On Sunday the College Football Playoff Committee announced the four teams that would be given the opportunity to compete for a national championship. Their decisions were much shaped by the conference championship games that were played the previous two days.
The number 1 Seed was LSU, a team that despite playing 5 nationally ranked opponents and a tough SEC schedule was able to come out of the season undefeated. Although earlier in the season they showed that they had the capability to be beat after wins by a touchdown or less vs. top 9 teams Alabama, Texas and Auburn, but many of these questions were answered during the SEC Championship game where LSU beat number 4 ranked Georgia in what was essentially an away game 37-10.
The 2 Seed was Ohio State who looked dominant against a variety of ranked teams throughout the season including routs vs Michigan State, Wisconsin and Michigan. It also had a tough victory over top-ten Penn State and a come-from-behind victory over Wisconsin in the Big 10 Conference Championship game. Their margin of victory and struggle over Wisconsin combined with LSU’s pure dominance was the reason why the Badgers slipped down to the number two spot.
The 3 Seed was Clemson who has come out of the ACC unbeaten despite a close one point victory over North Carolina that had the potential to derail their entire season. This past weekend they beat a ranked Virginia by a whopping 45 points and started to quell the noise around their weak schedule. That noise is validated as the ACC Coastal is actually less competitive than one of the group of five divisions and the ACC is the worst power 5 by far with only two ranked teams Clemson (3), Virginia (24). Their out of conference schedule was also a matter of discussion as their best win was a 14 point victory over a Texas A&M team that was early bowl eligible this season (7-5). They will be looking to stop this noise as the defending champs go up against Ohio State in battle of the undefeated.
The last team in was one that no one thought would have a shot to get in, but me, until the last day. Oklahoma is the 4 seed because of a crazy turn of events that no one saw coming. It all started out with a random loss from top ten ranked Oregon to Arizona State that dropped them out of the top ten. This changed the Pac-12 championship from a potential playin game to the Pac-12’s worst nightmare, a must win game for Utah to be considered to the final spot in the playoff, and this game was a very losable game for the Utes. The next domino to fall was then number 5 Alabama who fell Auburn in the Iron Bowl as their potential to keep their streak of not missing the playoff and chance to go not playing in the conference game ended. Then in the Pac-12 Championship Game, a strong Duck team, hungry to go to the Rose Bowl knocked of Utah by double digits and left the door wide open for the winner of the Big 12 Championship, a matchup of the 6 and 7 seeds to go to the playoff. Earlier in the season Oklahoma came back from over 20 points down to win over a then undefeated Baylor team and they matched up again this past weekend. This was an instant classic that went to overtime and gave Oklahoma, a team that had been counted out after a loss to unranked K-State, their ticket to the playoff.
Safe Bet: LSU 38 – Ohio State 28
Bold Prediction Ohio State 34- Oklahoma 31