College Football Playoff Debate

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The College Football Playoff has been highly debated after the most recent rankings. Here is our take on who should be in after this weekend.

Rivalry week has come and gone, and there is a lot of chatter about who should be in and out of the recent College Football Playoff rankings. It is time to put all the pieces together and make a guess at how it all should play out.

The one team that cannot be questioned is Alabama. Nick Saban has led the Crimson Tide to another terrific season and will be the only team that has made the playoffs every year since its inception in 2014. Regardless of whether Bama somehow loses to the Florida Gators in the SEC Championship Game, they are in the playoffs. They are in, and personally, I believe no team in college football has a chance of beating this Alabama team.

After that, there are a ton of questions of who should be in or out. The three teams that will be joining Bama as of today are Ohio State, Clemson and Washington. Those three teams deserve the right to be there at this time. Things could look completely different after all the conference championship games are decided this weekend.

Ohio State is facing scrutiny because they are the only team that is not competing in a championship game. Their lone loss came against Penn State, who will represent the East division of the Big Ten Conference. That same division also features Michigan, who is currently sitting as the No. 5 team in the latest rankings. By virtue of the Buckeyes knocking off the Wolverines this past weekend to give them their second loss, they should have no chance of making the playoffs.

Michigan was in the discussion of making the playoffs all season long and was the No. 3 seed until their loss to Ohio State. OSU has been No. 2 for weeks. Why people think that a one-loss team should not be in the playoffs because they are not competing in the Big 10 Championship Game is beyond me.

Outside of Alabama, Urban Meyer has the second-best team in the country and they have proved it for much of the season. They have throttled the teams they need to beat – including our Maryland Terrapins – and have impressive wins over Michigan, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Wisconsin. Those four teams alone are all ranked in the top 25. Alabama is the only other team that can add that to their resume. There is absolutely no reason why they should be left out of the playoffs, regardless of the results this weekend.

That leaves us with the fight for the No. 3 and 4 spots. Again, I do believe that Clemson and Washington are the right teams in the current rankings. Both teams will compete in a conference championship game and must win to stay alive in the playoffs.

Clemson’s lone loss came against a Pittsburgh team that has four losses. And while Pitt currently sits in the Top 25, it should be considered a bad loss for the Tigers. It was a home loss in a game where they lead much of the contest. However, we cannot deny that DeShaun Watson and company are one of the most talented teams in college football. The wins over Lamar Jackson‘s Louisville team, as well as Florida State and Auburn are good wins for the Tigers. Unless they lose to Virginia Tech, they should square off against Ohio State in the playoffs.

Then, there is Washington, and you have to wonder why some people feel they are not deserving of a spot. Their only loss came against a Southern California squad that started the season slow, but has been awfully impressive as of late. On top of that, Jake Browning and the Huskies have not only won every other game, but have pounded most of their opponents. Their defense is not getting enough credit and neither is the entire Pac-12 Conference.

What is causing the debate is that some feel that the winner of the Big 10 Championship should be included in the playoffs. The winner has every right to be in the discussion should Clemson or Washington falter this weekend. The way I see it, if Wisconsin wins, they should get in. However, if Penn State is the winner, they have no business being in the playoffs.

Wisconsin’s two losses came at the hands of Michigan and Ohio State, two of the best teams in the nation. Both games were within a touchdown, but the Badgers do not have an explosive offense like most of the teams ahead of them. They play old-school football with a solid running game and defense.

Let me repeat, if Penn State wins, they should be left out, even if both teams ahead of them lose. The Nittany Lions do have an impressive win over the Buckeyes. This is also the same team that was on the receiving end of a 49-10 beat down by Michigan earlier in the season. Every other team in the discussion for playoff berth has no such losses, and do you really think that they will pose any threat to Alabama? No chance. Bama would probably be a 20+ point favorite in a playoff game. That’s not why the NCAA expanded to a four-team playoff.

And just for the sake of the discussion, let’s throw Colorado in the mix. Should they knock off Washington in their championship game, some feel they deserve a shot. But with Michigan, Clemson and Wisconsin all ahead of them, it’s hard to say that the Buffalos deserve to jump in front of all those teams.

When it’s all said and done, the selection committee has the right four teams in the playoffs. If Clemson and Washington win this week, they should be in with Alabama and Ohio State. There is no reason why a two-loss team, regardless of whether they win a conference championship or not, should move ahead of one of the three one-loss teams.

Now, if Washington should lose and Wisconsin wins, put the Badgers in. But I say no to Penn State being in the playoffs at all. Put Michigan back in the race. Hopefully, the Tigers and Huskies make this easier on everyone and win.

About Joe Serpico 29 Articles
Joe learned his journalistic ways in Annenberg Hall, Liacouras Center and Lincoln Financial Field as a student of Temple University. Living in Pennsylvania and Maryland for equal time of his life, he has a passion for both the Philadelphia and Baltimore sports teams. You can find him in Section 82 of The Yard every Sunday home game.

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