College Football Playoff

NCAAF Playoff - Oklahoma Sooners

The College football playoff committee just announced what we have all been waiting for, the 2018 college football playoff bracket! This is the fifth year of the college football playoff, and in this article, we will discuss whether or not the committee got it right.

Every year there is always plenty of controversy surrounding college football and how they choose the playoff teams, and this year is no different. Let’s get started!

Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama Crimson Tide LogoThe selection of Alabama as the top seed was the easiest decision the committee had this year, and they got it right. The Crimson Tide are clearly the class of the nation this year, and they are fully deserved of the top spot. Alabama put an exclamation point on their season in the second half of the year when they dominated LSU on the road, blew out Auburn in the Iron Bowl, and then battled back to beat Georgia in the SEC Championship.

‘Bama starting QB Tua Tagovailoa injured his ankle against Georgie and is expected to have surgery and miss a couple of weeks of practice time. Luckily for the Tide, they don’t play a game for a month, and Tagovailoa is expected to be fully recovered in time for the Tide’s semifinals game against Oklahoma. Even if Tua doesn’t get back in time, Alabama has the best backup QB in the country in Jalen Hurts, who led the legendary comeback against Georgia when Tagovailoa went down with the ankle injury. Alabama is the best team on paper, and this is their championship to lose.

Clemson Tigers

Clemson Tigers LogoIf putting Alabama at number one was the easiest decision the committee had this year, putting Clemson at number two was the second easiest. The Tigers have rolled through their schedule undefeated and earned a top two spot in the playoff. Clemson and Alabama have spent the last three seasons as the best two teams in the country, and they share that distinction against this year.

Tigers running back Travis Etienne racked up nearly fifteen hundred yards on the ground with an over eight yards a carry average and twenty-one rushing TDs. The Tigers averaged over forty-five points a game. You can argue that the schedule was a little light this year for Clemson, and it was, or that the Tigers had a couple of very close calls, and they did, but this team still belongs here at number two.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame Fighting Irish LogoNow, this is where the controversy starts. The top two picks were gimmes, but the committee’s decision to put Notre Dam at number three is drawing some criticism. The Irish don’t play in a major conference, so they get a pass when it comes to a conference championship game. And that just isn’t sitting right with many people. Notre Dame’s schedule is dotted with wins that looked really good when they got them, and not so great now.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Celebrating

The opening weekend win over Michigan remains a great one, but wins over Stanford, and Virginia Tech doesn’t hold up as big wins. And wins over Florida State and USC, late in the year, two teams that are normally elite, both came as those teams were suffering through losing seasons this year. The Irish went undefeated, so I think you have to put them in the field, but I think with the lack of some late-season competition against elite teams like everyone else had to play, drops them to number four in my book.

Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma Sooners LogoAs I mentioned above, I don’t think the Irish should be ranked number three. I think that the three seed should be the Oklahoma Sooners. I know the Sooners are the only team in the field with a loss, but it wasn’t a terrible loss, and they avenged it by beating Texas in the Big 12 championship game by double-digits. Kyler Murray won’t win the Heisman, but with Tua’s struggles and injury in the SEC title game, it will be a lot closer than many people might expect.

Murray threw for over four thousand yards on the season with forty touchdown passes. He also added in nine hundred yards and eleven scores on the ground and led this Sooner offense that finished as the second-best offense in the nation. In my eyes, this is the second-best team in the field, but they draw the toughest assignment, having to play Alabama in the first round.

The Snubs

Generally, there is always at least one team that really gets snubbed in the college football playoff. This year there really wasn’t. These are the four most deserving teams in the country. The only team that I think you can even make a case for is UCF. The Knights have won twenty-five straight games and will go undefeated again this year for the second consecutive season. I hate that the Knights don’t have any real path to the playoff, but when their starting QB McKenzie Milton went down with an injury, it didn’t matter what the Knights did anymore.

They showed a lot of heart in coming back and beating Memphis, but without their best playmaker on the field, they would get smashed in the playoff. If Milton were still on the team, I would be first in line to campaign to get them into the field over Notre Dame, but without Milton, the Knights end up on the outside looking in again this year, and I am ok with that.

The other two teams that people are clamoring for to have gotten into the playoff are the Georgia Bulldogs and the Ohio State Buckeyes. I can see a case for both teams, and I do think they are just as talented as some of the teams that made the field. But both are very flawed.

Ohio State got absolutely blown out by a bad Purdue team this year. If you lose to Purdue by twenty-nine points, you are automictically disqualified from making the playoffs. I am not sure if that is an official rule, but if not, the committee should look to adopt it!

And as for Georgia, they lost two games. I know they played a brutal schedule and had some great wins, but with two losses they have nobody to blame but themselves. They had ample opportunity to beat Alabama, and that might prove to be the toughest game Alabama will have to win this year, but I just can’t justify jumping the Bulldogs over these other teams with either one or no losses.

Wrap Up

I am a huge proponent of an eight-game college football playoff. But this year is the first year since the playoff has been in place, where I think four teams is likely enough. Of course, I would love to see UCF get a shot in the big time. And teams like Georgia and Ohio State certainly have a similar level of talent as the teams that got in. But, in the end, I think the committee got it right this year.

All four teams that got into the field deserve to be there, and nobody on the outside looking in has too compelling of an argument that they should have gotten in.

Thanks for reading and good luck betting the college football playoffs this season!

Patrick Carter / Author