The last 5 articles we have went over the Power 5 conferences in the world of collegiate football trying to determine which teams are the ones that are contenders. Now we are going to make some predictions for the four spots in this upcoming edition of the College Football Playoff (Played in January 2016). Taking into consideration the schedule, preseason rankings, and each team identified as a ‘team to watch’ we will now slice that list down into the 4 locks I feel are going to play for the National Championship. Starting in the ACC I stated that Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Notre Dame were the 3 teams to watch. In the Big 10 Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin are the 3 teams to watch. The Big 12 gave us only 2 teams: Baylor and TCU (who were left out last season. In the Pac 12 I found that whoever comes out of the UCLA-USC game on Nov 28 has the best chance to be in. The SEC was probably the most difficult to decipher as there are good teams littered throughout college football’s deepest conference, with Georgia-Alabama-Auburn emerging as the three teams. There are head to head games between some of these selections. Starting with Clemson, they host Notre Dame on October 3 in an early season knockout game. The following week on October 10 Clemson hosts Georgia Tech, tough two week stretch for Clemson. Speaking of Notre Dame, their annual rivalry game with USC is slated to be on October 17. Notre Dame also plays Georgia Tech, hosting the rambling wreck on September 19. These four games will give us 1 candidate to zero in on as a frontrunner to make the Playoff as early as mid-October. In the Big 10, Wisconsin starts the season with Alabama, now last season Ohio State was able to overcome an early season loss to eventually be crowned National Champions. But, whoever loses this game will have the rest of their conference schedule ahead of them. Wisconsin has the favor of not meeting Michigan State or Ohio State until potentially the Big 10 Conference Championship game. That is a major coup for the Badgers. The Michigan State-Ohio State matchup is scheduled to be on November 21, this is the second to last game of the season for each team and the game will be played in Colombus Ohio. Big advantage for the Buckeyes. As mentioned above the Baylor-TCU game will effectively be the Big 12 championship game, played in Ft. Worth on November 27, and should separate one or the other as a clear contender for the Playoff (barring a meltdown in the week after for the winner). Also as mentioned above the UCLA-USC game on November 28 could also be a play in game, given the Trojans take care of business by defeated Notre Dame earlier in the season. This brings us to the SEC, Auburn hosts Georgia on November 14, and hosts Alabama on November 28. Meanwhile Alabama also travels to Georgia, on top of going to Auburn, on October 3. The real thing to pay attention to is whoever comes out of these games will still have major work ahead of them, as it is highly likely that one of these regular season matchups will wind up being the SEC Championship game. Could one of these teams lose in the regular season then defeat that same team in that game, spring-boarding themselves into Playoff contention. You better believe that this scenario could very happen. Georgia, on top of these potentially 3 huge games, travels to Georgia Tech in the last regular season matchup on November 28. Where are these teams currently ranked? Right now they look like this: 1) Ohio State 2) TCU 3) Alabama 4) Baylor 6) Michigan State 7) Auburn 9) Georgia 10) USC 11) Notre Dame 12) Clemson 14) UCLA 17) Georgia Tech 18) Wisconsin. Who’s left out? 5) Oregon (who has a say playing Michigan State & USC) 8) Florida State (who has a say but they travel to both Clemson & Georgia Tech). That’s it for the Top 10. Unless a reincarnation of Cam Newton or Johnny Football is out there on another Top 11-25 team that has a loaded defense as well, the National Champion will come from this list. Who’s in?
Alabama vs. Wisconsin – Alabama is breaking in a new QB, Wisconsin is breaking in a new Head Coach-I’m taking Alabama.
Georgia Tech @ Notre Dame – The Irish lost a starting D-Lineman two days ago . Will that be enough to stop this option attack? I’m taking Georgia Tech.
Alabama @ Georgia – Its still early in the season, the Tide QB folds in the raucous environment. I’m taking Georgia.
Notre Dame @ Clemson – An early season loss to Georgia Tech hurts, but losing at Clemson effectively knocks the Irish out. I’m taking Clemson.
Georgia Tech @ Clemson – Is one week enough to prepare for the option after having a tough game against Notre Dame? (Channeling my inner Lee Corso) Not so fast my friend! I’m taking Georgia Tech.
USC @ Notre Dame – This is always a big game, USC is too talented and with a veteran QB. I’m taking USC. (Notre Dame is officially eliminated)
Georgia @ Auburn – The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. This one means a lot, will there be a last second hail mary? Possibly, I’m taking Auburn in a close thriller.
Michigan State @ Ohio State – The weekend before Elimination Weekend sees one of our contenders go away. Sorry Spartan Nation I am taking Ohio State. (Michigan State is officially eliminated)
Baylor @ TCU – Plain and simple: The Horned Frogs take revenge for last years letdown in Waco. I’m taking TCU. (Baylor is officially eliminated…schedule better non-conference games to be considered in upcoming years)
November 28-Elimination Saturday
Alabama @ Auburn – The Iron Bowl is at Jordan-Hare this season, good luck Tide. I’m taking Auburn. (Alabama is officially eliminated)
Georgia @ Georgia Tech – Last year it was the State of Mississippi that captured college football. This season the State of Georgia will see its two major football programs undefeated heading into this rivalry game. In a very close game I will take Georgia Tech.
UCLA @ USC – Oh wait a minute, there are two teams in the State of California that are undefeated as well! The game is at The Coliseum, USC has the veteran QB (as mentioned above). I’m taking USC. (UCLA is officially eliminated)
ACC Championship Game – Clemson vs. Georgia Tech – Can Clemson solve the option this time? No! I’m taking Georgia Tech to finish an undefeated season. (Clemson is officially eliminated)
Big 10 Championship Game – Ohio State blows out Wisconsin, again. I’m taking Ohio State with the perfect season. (Wisconsin is officially eliminated)
SEC Championship Game – Auburn vs. Georgia – Another rematch, earlier I picked Auburn and that makes them undefeated heading into this game. Georgia is coming off a close loss to rival Georgia Tech and has saw them punch their ticket into the College Football Playoff. Georgia spoils Auburn’s perfect season. I’m taking Georgia (Auburn is officially eliminated)
So if you’ve paid attention, Ohio State, TCU, USC, and Georgia Tech are all undefeated and Georgia has one loss that they avenged. Georgia has officially eliminated the SEC from the College Football Playoff by avenging that loss. Too bad for all those SEC fans, the drought continues. (Georgia is officially eliminated)
Based on the rankings being what they are, we are left with the 4 undefeated conference champions seeded as follows: 1) Ohio State 2) TCU 3) USC 4) Georgia Tech. The Orange Bowl will get the ACC representative and the Cotton Bowl will get the Big 12 representative. Therefore 1) Ohio State vs. 4) Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl and 2) TCU vs. 3) USC in the Cotton Bowl. I will take the higher ranked team in each of those matchups. That leaves 1 vs. 2 like we always want in a game for all the marbles.
The National Championship Game – 1) Ohio State vs. 2) TCU
Horned Frogs spring the upset and are National Champions for the first time since 1938