Championship Weekend Preview- College Football Playoff

College Football Playoff: Championship Weekend

After a wild rivalry weekend, it all comes down to this weekend. With Alabama and Miami both losing last weekend, there are eight teams with a legitimate claim for a top-four spot should the dominoes fall their way this weekend. We’ll take a look at all four pivotal championship games here. For the 2017 College Football Playoff: Championship Weekend means everything.

Tuesday’s rankings have been released. We’re also under the assumption, if you lose this weekend, you’re out.

IN

1. Clemson Tigers (11-1)

2. Auburn Tigers (10-2)

3. Oklahoma Sooners (11-1)

4. Wisconsin Badgers (12-0)

OUT

5. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1)

6. Georgia Bulldogs (11-1)

7. Miami Hurricanes (10-1)

8. Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2)


Big 12 Championship Game

#11 TCU Horned Frogs (10-2) vs #3 Oklahoma Sooners (11-1) 

Location: AT&T Stadium (Dallas, TX)

Time: Saturday- 12:30

Television: Fox

Three weeks ago these two teams met in Norman and the Sooners won rather convincingly 38-20. Looking back, that game was essentially a de facto playoff game. The winner is still alive and the loser is done. The Big 12 Championship is the only conference championship in which both teams have a shot to make the playoff. Simply put, Alabama displaces TCU out of the top 8 for obvious reason. Regardless, Baker Mayfield and the Sooners need to be on full alert and ready for the Horned Frogs best shot. If Mayfield can put up similar numbers (18-27, 333 yards, 3 TD) or better yet Rodney Anderson (23 carries, 151 yards, 2 TD) to the first meeting, Oklahoma should be in good shape to win their third straight Big 12 crown.

Oklahoma wins if Baker Mayfield does Baker Mayfield. The only thing that stands in the way of a Sooner victory is Baker Mayfield. In so many fewer words, he needs to protect the football without compromising his style of play. 

TCU wins if they come out fighting early. The Horned Frogs need to take control of the game early and deliver big punches to the gut of Oklahoma if they want to steal the conference title.

Oklahoma makes the CFP: They win

TCU can’t make the CFP


SEC Championship Game

#6 Georgia Bulldogs (11-1) vs #2 Auburn Tigers (10-2)

Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta, GA)

Time: Saturday – 4:00 PM

Television: CBS

Without a doubt, the SEC Championship game is the most straightforward. Win and you are in. Three weeks ago these two foes meet at Jordan-Hare Stadium and the Tigers put the beat down on the Bulldogs. Furthermore, Auburn went on to beat Alabama last weekend to set themselves up to be the first two-loss team to ever qualify for the College Football Playoff. Don’t let the November, 11th matchup fool you Georgia won’t go down as easily this time. Especially with the SEC title being decided on Georgia soil. In its inaugural season, Mercedes-Benz Stadium will assume the Georgia Dome’s role as host of the SEC Championship Game so expect the Dawg Pound to be out in full force. 

Auburn wins if the defense holds the Georgia running game in check again. During the November 11th matchup, Georgia only tallied 46 rushing yards on 32 carries.

Georgia wins if Jake Fromm plays more efficiently than in the first meeting. The Bulldogs are a running team, but if Fromm can take some pressure off of them, they’ll likely see better running lanes. In the first meeting, Fromm struggled mightily.

Auburn makes the CFP: They Win. Wins over Alabama and Georgia twice will secure the Tigers spot in the Playoff.

Georgia makes the CFP: They Win. This under the assumption that a win over Auburn would leap from Georgia over Alabama based on the magnitude of the victory and the fact that their only loss is to Auburn, to begin with. 


