We’re back with another playoff picture. You guys get a pre-Halloween treat though tonight, as the Selection Committee release their first rankings. So, as a means of comparison, I’ve included my top 25 at the bottom. Feel free to berate me for ranking your team too low all you want, I don’t really care. I’d love to hear your feedback, but this is pretty much how I see it at this point in the season.
Sugar Bowl (#1-#4)- Mississippi State vs. Oregon
Mississippi State stays at number one after holding on against Kentucky, and Oregon is the beneficiary of Ole Miss’ loss in Death Valley on Saturday night. This would be a high-scoring affair, as neither defense is particularly good, although I do believe that State’s pass rush would force Mariota to run around a little bit. Oregon’s defense has given up 30 or more points in four out of five games.
Rose Bowl (#2-#3)- Florida State vs. Auburn
This is a matchup I’ve been vying for for a few weeks now. As it stands now, I see these two teams rematching in Pasadena for the right to go to Arlington. Florida State was off after beating Notre Dame, and Auburn held on against South Carolina at home. Auburn fans hate Jameis (more than your average rape adversary). Florida State doesn’t necessarily hate Auburn that I’m aware of, but they are pretty much college football’s villains right now so they have to approach every game with that “target on the back” mentality.
Orange Bowl- Alabama vs. Kansas State
This wasn’t the matchup I wanted, but I couldn’t reconcile a way to fulfill the college football playoff rules, as far as conference/bowl game alignment, and put Alabama against Michigan State (Nick Saban’s former-former-former team) without also creating a Big-12 rematch. 2011 should serve as a reminder that, by and large, people hate rematches. So, we will see Alabama take on the Kansas State Wildcats. KSU will get to take on their second state of Alabama school for the season, and Alabama plays a game that might give the Iron Bowl loser a retrospective “transitive property win”. Side note: I hate the transitive property as it applies to football, but people insist on using it. Roll Snyde vs. Roll Tide
Fiesta Bowl- Baylor vs. Michigan State
I think I’ve written this one before, but if you write a playoff picture every week some things are bound to stay the same. As a matter of fact, I had an elementary school music teacher who was quoted as saying, “Some things should never change”. People in the South hate change, so maybe it would have been more fitting to put an SEC vs. ACC school rematch. Wait, what was that? I already did that? Oh, well I guess two things will never change. Baylor’s high-powered offense vs. Michigan State’s “no-fly zone” coverage defense. This one would be interesting for purveyors of the defense vs. offense wins championships debate.
Cotton Bowl-TCU vs. Ole Miss
TCU stays at home, roughly, for the 3rd consecutive week, but this time they get to play the SEC. Ole Miss would travel well to the Cotton Bowl, and this would be an interesting matchup. Ole Miss has the best defense in the SEC, and TCU exhausted their entire fireworks budget in one weekend, literally. TCU just got finished hanging 82 on Texas Tech. Ole Miss is solid at every aspect on defense.
Peach Bowl- Georgia vs. ECU
I think this is the third week in a row I’ve done this matchup as well. Really playing on that “some things should never change” theme aren’t I? Here’s the issue with the selection committee’s position for matching up these games. It’s stated in their agenda to create a “compelling matchup.” (That’s a pretty ironclad criterion right?). However, they also have to give a spot to a Group of Five champion, which is also by default an uncompelling matchup. So, the strategy is to keep them as close to home as possible and match them up with a team that is guaranteed to travel well. Hence, Georgia (who will travel exceptionally well to the Georgia Dome) will play ECU. Greenville, NC is much closer to Atlanta than any of these other cities, for anyone who is unaware.
1. Mississippi State
2. Florida State
5. Ole Miss
7. Kansas State
9. Michigan State
13. Notre Dame
14. Arizona State
17. Ohio State
20. West Virginia