The playoff picture is getting nearer and nearer to simply being the playoff bracket every week. However, to suggest that it’s getting clearer would be a farce. With this week’s matchups, I’ll provide some insight to where I think teams will land, why I think that, and in some places a defense of my rankings and why I think the way that I do.
Sugar Bowl (#1-#4) Alabama vs. Florida State
I know most of you disagree with where I have these two teams ranked, but I stand by my rankings. Furthermore, if you truly believe Alabama should be one and Florida State should be four then isn’t this the outcome anyway? Anyway, I stand by what I believe about undefeated teams, and Alabama got bumped because they played an FCS opponent. Alabama will likely move up with a win in the Iron Bowl this week, of course with a loss they drop out of the playoff altogether.
Rose Bowl (#2-#3) Oregon vs. Ohio State
Ohio State seems to be the team, aside from Florida State, that no one wants in the playoff. Most think they don’t deserve to go. People cite the week 2 loss to 5-6 Virginia Tech at home as a reason why they shouldn’t go. One week. I realize in the grand scheme of things one week can mean the difference between playoff and not playoff, but when comparing teams with equal records that shouldn’t be the case. The total body of work is what the selection committee, and the population as a whole, should use. The truth is that the Buckeyes have been mighty impressive since that loss against good, average and bad teams.
Orange Bowl- Mississippi State vs. Wisconsin
Mississippi State fans would likely travel better to either the Cotton or Peach Bowl, but unfortunately for them the Orange Bowl gets first crack at the number two team in the SEC if they want it. I believe that the Orange Bowl will jump at the chance to take the Bulldogs, if available. State could still slip into the playoff, but as things stand today, I don’t believe that will happen. Wisconsin is a team that other people seem to disagree with me on, but ever since Stave has taken back the reins at quarterback they have been pretty hard to beat, as in it hasn’t happened yet. Badger fans are looking at a flight for any of these four games, so it might as well be to South Beach right? They can party with LeBro-oh never mind, sorry Heat fans.
Fiesta Bowl- Baylor vs. UCLA
UCLA is creeping back up into the national picture. I think the big question that needs to be asked concerning them is if a loss in the Pac-12 championship game would bump them out of this spot or would a win be enough to propel them into the playoff. My tendency is to think neither is true, barring some outsides events happening. Baylor, on the other hand, is still hoping for a playoff bid. That likely also won’t happen without help. The simultaneously best and worst thing that can happen for Baylor, besides them losing to Kansas State, is for TCU to lose to Texas. This would give them the Big-12 title outright, but it would also diminish their marquee win in the eyes of many.
Cotton Bowl- TCU vs. Michigan State
I must really have a thing for this Narduzzi vs. Patterson matchup. This is the third or fourth time I’ve projected this, and it seems like a legitimate possibility. If the Spartans beat Penn State on Saturday, then they are pretty much guaranteed to get one of these spots. I feel confident that it will be the Cotton or Fiesta Bowl, but an Orange Bowl berth could potentially happen. I firmly believe that an 11-1 TCU will play in the Cotton Bowl if they don’t get in to the playoff. If they do, then Baylor likely gets this spot. The Cotton Bowl should, and probably will, get a Texas team.
Georgia stays close to home, and Marshall gets the obligatory Group of Five slot, which it should lock up this Friday against Western Kentucky. This isn’t a very exciting matchup, but it is just the kind of game Georgia would lose. They have nothing to play for, and are widely anticipated to win big. I’m not saying they will lose, or that Marshall is better than they are, but Georgia is usually good for at least one baffling loss per season…or two…or three.
- Florida State
- Ohio State
- Mississippi State
- Michigan State
- Georgia Tech
- Kansas State
- Arizona State
- Ole Miss
- Colorado State