First things first, congratulations to Notre Dame, which will almost certainly be selected to play in the College Football Playoff. Say what you will amount the strength of Notre Dame’s schedule, but they played 10 Power Five teams, seven of which are bowl eligible. It seems unlikely that the selection committee would rank two of the teams currently with one loss above the Irish, regardless of however Championship Weekend unfolds.
To fill out the rest of the four-team bracket, the College Football Playoff committee will likely elicit anger and create controversy. If we assume Alabama and Clemson win their respective conference championships (both are favored by double digits), then that leaves one spot available. The current frontrunners are Oklahoma and Ohio State, should they both win their respective conference title games. Oklahoma has looked more consistent all year, whereas Ohio State has both the most impressive and least impressive performances of the two teams. The Buckeyes beat top ten Michigan by 23, but lost to unranked Purdue by 29. Furthermore, Oklahoma would be able to avenge its only loss by defeating Texas in the Big XII title game, much like Georgia did last year. Speaking of the Dawgs, Georgia would miss the playoff if Alabama beats them in the SEC title game, but what if Georgia wins? Kirby Smart’s team would return to the playoff for the second straight year, but would the committee exclude a 12-1 Crimson Tide which has been kicking butt at a historic rate? Was Ohio State’s win over Michigan convincing enough that the committee will overlook the Purdue loss, as well as lackluster efforts against Nebraska (4-8) and Maryland (5-7)? Will the committee overlook Oklahoma’s defensive woes in favor of the Sooners’ offense, which is one of the best ever? In a season without much chaos, Ohio State’s beatdown of Michigan has completely altered the conversation around college football’s final four.
Voters: John Bray, Neil Brown, Shawn Digity, John Pearson, Matthew Ruskan, Michael Valacer, Justin Wagner