ACC Championship Game

#7 Miami Hurricanes (10-1) vs #1 Clemson Tigers (11-1)

Location: Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, NC)

Time: Saturday – 8:00 PM

Television: ABC

Clemson’s chances of making a third straight National Championship game comes down to a date with Miami in Charlotte. The Tigers are currently a nine and a half point favorite, but we know anything is possible when it come’s to The U this season. Unfourtnualy, the Hurricanes loss last weekend keeps this from being the top 3 matchups we dreamed of. Either way, Miami should be amped up for a rebound and you know Dabo Swinney is going to have to Tigers fired up. While the numbers on paper indicate an impending Clemson victory, do not be surprised if Miami makes this a game, there will be a ton of pride and heart put into this battle.

Clemson wins if their offense protects the ball. You can not turn the ball over against Miami. They will make you pay. 

Miami wins if they can break Clemson’s defense. The Tigers have one of the best defenses in the country, but if the Canes can slip the defense for a few big plays they will have a shot.

Clemson makes the CFP: They win.

Miami makes the CFP: They win and Oklahoma or Wisconsin lose. They need three (Georgia/Auburn, Clemson) teams ahead of them to fall for the Canes to make the playoffs. Alabama and the SEC winner control priority over Miami based on strength of losses. 


Big 10 Championship Game

#8 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2) vs #4 Wisconsin Badgers (12-0)

Location: Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, IN)

Time: Saturday – 8:00 PM

Television: Fox

Even though the Badgers are undefeated, Ohio State enters the game as a six and a half point favorite. Urban Meyer’s team may have stumbled late in the season to Iowa but are still one of the most talented teams in the nation. Wisconsin has wins over Iowa and Michigan, but without a doubt, Ohio State will be the best team the Badgers have faced all season. J.T. Barrett’s status for this game remains unclear after OSU’s star-QB reaggravated a knee injury before last weekends game with Michigan during an incident with a sideline cameraman. If Barrett can’t go, freshman Dwayne Haskins would assume the Buckeye’s signal-calling duties. All to eerily similar to the Cardale Jones situation from 2015.

Wisconsin wins if their defense turns the ball over. If the Badgers can force a few Ohio State turnovers, they will control this game. 

Ohio State wins if they use their talent correctly. By most accounts, Ohio State is the more talented team in this game. 

Wisconsin makes the CFP: They win. They’re the only undefeated (*cough* UCF *cough*) team the CFP Committee cares about. 

Ohio State makes the CFP: They win and (1) Clemson wins and Oklahoma losses.


It’s worth mentioning, aside from the SEC Championship, Alabama would be the first into the CFP if any of the higher ranked teams in the title games lose.

Last week…

After Cupcake Weekend, How Much Has Changed? – College Football Playoff Contenders

After Cupcake Weekend, How Much Has Changed? – College Football Playoff Contenders

Tuesday’s College Football Playoff Rankings Actually Mean Something Now

The first few weeks of College Football Playoff rankings were completely useless. Everyone can count wins and losses among Power 5 teams. Now things are down to the nitty-gritty. With one week to go before Conference Championships weekend, we’ve reached the best part of college football season. It’s rivalry week and with playoff spots up for grabs, every game now is do-or-die.

I’m sorry Central Florida. Clearly, the CFP Committee only cares about lining their pockets with that Power 5 money. I’d give you guys a shot any day.

The Current Four

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-0)

  • IN: If the Tide beat Auburn Saturday, it’ll be hard to keep them out of the playoffs even if they lose the SEC title game.
  • OUT: They get blown out by Auburn. 

2. Miami Hurricanes (10-0)

  • IN: Take care of business against Pitt and then beat Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.
  • OUT: Lose either game.

3. Clemson Tigers (10-1)

  • IN: Beat rival South Carolina and then win the ACC Championship Game against Miami.
  • OUT: Lose either game.

4. Oklahoma Sooners (10-1)

  • IN: Beat West Virginia and then the Big 12 Championship.
  • OUT: Lose either game.

Next In Line

5. Wisconsin Badgers (11-0)

  • How they get IN: They beat Minnesota and then win the BIG 10 title game against Ohio State. However, they also need Auburn to lose to either Alabama or Georgia. They benefit second from the Clemson/Miami impending matchup.

