Almost everyone looks forward to college football’s rivalry week. It is the week where all in-state rivals get to play each other and claim dominance of the sport for their school — at least until next season. However, with teams being selected for the first ever College Football Playoffs, rivalry week took on a whole new meaning on Saturday.
As Sports Illustrated reported, Saturday’s college football results probably won’t change the top three spots in the playoff race. Currently, the top three teams likely to be in the playoffs are Alabama, Oregon, and Florida State. Each of these teams won on Saturday, although both Alabama and Florida State had tough times with their in-state rivals, Auburn and Florida, respectively. No. 2 Oregon had an easier time with Oregon State, winning their game 47-19.
Unlike the top three spots, the No. 4 slot now seems to be available for another team to get into the playoff picture. This slot had been held by Mississippi State, but their in-state rival, Ole Miss, beat them Saturday by a score of 31-17. One of the criteria being used to chose the teams for the College Football Playoffs will be strength of schedule, so the decision about the fourth team to make the playoffs will be interesting.
It isn’t as easy as moving up No. 5 TCU up to No. 4 because there are other one-loss teams that may have had a stronger schedule than the Big 12 team from Texas. TCU plays Iowa State next week, a game they should easily win, and a win may help cement their chances to be picked as the fourth team in the playoffs. However, don’t lock any teams in until after next week’s games.
According to ESPN, each of the three top contenders for the College Football Playoffs will face tough opponents. No. 1 Alabama will face No. 17 Missouri for the Southeastern Conference championship next week in Atlanta. The Missouri Tigers have had a very good season and they cemented the SEC East title by defeating Arkansas 21-14 in the game played on Friday.
Oregon will meet up with No. 11 Arizona for the Pac-12 championship in Santa Clara, CA, which is a neutral field for the game. Although Arizona may not have a shot at filling the fourth slot in the playoffs, they can kick Oregon out of them with a defeat. The Ducks have only lost one game all season and that happened to be to Arizona on October 2, 31-24.
No. 3 FSU will meet No. 16 Georgia Tech for the Atlantic Coast Conference championship. FSU had to scramble to make it past Florida after their reigning Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Jameis Winston, threw four interceptions. The Yellow Jackets are no pushover as they defeated their in-state rival, No. 9 Georgia, on Saturday 30-24.
As the Inquisitr reported, this college football season has not had a dominating team with all of the top teams having tasted defeat at least once. The four inaugural College Football Playoff teams will be announced next Sunday, December 7.
[Image courtesy of USA Today]