With the College Football regular season coming to a close, and the conference championships scheduled for next weekend, it is time to look ahead and project which four teams will make the final cut for the playoffs.
When the College Football Playoff committee announces their rankings Tuesday evening, here is how I think it will shake out:
- Ohio State 12-0
- LSU 12-0
- Clemson 12-0
- Georgia 11-1
- Utah 11-1
- Oklahoma 11-1
- Baylor 11-1
- Alabama 10-2
Of the four teams, I think Ohio State and LSU are locks in the playoffs no matter if they lose their conference championship game (which I don’t see happening). A few think Georgia can beat LSU in the SEC Championship game but the Tigers can score and the Bulldogs have struggled to put points on the board. A case in point, Georiga played Texas A&M in Athens last week and won 19-13. LSU played Texas A&M yesterday in Baton Rouged and won 50-7. I think LSU beats Georgia by 7 or more points.
As for the #3 team in the rankings, Clemson, I don’t see them losing to Virginia in the ACC Championship game. So pencil them in for the #3 seed.
So this means that if Georgia loses to LSU in the SEC Championship game, the #4 seed may be up for grabs. So here are the candidates:
- Georgia – Even if they lose in the SEC Championship game, they could still remain at #4 if they lose by a small margin. But a loss more than likely pushes them below a one loss Big 12 Championship game winner.
- Utah – They would need to beat the Oregon Ducks in the Pac 12 Championship to have a chance. A loss and they are out of the running because they would be a 2 loss team that didn’t win their conference championship just like Georgia in my predicted scenario. I think if Utah does win the Pac 12 championship game, and Georgia loses to LSU, they will be the #4 seed. What is my best guess? I think Utah beats Oregon. But truthfully, that game could go either way.
- The Baylor or Oklahoma Big 12 Championship game winner – The Big 12 Champion has a shot at #4 provided that Georgia loses in the SEC Championship game. It becomes a little iffy if Utah wins the Pac 12. It may come down to margin of victory. If Utah squeaks out a win and either Baylor or Oklahoma blows out another, I think the committee will opt for the Big 12 champion. My prediction is that Baylor will win the rematch game vs Oklahoma by a small margin. Oklahoma will be the favorite but I don’t feel that they have played well down the stretch. Baylor really should have beat them in their initial meeting.
Overall, this is my best guess on the final College Football Playoff rankings:
- Ohio State 13-0
- LSU 13-0
- Clemson 13-0
- Utah 12-1
- Baylor 12-1
And now here are my predictions for the playoffs
#4 Utah 12-1 vs #1 Ohio State 13-0 – Ohio State should roll to an easy victory. In my opinion, the only team that has a chance of beating Ohio State is LSU.
#3 Clemson 13-0 vs #2 LSU 13-0 – Although I think Clemson gets dinged nationally for playing in a weak ACC conference this year, I do think they are a quality team. However, I don’t see them getting past LSU. They both had a common opponent in Texas A&M and Clemson beat the Aggies 24-10 whereas LSU beat them 50-7.
So then it would come down to #2 LSU 14-0 vs #1 Ohio State 14-0 in the championship. That would be one helluva matchup and probably the one that most of America wants to see. Both of these teams can boat race up and down the field offensively. My guess right now is that Ohio State would be the favorite. However, note that the game will be played in the Super Dome in New Orleans. So I expect the crowd to have a majority of LSU fans and that will shave down the point spread.
My early prediction: I think Ohio State wins by a field goal. But you will want to look at the injury report and what players, if any, are opting to sit out of the game and not risking injury for the NFL draft.