Is there any reason to play the 2018 College Football season? Why not just skip right to the four team playoff? That seems to be the mantra of the national media. They have basically written off 126 teams. The general consensus is that the Final Four will be Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State. You may scoff at some of these teams but when you look around college football, who is better? Is there that much separation between these four and everyone else? There is no simple answer.
In the brief history of the College Football Playoff, there has never been an instance of all four of the top four ranked teams in the AP Preseason Poll make it to the playoff. In 2014–15, the first year of the playoff, three of the top four made the playoff. Both 2015–16 and this past season had Alabama as the only top four to make it. 2016–17 saw two teams, Alabama and Clemson, achieve that feat. History posits that one or more of these early favorites will not be participating in the CFP at the end of this coming season.
GOOD: If you had to bet on one team making the CFP this season, the Crimson Tide would probably be the safest choice. With Nick Saban at the helm, an amazing rate of next-man-up reloading and - let’s face it - that schedule, it seems likely they land a spot.
BAD: Replacing five starters in the secondary. Questionable depth on defense. New kickers. Several new and young coaches, and brand new offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator promoted from within.
IT’S A TRAP! This is still the SEC after all. LSU and Auburn are always treacherous ground. TAMU, MSU and Tennessee all have NEW COACH FEVER who have not heard their coaches’ best locker room speeches yet.
GOOD: With FSU in a rebuild, Lamar Jackson off to Baltimore and Miami looking like a flash-in-the-pan, the conference is theirs for the taking. Remarkably, the Tigers did not lose a single member of their coaching staff.
BAD: Thanks to Syracuse, we learned that “Clemsoning” is not a thing of the past quite yet.
IT’S A TRAP! They aren’t done with Jimbo just yet as the Tigers square off with the Aggies in Week 2 in College Station. NC State is improving and who knows what FSU will be with a healthy Deondre Francois. And there is always the random 5-7 team that could inexplicably pull the upset.
GOOD: They went toe-to-toe with the best and lost on the final play.
BAD: Is there a hangover? Is Jake Fromm really that good [IMHO, no]? The Dawgs lost a TON of key players including Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, Roquan Smith, Isaiah Wynn, and more.
IT’S A TRAP! South Carolina always seems to give UGA trouble. The Dawgs face LSU and Florida in consecutive weeks. They have lost two of the last four to Georgia Tech. And of course there is pesky Auburn.
GOOD: Most of their coaching staff returns from a disappointing yet successful 12-2 campaign. On the surface, the Buckeyes appear to be notch above the rest of their Big Ten partners.
BAD: After a decade in Columbus, quarterback J.T. Barrett finally graduated. They also lost several of their best pass rushers, center, left tackle, and corner Denzel Ward. The 55-24 loss to Iowa last season is enough to raise some skepticism.
IT’S A TRAP! OSU meets TCU in Week 3 at JerryWorld. They are at PSU in September and finish with Nebraska, Michigan State, Maryland and Sparty in November.
If not these four, then who? Here in no particular order are some candidates.
Michigan State - Mark Dantonio succeeds where seemingly he should not.
Wisconsin - Can the Badgers finally put a full season together?
Penn State - James Franklin is way ahead of the rebuild schedule with the Nittany Lions.
Oklahoma - Baker Mayfield is gone but this is still a viable team.
Miami - The ‘Canes need to prove that last season was not just a fluke.
Washington - The Huskies will probably have to run the table.
Stanford - Having Bryce Love back is a big plus.
Auburn - FLAGGED!
- Penn State
Clemson, in or out?
This poll is closed
Ohio State, in or out?
This poll is closed
Georgia, in or out?
This poll is closed
Who do you have in the Final Four? Let us know in comments.