Well, the regular college football season has come to an end and that sucks. But luckily for all of us football fans, it means that the conference championship games are upon us, as well as the College Football Playoff. Unlike last year, the Playoff Committee is going to have their hands full as they try to make their selections. There’s only one team that’s a guaranteed to get a bid, and other than that the other three spots are kind of up for grabs. I, personally am glad that I’m not a part of the committee because I would never want that type of responsibility, but if I did happen to be a member, here are the four teams that would have my vote to get into the College Football Playoff:
This is the only team that is guaranteed to get a bid in my opinion, regardless of if they win the SEC Championship or not on Saturday. They’ve been the best team all season, beaten seven ranked teams on their schedule (including four in a row at one point), and for the most part haven’t really been tested all season. I think that they’re going to roll through Florida on Saturday and will be the first team to punch their ticket into the playoff.
2. Ohio State
I’m well aware that they aren’t playing for their conference title, but I just don’t think there’s any way that the committee doesn’t vote in Ohio State. With the exception of their lone loss to Penn State (more on them later), they’ve beaten three top ten teams this year and have been pretty dominant for most of the year. They’re one of the biggest programs in all of college football with one of the biggest fanbases, and the committee knows that they’ll draw more viewers than others (Washington, for example) would. I also think if they met Penn State on a neutral field that they’d beat the living crap out of them.
This all changes if they lose the ACC Championship game, but because I don’t think they’ll have any problem with Virginia Tech this weekend, the Clemson Tigers will also get a bid to the College Football Playoff. They aren’t as good as they were last year, when they lost the National Championship to Alabama, but they’ve been one of the best teams all season, and the thought of a potential rematch with Alabama would draw a ton of viewers. The ACC may not be one of the best conferences in College Football, but going 12-1 with a conference championship title is almost a lock to get you in, especially if you’re one of the biggest programs in the sport with one of its best players in DeShaun Watson.
4. Winner of the Big Ten Championship Game
This one’s a bit of a hot take and there’s a good chance that I’m probably wrong about this, but whatever. This is my prediction, not yours, so take a hike. Do I think Penn State and Wisconsin are two of the best four teams in all of college football? No, no I do not, but the fact of the matter is that the Big Ten is the best conference in the league, and I think that the winner of the conference deserves to be rewarded accordingly. And going back to the fanbase discussion, I think that the committee realizes that both Penn State and Wisconsin have much bigger followings than Washington does, which would draw way more viewers than any of the other programs vying for the final playoff spot. I don’t feel as confident with this pick as I do with the others, but I just can’t see how Ohio State would get in and the winner of the Big Ten Championship game wouldn’t.
As it currently stands, Washington is ranked ahead of both Penn State and Wisconsin in the College Football Playoff Rankings, so if they win the Pac 12 Championship there’s a really good chance that they will get in. I wouldn’t have any problem with that whatsoever because conference champions should be rewarded with a playoff birth, but I think with the voters wanting to get Ohio State in, the Huskies may be the team that is left out. We have to wait and see how the championship games play out and I think it will be fascinating to see who the committee votes in. Stay tuned.