Harrington Gardiner | Contributing Writer
In the last game of the regular season we’ve now gotten the chance to see who are the contenders and the pretenders of the college football playoffs. There are multiple teams contending for that fourth and final spot in the college football playoff to compete for a national title but, the college football committee decides who gets in based off of wins, losses and strength of schedule for certain teams that are contending. Let’s take a look at who has the best chance of getting in and who falls short of the playoff.
- (1) Alabama Crimson Tide (12-0) : In-Lock
Well it’s not a shock that Alabama is once again a strong contender for the national title. The defending champions are led by arguably the best coach in the history of college football in Nick Saban. He has done a superb job of coaching this team over the past few years and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has made this offense as explosive as ever. Alabama is coming off of a rivalry win the “Iron Bowl” against Auburn in which they won 30-12. Alabama’s offense is impressive this year but their defense never disappoints. Alabama hasn’t given up a touchdown in the whole month of November as they have plenty of momentum going against the Florida Gators in the SEC championship game. Defeating everyone in their path, the Crimson Tide are a lock for the playoffs and is the only team in the SEC that will make an appearance.
- (2) Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1): In-Lock
Despite their upset loss to Penn State, Ohio State has faced a pretty tough schedule and has responded well against ranked teams such as Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and a win against their arch rivals Michigan in a double overtime thriller. Head Coach Urban Meyer has taken this team to success every year since he’s been hired as the Buckeyes coach. JT Barrett has driven this Ohio St team all year long. After a stacked nfl ready bunch with Ezekiel Elliott, Eli Apple and Joey Bosa left for the draft, many thought that Ohio St would fall short of this years Playoffs but they’ve proved doubters wrong by playing underrated defense and putting points up on the board. Many think Ohio St is the only challenge to Alabama’s this year given their very impressive win vs a great Michigan defense. There is a possibility that there could be two teams from the Big Ten getting in the playoff depending on the result of the Big Ten championship. Ohio St isn’t a lock but they have a good chance of getting in because of their wins against ranked teams throughout the year.
- (3) Clemson Tigers (11-1): In-Lock
It’s not easy playing in the ACC where there are so many teams that can spoil your run of getting in the playoffs. This year Clemson is working on getting back to the National Championship game and winning it this time but it won’t be easy this year. They’ve had to face tough competition within their conference and play very underrated teams. They’ve responded well and there certainly isn’t a question about their strength of schedule. They played a very tough Louisville team that was ranked within the top 5 early in the year led by the emergence of Heisman favorite QB Lamar Jackson. They did win that game and it was a classic between two Heisman hopeful QB Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson. They did lose a close game to Pittsburgh and many thought Louisville would get in the playoffs instead of Clemson but Louisville lost two more games and that gave Clemson more leverage. I think Clemson is a lock because of strength of schedule, a head to head win vs Louisville and nobody else in the ACC is eligible to compete for a Playoff Spot.
- (4) Washington (11-1): Out / (9) Colorado (10-2) Out
I know what you’re thinking , Washington is in the top 4 so why are they out? Well there are other teams competing for a playoff spot and also the college football committee does not respect the PAC-12. Despite both successful seasons from Washington and Colorado the PAC-12 is full of relatively weak teams. Sure wins against Stanford and a Utah are impressive but how does Washington and Colorado fair against teams like Alabama or Clemson or even Ohio St especially after a loss to USC? Their weak conference may be the reason why they both could get left out get this year regardless of the winner for the PAC-12 title game. I think there are other teams outside the top 4 that deserve to get in and have had a tougher road such as Wisconsin and Penn St.
- (6) Wisconsin (10-2): Out / (8) Penn State (10-2): In
With the PAC-12 being so weak there is a good possibility that there could be two teams from the Big Ten within the top 4. Wisconsin is first in the Big Ten west and Penn State is first in the Big Ten east so the winner will most likely get that 4th and final spot. The reason why I think Penn State will get in is because I think Penn State will win the Big Ten title game. They have a good defense and an underrated offense and James Franklin has definitely turned this program around after years of sanctions against the Penn State program. At 10-2 Penn State has had impressive wins including against Ohio St. Even though No.5 Michigan beat both Penn State and Wisconsin, they still sit at third in the Big Ten east and don’t have proper positioning to get in. When it’s all said and done two teams from the Big Ten will make it and it will be Ohio State and Penn State.