Crazy, but that’s how it goes… Though this may be true for many things in life, college football has never been one of them. The teams that are supposed to win win, and there was no endgame. However, somebody decided it wasn’t enough, that college football needed a ramp-up. Thus began the College Football Playoff (CFP). Introduced in 2014, the CFP promised to put an end to the monotony that was Alabama and provide a shuffling of the teams each and every week (more so than previous years). Now, finishing up Rivalry Week during the CFP’s fourth year, no one has any freakin idea what is going on or why they exist anymore (that is, college football fans). Something to keep in mind as we await the latest rankings: the CFP has NEVER put a two loss team in the playoffs (hint hint). What has induced such pandemonium in collegiate athletics that usually only March Madness can bring? Let’s take a look at the top 10 teams and how they all got there.
Hey, they sit now at number on...oh wait….26-14? That can’t be right….Normally a lock to be undefeated against the likes of Mercer and Vanderbilt, the nation’s consensus number one has taken its first loss of the season to number six Auburn. The long-lasting complaint against Bama has been that they have a laughably weak schedule (their strength of schedule this year was 61st). Because of this, their wins appear to many at a discounted price. However, aside from the Iron Bowl, Bama has been steady this year, and should remain in the top four.
Oh poor Miami. You were enjoying your first national success in years, and you BLEW IT ALL AWAY. Coming off a near breakdown vs Virginia, The U collapsed against Pitt, dropping their first game of the season. After wins against Virginia Tech and (more importantly) Notre Dame put them on the map, this loss to an unranked team will force them into a winner-takes-a playoff spot game (just as any other outcome would’ve) against Clemson for the ACC title.
Speaking of Clemson…They’ve dropped two games this year but are still poised to make the playoffs (that is, with a win vs Miami). Kelly Bryant went a few games with an injury, but has come back healthy now, garnering a little more trust for last year’s champs. Though they’re clearly not the same team, an ACC Championship would be hard to overlook...
They beat Ohio State, but then lost to Iowa State...There’s no doubting Baker Mayfield is talented, but his mouth and attitude definitely are costing him and his team. Just like the last two teams, if they pull out their conference championship (against TCU) they should stay in the top four.
There has been widespread outcry this year over Wisconsin, the sole remaining undefeated top ten team. Though they got off easy with their Big Ten schedule, it really does all come down to (once again) THE CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP (which will be played versus Ohio State). A super offensive line and star freshman running back should spell good things to come for the Badgers.
WOW. WOW. Hats off to you Auburn. People were calling for Gus Malzahn to get the can, so he responded by taking out BACK TO BACK number one teams. Jarrett Stidham looks real good in the pocket (and on the run), and Kerryon Johnson with the jump pass? Too good. Momentum is cumulative, but guess what it will all come down to? That’s right: the SEC Championship game against Georgia.
They had their brief stay atop the rankings, but we all knew it was a sham. OBVIOUSLY Alabama should be there...oh, I mean nevermind. Props to Jake Fromm taking a team I honestly didn’t think was very good to the top of the BEST conference there is in college football. That loss to Auburn (though it seems less-harmful now) dropped them a good deal, but, you know, SEC Championship anybody?
Another team that had their time in the sun, only to be enveloped by darkness. Brian Kelly has always (in my mind) been on the verge of greatness, but the Fightin Irish never seem to rise to the cream of the crop (at least consistently).
An odd team (aren’t they all?) Projected at the start of the season to be sitting in the top four when it was all said and done, they see themselves hanging on to a top ten spot as we approach championship week. Their loss against Oklahoma was an excusable offense, but what the heck happened in Iowa? That was one of the ugliest top ten losses this year, yet ESPN (among others) is claiming they still have a path to the top with a Big Ten championship and a little help. No. No they do not.
Rounding out the top ten is Penn(itentiary) State. Saquon Barkley has cooled off lately, but he is still undoubtedly one of the best backs in the nation. That loss to Ohio State has put them out of the conversation, and they don’t have any real chance to prove themselves. At least they overcame all the controversy of the past few years to get back to being good ol’ Penn State.