6. Auburn Tigers (9-2)

  • How they get IN: They must beat Alabama this weekend and then Georgia in the SEC Championship. If they do that, I believe their strength of losses favors the Tigers over Wisconsin with priority into the playoff first.

7. Georgia Bulldogs (10-1)

  • How they get IN: The Bulldogs need a win against Georgia Tech this weekend and hope Auburn beats Alabama. Then Georgia needs to beat Auburn in the SEC Championship. They will need either Oklahoma or Wisconsin to stumble once as well.

Need a lot of Help

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-2)

  • How they get IN: Aside from winning out, Notre Dame also needs both Clemson and Miami to lose this weekend and then Clemson win the ACC title game. Furthermore, they need Alabama to beat Auburn and then Georgia in the SEC title game. Finally, they need Wisconsin or Oklahoma to lose in their conference title games.

9. Ohio State Buckeyes (9-2)

  • How they get IN: Urban Meyer’s team has to beat Michigan this weekend. Then they have to beat Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship Game. Alabama has to win the SEC. Both Clemson and Miami have to lose this weekend and then Clemson has to win the ACC title game. Finally, Oklahoma has to lose their final two games.

Last Week:

Who’s Still Standing? – College Football Playoff Contenders

Who’s Still Standing? – College Football Playoff Contenders

Tuesday’s College Football Playoff Rankings Still Mean Nothing

On Tuesday, the College Football Playoff Committee will release their third edition of playoff rankings. This is just a friendly reminder, the rankings release is just another cash grab by the NCAA and ESPN to generate excitement. Right now, no one has a clue who will actually be the last four standing. Everything is so convoluted for the sake of debate. For sanity’s sake, here’s a clearer view of where every contender stands right now. 

There are three tiers of teams to look at: Undefeated and one-loss Power 5 teams, of course, but also two-loss teams with really good losses. While no team with two losses has ever made the college football playoff, one team, if not many, have a legitimate shot at changing that.

Undefeated 

(Rankings based on AP Top 25)

1. Alabama (10-0)

A loss to Auburn in two weeks would put Saban and the Tide in a weird spot. Otherwise, Bama seems destined for another playoff appearance.

2. Miami (9-0)

The Canes still have an ACC title matchup with Clemson looming. Right now it looks like it could be a de facto playoff play-in game.

5. Wisconsin (10-0)

With Alabama/Auburn and Miami/Clemson still on the horizon, Wisconsin just needs to take care of their own business.  Their first test, the weekend versus Michigan. Then they need to win the Big 1o title. It will be hard to leave a Power 5 team with a zero in the loss column out of the playoff.

14. Central Florida (9-0)

They’re undefeated, but their non-Power 5 schedule really hurts. They need everyone to lose, like twice. 

One Loss

3. Oklahoma (9-1)

Baker Mayfield and the Sooners are in the driver’s seat. They just need to avoid the trap against Kansas, take care of a West Virginia team that they are better than, and win the Big 12. They have the easiest road to the playoffs out of any team still remaining.

4. Clemson (9-1)

All eyes are on the ACC Championship game between Miami and the defending National Champs. It’s most likely that the winner is in the playoffs and the loser is out.

7. Georgia (9-1)

Georgia needs to redeem themselves in the SEC Championship Game. Right now, it looks as if only a conference title will land the Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff.

Legitimate Two Losses, Power 5

6. Auburn (8-2)

Auburn is still alive based on the notion they win out. If they win out that would entail beating Alabama at home on the 25th and then beating a one-loss Georgia in the SEC Championship. Basically, the Tiger’s control their own destiny. 

8. Ohio State (8-2)

The Buckeyes need a lot of help from the top to sneak into the playoffs. They need Alabama to win the SEC title and Miami to beat Clemson. Then Ohio State needs to beat Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship. The cards have to fall the right way but don’t count these guys out yet.

Next In Line Should Everything Hit the Fan

9. Notre Dame (8-2)

12. USC (9-2)

13. Penn St. (8-2)

 

 

 

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