The second installment of the College Football Playoff will begin New Year’s Eve 2016. At this point there is no way of knowing who will be the four teams that make the playoffs. In the same vein as Bowl Championship Series seasons in the past, the search committee could have their hands full.
If the final half of the season is any indication of the first half of the season, the College Football Playoff selections could be as controversial as the teams selected last year. Just as last year, a lack of undefeated teams could make the selection committee buckle down and make decisions they seemed to try to avoid a year ago. ESPN’s slogan for the College Football Playoff has been, “Who’s In?” However, a better slogan may be, “Does Anyone Really Want In?” By the way some of the powerhouses have been playing, the answer looks like, “Not really!”
Ohio State Buckeyes
Let’s start with the defending National Champs. Ohio State looked poised to coast through their schedule this year en route to what was sure to be an easy choice for the College Football Playoff. They returned a ton of talent including not two but three quarterbacks that could start anywhere in the country. They were a consensus number 1 when the polls first came out.
At the moment, they are undefeated, but to say they look completely beatable is an understatement. They have had tough times with a couple of teams that should not even be on the field with them. They have found themselves behind in second half to both Northern Illinois and Indiana. The worst part of the schedule is still to come. They end the year with Michigan State and Michigan. Both teams are ranked, and a loss could keep the Buckeyes out of the College Football Playoff.
The SEC is thought to be the toughest conference in the country. For this reason, there is a very real possibility that they could find themselves outside of the College Football Playoff. Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, and LSU were all considered top 10 teams to begin the year. Just halfway through the season, only LSU is still without a loss. Georgia and Auburn are officially out, and Alabama is one loss away from being out as well.
Florida is one of the lone teams that have been a surprise, but they are in the far inferior Eastern half of the conference. They will need to go undefeated for the rest of the season and win the conference championship to have a shot at the College Football Playoff. The Gators have games remaining against LSU, Georgia, and Florida State. Undefeated seems unlikely.
Alabama can win out and still find themselves out of the championship game. The uncharacteristically sloppy five turnover game against Mississippi now has them hoping the Rebels slip up again. If they do not, Mississippi has the head-to-head win against Alabama, and the committee seems to frown on teams that do not even win their conference.
It is hard to believe that the Utes are in the driver seat for the PAC 12 Championship. They will have to go undefeated to have a shot at the College Football Playoff. Early season front-runners Oregon, Arizona State, USC, UCLA, and Stanford have all lost ugly. Some of these teams continue to lose. With every loss, Utah finds their strength of schedule diminish. Utah still has to play three of the previously mentioned teams. If they lose, the PAC 12 is most likely out of the College Football Playoff.
The list could go on and on of teams that just do not seem to want to be in the College Football Playoff. Notre Dame needed to win basically one road game at Clemson, and they couldn’t do it. Oklahoma couldn’t beat a pretty helpless Texas Longhorn team. TCU has had too many close calls. Michigan State barely gets past Purdue at home.
Regardless, this could make for a very interesting second half of the season. Who do you think is “in” the driver’s seat for the College Football Playoff? Let us know below.
[Photo by College Football Playoff Website]