Crimson Tide (10-2)                      19. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-4)
  7. Tennessee Volunteers (10-2)                        20. South Carolina Gamecocks (8-4)
  8. Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2)                  21. Texas Longhorns (8-4)
  9. Washington Huskies (10-2)                          22. UCF Knights (9-3)
  10. Clemson Tigers (10-2)                                      23. UTSA Roadrunners (10-2)
  11. LSU Tigers (9-3)                                                    24. North Carolina Tar Heels (9-3) 
  12. Utah Utes (9-3)                                                     25. Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4)
  13. Kansas State Wildcats  (9-3)

Prediction:

 The top 4 after Conference Championship Saturday will look like the following:

  1. Georgia    13-0
  2. Michigan 13-0
  3. USC          12-1
  4. TCU          12-1

Next Saturday, the college football playoff committee will have an extremely tough and stressful decision to make if TCU does, in fact, lose their Big 12 Championship game.

Ultimately, however, TCU will still get the nod over the Buckeyes considering they have already beaten Kansas State and would have the same number of losses as Ohio State. Ohio State also just got blown out by Michigan, a team that is currently in the college football playoffs.

 The committee will want to change it up and give a team like TCU, who has never made the playoffs, over a team that constantly makes the playoffs. 

If, in the end, these are the four teams that remain standing , Georgia and Michigan’s defensive, hard-nosed style of football will be too much, and they will both easily handle TCU and USC. This sets up a rematch of last year’s semi final between Georgia and Michigan, a game in which the Bulldogs demolished the Wolverines by a score of 34-11.

No college football team has been able to win back-to-back championships since the 2011-2012 Crimson Tide, and this streak will not end as Jim Harbaugh will have officially brought a championship to Ann Arbor Michigan. 

Whether or not this storybook ending for the Michigan Wolverines happens or not, these next two weeks of games should deliver with the never-ending craziness that is college football.

College Football Playoffs: Who made the cut?

While many teams will be on the edges of their seats come selection sunday, few have their spots safely secured.

If the season ended today, the college football playoff would consist of Georgia, Michigan, TCU and USC.

This season, the Georgia Bulldogs have been dominant. Led by a ferocious defense, they have allowed 11.1 ppg which ranks as the least points allowed by a defense.

Their offense is led by twenty-five-year-old senior quarterback, Stetson Bennet, who arsenals an offense that ranks top ten in yards per game, while also scoring an average of 38.4 points per game.

The Bulldogs play no slouch schedule either as they hold big time wins over Tennessee and Oregon. The Bulldogs spot is all but locked up as they face the eleventh ranked LSU Tigers. 

Coming off a huge win against their arch rivals (Ohio State) and the previously ranked third team in the nation, the Michigan Wolverines, Georgia has all but secured their spot in the college football playoffs. Michigan despite not having a Heisman contending running back, Blake Corum still stuck it to the Buckeyes’ defense.

The Michigan Wolverines stormed the field getting ready to take on their rivals, Ohio State. (Creative Commons)

The Wolverines rushed for 252 yards led by running back Donovon Edwards who broke away for 75- and 85-yard touchdowns. The Wolverines also continued their elite, defensive play, holding the Buckeyes’ explosive offense to three points in the second half.

The Wolverines await the Purdue Boilmakers in the Big Ten Championship, but no matter the outcome it is expected the Wolverines will hold a spot in the playoffs after huge wins over Penn State and Ohio State.

While the Bulldogs and Wolverines both have their spots all but locked up, these next two spots both depend on how next Saturday’s championship games play out.

The TCU Hornfrogs are currently in the college football playoff. This is not a joke. Before the season began, the Hornfrogs were not even ranked in the AP Poll; they now hold their own destiny in their hands.

The Hornfrogs currently hold a record of 12-0 with ranked wins over Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. TCU averages 41.3 points per game, the fourth highest in all of college football. They face off against Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship which would all but secure their spot.

Lastly the University of Southern California Trojans have had their program rejuvenated. This is mostly due to last offseason when former Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley brought his Quarterback, Caleb Williams, with him when he joined the team. Caleb Williams is currently the nation’s Heisman front-runner with 34 touchdown passes.

The Trojans took full advantage of the transfer portal bringing in Blietnikoff award-winner Jordan Addison and Oregon running back Travis Dye. Both additions have been key pieces to the offense. With their help, the Trojans have put together an impressive campaign of 11-1.

The Trojans earned big time wins over Notre Dame as well as UCLA which has propelled them into their current placement. However, there is no certainty with this football team. Their upcoming rematch against Utah, their only loss, is a must win for their journey to the college football playoffs. 

This Saturday, all eyes will be on the conference championship games as they will make or break seasons. What will happen if TCU and USC falter?

Teams that still could possibly make it into the College Football Playoff

While their chances are not high, there are still teams that could make it into the playoffs. The two main teams include the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Despite losing to Michigan, Ohio State still has one of the premier offenses in all of college football as they possess a Heisman candidate in CJ Stroud and one of the top receivers in all of college football, Marvin Harrison Jr. This offense has propelled them to a great season with only one loss. If TCU, or more specifically, one-loss USC slip up in their championship games, Ohio State will most likely be back in the playoff mix. 

The Alabama Crimson Tide is often referred to as one of the best college teams there are. But oh, how the mighty have fallen. The Crimson Tide looks to make history as the first two-loss team to make the college football playoffs, and all they can do is sit back and watch everything unfold. Alabama is currently 10-2 with losses to LSU and Tennessee. Alabama would need a miracle to even come close to the college football playoffs. They would most likely need USC to lose and TCU to get absolutely throttled by Kansas State. Although it may be a long shot, never count out the committee’s SEC bias.

However both teams still pose a threat at making the playoffs, if an opening does show up for one of these teams, expect Ohio State to slip in rather than Alabama. Not only does Ohio State hold a stronger record, they also lost to a team that is already in the playoffs while Alabama has lost to teams barely in the top 10.

Prediction on who will make the College Football Playoffs

There are many different combinations that can make up this year’s playoffs but I am confident that one certain combination will top the other.

 The top 4 after Conference Championship Saturday will look like the following:

Stetson Bennett scans the field, looking to connect with a Georgia wide receiver for a first down. (Creative Commons)
  1. Georgia    13-0
  2. Michigan 13-0
  3. USC          12-1
  4. TCU          12-1

Next Saturday, the College Football Playoff committee will have an extremely tough and stressful decision to make if TCU does, in fact, lose their Big 12 Championship game.

Ultimately, however, TCU will still get the nod over the Buckeyes considering they have already beaten Kansas State and would have the same number of losses as Ohio State. Ohio State also just got blown out by Michigan, a team that is currently in the College Football Playoffs.

 The committee will want to change it up and give a chance to a team like TCU, who has never made the playoffs, over a team that constantly makes the playoffs. 

If, in the end, these are the four teams that remain standing , Georgia and Michigan’s defensive, hard-nosed style of football will be too much, and they will both easily handle TCU and USC. This sets up a rematch of last year’s semi final between Georgia and Michigan, a game in which the Bulldogs demolished the Wolverines by a score of 34-11.

No college football team has been able to win back-to-back championships since the 2011-2012 Crimson Tide, and this streak will not end as Jim Harbaugh will have officially brought a championship to Ann Arbor Michigan. 

Whether or not this storybook ending for the Michigan Wolverines happens or not, these next two weeks of games should deliver with the never-ending craziness that is college football.

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