And then there will four, at least according to the CFP Committee.
College Football Playoffs
Three of the four were basically shoe-in picks. Alabama was in an unfamiliar role as the surprise choice by the committee. Though in reality, there’s never been a college football playoff without Bama, so maybe they felt obligated.
There’s a lot of folks with their drawers in a wad over the Alabama pick. Ohio State really felt like they deserved the selection with their conference championship win over undefeated Wisconsin. And I’m sure there’s a few Badgers arguing that they should have had it, after all they only lost to Ohio State who at least won their conference; unlike Alabama recording a loss to Auburn who lost the championship game…which yes, pains my heart to say.
Not one undefeated team in the CFP this year.
If we are ranking the losses, I’m a bit shocked that Georgia isn’t ranked above Clemson and Oklahoma. Losses to Syracuse and Iowa State are ugly. Georgia’s only loss was to the team they played in the SEC championship game, my Tigers from the Plains of Alabama. Alabama shares the mutual loss which caused them to miss the SEC championship game yesterday in Atlanta.
Ohio State lost to Oklahoma and Iowa. They also played teams like Army, UNLV, Rutgers, Maryland and Illinois. Forgive me, I just don’t see those wins as comparable to wins over programs like Georgia and Alabama. Sure, Auburn lost one game they should not have, LSU. And I know the Tigers wish they could have that one back for sure. But the only other loss the Tigers recorded was to Clemson at the beginning of the season, the reigning National Champion. If you want to argue strength of schedule, Auburn notching wins over Alabama were pretty key. As a whole, the SEC was down this year. Mississippi State floundered, Ole Miss was a train wreck, Tennessee barely fielded much more than a flag football team, Arkansas should have set this season out and Florida fell apart as well. LSU showed a little life and A&M had some good moments, but this year’s conference was not near what they have been in the past. That being said, SEC wins still seem more credible than wins over Rutgers and UNLV.
Don’t think strength of schedule matters?
Ask UCF about that. They are the only undefeated team in the top 25 and they are all the way down at number 10. Wins against Austin Peay, SMU, UCONN, East Carolina, Temple, USF and Maryland just don’t thrill the committee, never have, never will.
Bring on the Bowl Games
For what it’s worth, I think Auburn will cream them in the Peach Bowl and strength of conference will make a lot more sense to the critics.
Speaking of bowl games…there’s some good matchups coming and here are my picks:
AUBURN over UCF
PENN STATE over Washington
MIAMI over Wisconsin
USC over Ohio State
LSU over Notre Dame
LOUISVILLE over Mississippi State
MEMPHIS over Iowa State
TEXAS A&M over Wake Forest
NC STATE over Arizona State
OKLAHOMA STATE over Virginia Tech
FLORIDA STATE over Southern Mississippi
TEXAS over Missouri
WEST VIRGINIA over Utah
As for the College Football Playoffs:
GEORGIA over Oklahoma
CLEMSON over Alabama
Clemson wins it all again this year.
Truth be told, I could see Saban’s boys being mad enough to beat the Tigers, but I’m going with Brent Venables defense destroying Jalen Hurts. Oklahoma could sneak up on Georgia, but I think Kirby Smart will have that Bulldog defense ready for Baker Mayfield. And honestly, I just don’t like the kid so I’ll always root against him.
The Heisman Race, does character matter anymore?
Speaking of Baker, the Heisman race is winding down, here’s my thoughts:
The “experts” are saying the Heisman is already Baker’s…which is so disappointing to me. Character has to matter at some point. Lamar Jackson is having a better season this year than his Heisman winning season, but their team has been mediocre at best. At quarterback, numbers wise, it’s hard to doubt Baker. He’s had an absurdly good year, and winning a lot of games. There’s a strong contingency of running backs led by Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, who I really like. There’s also Standford’s Bryce Love who has basically rushed for 2000 yards on one good leg; and Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin, who is just a freshman, so odds are he’ll have another shot at the trophy. Kerryon Johnson deserves a look for the body of work he put up for Auburn at running back. If you leave character out of it, which apparently the Heisman voters will (queue the memories of Johnny Manziel winning), Baker gets the trophy this year.
The Coaching Carousel Continues
There are several teams preparing for the bowl games without their head coaches in place. The coaching carousel has been spinning and it’s been dizzying. Gus Malzahn signed a new 7 year deal with Auburn, reports are he will be making around 7 million a year. I’m excited for the Malzahn family. And he’s building something powerful there in Auburn. The Hogs are still searching, reports are they are now looking at Mike Norvell from Memphis. I’m not impressed. 9-2 with wins over Louisiana-Monroe, Southern Illinois, UCONN, Tulane, Tulsa and SMU do nothing for me. If the Razorbacks are looking at that they should have just kept Bret Bielema. I’m not sure who I want in Fayetteville if it’s not going to be Malzahn. I love the idea of Brent Venables, the DC of Clemson, but I think they are coaches in waiting there. Dabo is waiting for Saban to retire to return to Alabama and then Venables gets to take over the helm of Clemson. Bob Stoops is unemployed. Les Miles is weird as hell, but he’s available if Tennessee doesn’t get him. Which by the way, props to Tennessee for bringing Phil Fulmer in as the AD, stellar move, I love that guy! Art Briles is still on unemployment if you can look past the transgressions of his Baylor days. Charlie Strong use to be an assistant at Arkansas. Just saying, there are names out there that are worth more looks than Norvell.
All that being said, I’m sad college football regular season is over, it’s seriously my most favorite time of year. I’m sad my Tigers didn’t get it done in Atlanta yesterday and I’m sad my Hogs sucked all year. But better days are ahead, Auburn will be back, better than ever, and at least we are done with the Allen brothers under center in Fayetteville!
With that being said, one last time for the year, #WPS, #WDE, and #CLEMSO-N!
Photo Credit: College Football Playoff Facebook Page