It’s Tuesday and time for another Playoff Picture, and I have good news and bad news. The good news is that this is the last Tuesday without Selection Committee rankings. The bad news is this week’s Playoff Picture contains a lot of repeat matchups from either last week or earlier in the season. If this is your first Playoff Picture, or if you just need a general reminder, these are not my prediction. This is how I would vote for things if the season ended right now.
Sugar Bowl (#1-#4)- Florida State vs. Auburn
I know Mississippi State is still number one in all the polls, and it’s unfair to punish them for having a bye. However, if Mississippi St. can jump FSU for beating a top 5 opponent at home, then FSU can re-leap frog by doing the same. Besides, who doesn’t wanna see a BCS title rematch? Auburn fans hate Jameis Winston almost as much as anyone who loves justice or just general human decency. Also, many of you astute readers know what that leaves as the second semifinal…
Rose Bowl (#2-#3)- Egg Bowl
Egg Bowl rematch for the chance at all the marbles anyone? I love the idea. This will never happen. They won’t let two teams who played a month ago rematch in the playoffs (again at least). This would be incredible though. The state of Mississippi would implode. Haley Barbour may not be the governor of Mississippi anymore, but this game could respark some “Haley for President” momentum (as long as he doesn’t downplay the significance of “tar balls” again). This would be phenomenal for the state. I’m actually going to go on record and say this is my “thing that will never happen that I’ll still hope for on a daily basis.”
Orange Bowl- Alabama vs. Notre Dame
Alabama finally gave me a reason to put them back in the New Year’s Six. They skull drug Texas A&M, and if they could host the rest of their games (including potential SEC championship and playoff games) then they might win out. Unfortunately, they’ve looked very beatable on the road. We’ll put the Fighting Irish down in South Beach with the Tide for now and rematch yet another BCS title game. Catholics vs. Cousins round two.
Fiesta Bowl- Oregon vs. Baylor
As much as I wanted to put Kansas State here, I just couldn’t do it. KSU’s loss is better than Baylor’s, but the fact that it was at home is almost an equalizer. Baylor’s “signature win” also looks a little bit better than the Wildcats’ at this point in the season. Oregon stays in the BCS with the obligatory Pac-12 spot for now. The Pac-12 is slowly cannibalizing itself out of potential playoff spots. This one would be fun. Lots of fireworks. If you set the O/U for this game at 200, I can’t guarantee you that I would take the under.
Cotton Bowl- TCU vs. Michigan State
This one is the same as last week. Actually, strike that, two weeks ago. Two great defensive minds (three if you count D’Antonio and Narduzzi separately) going at it. The Spartans keep the obligatory Big 10 spot, but Ohio State is breathing down their necks. TCU keeps the momentum going by blowing out Oklahoma State. They showed that the defensive performance against Baylor was an outlier. They also may have showed that despite Saturday, Baylor is still really freaking god offensively. Also, I think the Cotton Bowl needs a Texas team. As a matter of fact, I’m proposing a New Year’s Six rule change. In non-semifinal years, the Cotton Bowl should guarantee a spot to the best team in the state of Texas.
Peach Bowl- Georgia vs. ECU
ECU keeps this spot, but their resume grows ever weaker and Marshall is starting to pick up steam. If Marshall wins out, which they will, then they will eventually overtake ECU for this spot and their isn’t a whole lot the Pirates can do about it. Georgia went full Chubb again this Saturday. He has carried the ball 68 times in two games. That’s unreal and completely unsustainable. He has to be praying harder than anyone else for a Gurley reinstatement, and Keith Marshall and Sony Michel to return from injury. Fortunately, he gets a week off to rest up for Florida.
Teams Who Can Play Their Way In
They should be in this week. They host Texas this week. If they keep winning then it’s just a matter of time.
Sneakily, Utah has one loss and plays USC at home this weekend. They’ve already beaten UCLA. Having wins against both L.A. teams would give them a huge leg up in the Pac-12 South.
Another one-loss Pac-12 team, they got embarrassed by a UCLA team that has looked shaky in most of their other games. They have a little ways to go to overcome that in the committee’s mind I think.
They’ve hammered every team they’ve played since losing to Virginia Tech. They are on the verge.
They’ll eventually go undefeated and get the Group of Five spot. Rakeem Cato is a very good college quarterback, not sure he projects well as a pro though, unfortunately.