Welcome back to another Playoff Picture! I don’t really have too much of an intro this week, but I will say I will gladly defend my rankings on twitter or email. Feel free to tweet the 4 Down twitter or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sugar Bowl (#1-#4)- Florida State vs. Ohio State
Are these the two most hated non-SEC programs in the country? Most people cannot stand Jameis and the Seminoles, because of Jameis’ off-the-field antics and Jimbo Fisher’s skeazy handling of Jameis. Nobody has ever liked Ohio State. They are kind of whiny. Urban is a little whiny. They also kind of fit in that Notre Dame category of all non-Big 10 fans believing that they are perpetually overrated. Most people will not like me ranking them here, but at the present moment, they deserve it.
Rose Bowl (#2-#3)- Alabama vs. Oregon
I still believe that one of the unfair things that happened in the last few years of the BCS was that we never got to see an Alabama vs. Oregon game. In the words of Chandler Bing, “Could these programs BE any different?” Alabama’s team mantra and personnel makeup resemble their elephant mascot. They are huge and like to play smashmouth football on both sides of the ball, although the offense is more balanced than people like to admit. Oregon is small, and runs the spread option. Their offense is much more outside the tackles, and to use the pejorative word, “finesse.” The jerseys are another source of evidence for their differences. Thanks to Phil Knight, the Ducks’ uniforms are “modern” “sheik” and “cutting edge”. Alabama’s are classic and “traditional.” Lastly, how different are the fanbases? Oregon is pretty liberal and hipster. Alabama fans aren’t liberal about anything. Period. Alabama fans say things like, “you give us our guns and you can keep the change.”
Orange Bowl- Mississippi State vs. Wisconsin
I’m not sure if the rules allow this, but I can’t find where they don’t. The Orange Bowl is obligated to take the second-highest SEC or Big 10 teams or Notre Dame. I’m not sure if they allow them to take both or not, but until I find otherwise I’ll assume they can. Wisconsin fans would love this. I’m pretty sure Miami is January is warmer than Wisconsin in July. There would be a fair amount of pastiness on South Beach that weekend though.
Fiesta Bowl- Baylor vs. Georgia
Has an SEC team ever played in the Fiesta Bowl when it wasn’t the national championship? I don’t believe so. There’s a first time for everything though, unless of course that thing doesn’t happen, in which case there isn’t a first time. This matchup holds intrigue because everybody always clamors that Big 12 teams (or insert any non-SEC conference) can’t handle the power running games of the best SEC teams. Georgia has the best power running game in the conference (even without Gurley, get well soon TG3), so this is the perfect opportunity to put that to the test. Also, I’m interested to see Georgia’s defense against the Baylor pass attack. Georgia’s defense is constructed to defend the pass with a solid secondary and defensive ends and linebackers that look more like power forwards.
Cotton Bowl- TCU vs. Ole Miss
If I were the head of the Cotton Bowl, this is the kind of matchup I’d want. My first hope would be to get a Texas team, and my next would be an SEC West team if possible. The only people in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area who wouldn’t be wild about this are the hotel owners. Ole Miss has a fair amount of students from the Dallas areas, so they would likely stay at home. TCU is also not a far drive from Arlington at all. Of course, it’s probably good that Arkansas isn’t just a little bit better or Jerry Jones would be working his magic to get his alma mater in the Cotton Bowl.
Peach Bowl- Georgia Tech vs. Marshall
The biggest loser of this year’s bowl season is probably going to be the Peach Bowl. If I’m a Peach Bowl executive, I’m pulling hard against Marshall for the rest of the season to try to get Colorado State into the Fiesta Bowl and free the Peach Bowl up for bigger and better matchups. The other thing to hope for is that the committee wants to let Rakeem Cato play in front of his home crowd in the Orange Bowl. I still believe the most likely scenario is Marshall to the Peach Bowl, and for now they get the dazzling triple option attack of the Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech. The best you can say about this game is that it does feature two solid quarterbacks in Cato and Tech’s Justin Thomas.
- Florida State
- Ohio State
- Mississippi State
T-9. Ole Miss
- Georgia Tech
- Michigan State
- Kansas State
- Arizona State
- Notre Dame
Note on Rankings: Teams are graded based on performance-to-date. I realize that this is biased towards a team like Georgia Tech that has played more games, however this will obviously naturalize at the end of the season. For instance, Georgia Tech has significantly less moving power than the teams behind it, because it has fewer games left. Baylor, on the other hand, has played one less game than the other one-loss teams, so it is skewed down a little bit but also has more moving power over the next few weeks.