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College Football Playoff selection show predictions and open thread

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Let the fighting begin

NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Alabama vs Georgia

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Today at 12:00 Eastern on ESPN begins an unbelievable four hours of bowl selection and coverage of the College Football Playoff field.

Despite some hard fought effort by underdogs, yesterday went according to chalk — four of the top six contenders won, with one of those teams losing an all-time classic in the SEC Championship. So, the difficult questions of which team takes final spot(s), and then how the 3rd and the 4th spots are seeded, wait to be answered.

The way Georgia played last night it is hard to argue that when the Dawgs play perfectly and are dialed-in, that they are not one of the best teams in the country. There is a lot in their favor too, aside from passing the eyeball test. The S&P+ loves the Dawgs; the strength of their wins is very favorable; the lack of a conference title has not stopped others from getting the nod; even a bad loss (a la Ohio State 2014) isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. But, one precedent tilts heavily against UGA — despite ESPN trying to speak this into existence, the committee has never selected a two-loss team. It may not be that the ‘Dawgs lost by three scores in Baton Rouge, but that they have that loss at all.

Of the one-loss conference champions, is Ohio State the odd-man out? The Buckeyes have been superlatively underwhelming this year, despite a monstrous campaign by Dwayne Haskins in some of the season’s biggest moments. The beatdown at Purdue really rejuvenated this team, which is playing far more physical, running the ball with more authority, stretching the field, and coming up big on defense. But, is it too little, too late?

The Sooners may have the strongest case: Oklahoma’s defense came up huge yesterday against Texas, and the offense was humming per usual, avenging OU’s sole loss — by a field goal to a then-Top 10 team. But, are they one of the fourth best teams in the nation? It’s hard to deny their historically-good offense, just as it is hard ignore their equally-bad defense.

Then, what about the rest of the field? Notre Dame has the weakest resume of all the contenders vying for one of the non-Clemson/Alabama spots. Are we sure that this team is even one of the four-best in college football? If so, are they better than OU/OSU, who picked up conference title wins over quality opponents? Are they better than Georgia for that matter? Do the Irish deserve to be seeded third and dodge the ‘Bama bullet — essentially being rewarded for not playing in a conference and having a softer schedule?

There is much to be answered, and there will be a lot of upset fans, justifiable or otherwise. But, aside from Clemson and Alabama, there are glaring questions about every other single competitor for the field, with as many reasons to include them as there are to exclude them.

This will be your thread for the day. So, chime in with your opinions and predictions below.

Here are mine: based on quality wins, a 13th game and conference title, and the presence of other worthy competitors, Notre Dame but won’t be rewarded over an Oklahoma team that has not only done enough to make the field, but to also avoid Alabama in the first round. But, the presence of Notre Dame at all establishes another precedent. Likewise, Georgia’s first loss, not its second one, keeps the ‘Dawgs out. In reality this may be the year to justify a two-loss competitor, but as a practical matter, it won’t happen.

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Notre Dame

Brent:

My picks are the same as Erik's.

It'll be Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, and Notre Dame.

Leave your predictions below and make your case for your seedings.

Roll Tide. We’ll see you at noon Eastern.