Everyone has their opinion about the College Football Playoff. Whether it’s who should get in or how many teams participate, there are no shortages when it comes to comments. That’s what makes college football great. Even if it seems there are only a handful of teams that can realistically make the playoff, there’s always hope. Outside of the usual suspects, there aren’t many teams that are shoe-in picks for the postseason tournament, which should make for a great season. Whether it’s who you expect or complete chaos, the playoff’s going to be entertaining.
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TEAMS IN: Clemson, Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia
COMMENTS: If you’re an elitist, you most likely have the first three and then a number of options for the fourth. Clemson and Ohio State seem destined to meet again at some point, and Alabama won’t stay down for long. Georgia’s the trendy pick with Jamie Newman and JT Daniels joining the offense, but they’ll have their hands full within their own division. Oklahoma’s also considered right on the Dogs’ heels for the fourth spot.
TEAMS IN: Texas, Florida, Penn State, UNC
COMMENTS: All four have legitimate shots at making the playoff, but no one’s picking this combination. Texas must overcome Oklahoma. Florida must beat Georgia and then the SEC West winner. Penn State will try to dethrone Ohio State. North Carolina must stay out of its own way, navigate a tough non-conference schedule, and somehow overthrow Clemson. So while it’s unrealistic to expect these teams to make the playoff, it’s far from impossible.
TEAMS IN: Minnesota, USC, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech.
COMMENTS: Before you get all defensive about this not being realistic and not even worth talking about, have some fun. College football’s weird, but it’s what makes the sport so great. You’re limiting how much fun you can have watching it by only focusing on a handful of teams. All four of these teams can make a run at the playoff.
The Gophers are coming off of a 11-win season under PJ Fleck, and they’re returning elite talent like Tanner Morgan and Rashod Bateman. USC’s offense features a rising Kedon Slovis, and future NFL Draft picks in Tyler Vaughns and Amon-Ra St. Brown. Jimbo Fisher’s trying to show why Texas A&M paid him so much money, and he has a roster full of experience that can rise. Virginia Tech’s the biggest stretch, but Justin Fuente’s proven he can elevate a program to a level fans haven’t seen.
MY COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS
TEAMS IN: 1 Ohio State, 2 Clemson, 3 Oklahoma State, 4 Alabama
NATIONAL CHAMPION: Ohio State
COMMENTS: Yes, I’m buying in on the Cowboys more than I should, but oh well. No one saw Washington getting into the playoff in 2016, and there were even fewer that saw Michigan State getting a three seed in 2015.
Oklahoma State returns a ton of experience, and has a monstrous three-headed attack with Spencer Sanders, Chuba Hubbard, and Tylan Wallace. It just comes down to how they handle their schedule, and one loss could ruin that run. It’s tough to bet against the Buckeyes and Tigers, because it seems like they’re destined to make the playoff. Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields are two of the biggest names in the country, and they appear headed for a rematch of last year’s Fiesta Bowl semifinal.
Alabama’s in a weird place. 10-wins isn’t what anyone had in mind when the Tide hit the field last year, but it’s tough to account for Tua Tagovailoa’s injury. Mac Jones has big shoes to fill, but there’s too much talent on the roster for them to stay down for long. In the end, and when I have to pick months in advance, Ohio State is my pick as national champ. It’s a tough road for the Buckeyes, but they’re motivated to redeem themselves after last year.