Big Natural’s FINAL College Football Playoff Projections
Last year, I painted a pretty clear picture of why college football needs an eight-team playoff. I stand by that argument – eight is the way…no more, no less. So, I’ve started a new weekly column looking at what the College Football Playoff would look like under my format. I think it’s a reasonable way to determine a National Champion without leaving deserving candidates out, but making sure everyone has an equal chance to get in. With that said, let’s dive right in to my weekly College Football Playoff projections…
So, this is it – this is what the playoff teams would look like for 2017 under my format…
BIG NATURAL’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PROJECTIONS
1. Clemson Tigers (ACC Champion) – The Tigers are the committee’s #1 team, but I think I’d put Georgia in this spot. That said, I figured once Clemson was announced as #1 going into the weekend, they’d end up there should the win the ACC. Not only did they win it, they dominated a good Miami Hurricanes squad.
2. Oklahoma Sooners (Big 12 Champion) – The Sooners definitively earned this spot with the best offense in college football and behind the Heisman frontrunner Baker Mayfield. They are one of the three teams that are unequivocally in this tournament, and could win it all.
3. Georgia Bulldogs (SEC Champion) – They have the “best loss” of any of the top three teams. They won arguably the best conference in football this year. Yet they’re behind teams that lost to Syracuse and Iowa State? I don’t get it. But, then again, they don’t ask my opinion. The Bulldogs earned it.
4. Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten Champion) – The committee was in a tough spot with Ohio State because of the precedent set with Penn State last season. That said, I think they are a National Championship caliber team. Ultimately, they couldn’t get over that nasty loss to Iowa.
5. USC Trojans (Pac-12 Champion) – I’m with the college football crew at ESPN. It’s insane that the Trojans weren’t more alive in the discussion for the actual playoff tournament. They’re as hot as anyone right now and deserve a shot as champions of one of the best conferences in college football.
6. Alabama Crimson Tide (Wild Card #1) – Is Alabama one of the four best teams in the country? Yeah, I think so. So does the CFP committee. Should the fact that they didn’t even play for a conference title be held against them? Sure! So, in this format, they’re “punished” with a road game.
7. Wisconsin Badgers (Wild Card #2) – I’ve said eight teams allows you to reward every team fitting every criteria. Want to reward a conference champion? Ohio State gets in. Want to reward total body of work? Alabama gets in. Want to reward regular season dominance? Wisconsin gets in.
8. UCF Golden Knights (Group of Five Representative) – They pulled ahead of San Diego State and South Florida midseason and never looked back. Their reward? The Peach Bowl against a damn good Auburn team. I say they deserve a shot at the National Championship, or there’s no point in playing any of their games. They won them all and still have no shot at the tournament.
So, that gives us…
(8) UCF at (1) Clemson
(7) Wisconsin at (2) Oklahoma
(6) Alabama at (3) Georgia
(5) USC at (4) Ohio State
Damn. Who wouldn’t want to see that? That’s a wrap on this column for 2017. I’m still a sad panda. Catch y’all next season.
Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD and #BeBetter. “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Alabama Crimson Tide football, the WWE, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley