Almost half way through the regular season and no team in CFB has shown itself to be a dominant force to be reckoned with. Yes, we have rankings that were given to each team at the beginning of the season, but as we all should know by now (especially us Frogs), a new season means a clean slate. This final four has been the hardest one yet, since I can see several big games this season going either way, but only time will tell if these predictions stand.
If I were to make a list of the top four teams in the country, based on what they have done to this point, this would be it: *Note: this is not who I think will be the top four teams at the end of the season.*
Now if you were to ask me what four teams I think will be in the playoffs when the season comes to a dramatic end, this would be my response (as of week 6):
1) TCU - A little game of Leap Frog
I want it to be known, that I don't think the Frogs are playing like the #1 team right now. The defense played much better against Texas last week, with some new pieces on the defense as well as some players returning, but again...it was against Texas. If the defense plays like this for the rest of October, I'll be more convinced that they can be #1. The offense appears to be getting better every week so there's not a lot of concern on that side.
Whichever team wins on November 14th, Baylor or Oklahoma, could determine which game is the unofficial Big 12 title game; TCU @ Oklahoma on November 21st or Baylor @ TCU the following weekend. The winner of that game will most likely go on to have a spot in the playoffs. I pray that the Big 12 actually crowns one true champion this year as to avoid a repeat of 2008, the most complicated three-way tie ever. The Big 12 did issue guidelines that help crown a champion in case there is a tie, but that would essentially come down to who beat who by more. I say that TCU will have the most impressive resume if they can finish the season undefeated. This is also assuming that come November 14th, TCU, Baylor, and Oklahoma are all undefeated, and Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State the last week of the season. There are so many possible outcomes, but maybe this table will help shed some light on two scenarios:
|Outcome at the end of the season||Playoff implication|
|TCU/Baylor/Oklahoma run the table||The undefeated team gets a spot in the playoffs|
|All 3 teams go 1-1 at the end of the season||Big 12 gets left out of playoffs|
2) Alabama - Not dead yet
The Tide moved up one spot since last week, and despite the one loss to the Rebs, they're beginning to once again look like the angry beast of the SEC. This could be a literal repeat of last year however, Alabama still has two more games where I see the other team playing them close:
- October 17th when they go to College Station to play Texas A&M. This game will help everyone see how good A&M will really be in the SEC this year. The Aggies traveled a similar path last year, in which they got all the way up to the #6 team in the nation...then SEC west play happened and the Farmers went 2-6 down the stretch. Yes Chavis has produced some of the best defenses in SEC history, but can he turn that squad all the way around from last year's 59-0 nightmare? Despite Myles Garrett being lethal, I don't think the Aggies will pull off the upset, but it'll be close.
- November 7th is when the LSU
Leonard FournettesTigers come to Tuscaloosa. Since 2005 these two teams like to play each other close and these games tend to have high degrees of defense being played. I say whoever wins this game is going to the SEC title game. It's still up in the air whether or not LSU's Brandon Harris has the ability to be a good quarterback, since he has yet to really prove himself against any serious competition. Next week's game against Florida's defense should be a good indicator of how good Harris actually is, but right now I don't think Fournette can beat the Tide's defense on his own. If Bama wins here it's smooth sailing to the title game.
3) Clemson - It's a B.Y.O.G. kinda party
If any team beats Notre Dame, you're okay in my book. After beating the Irish at home, it looks like Clemson has the best chance of anyone to run the table. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for head coach Dabo Sweeney since he's always appeared to be a fun and crazy coach who isn't afraid to speak his mind. After delivering one of the most epic post game interviews of all time and promising to hit the whip and nae nae with his players, I'm all in with the Tigers. What appears to be their biggest threat to a playoff spot is once again the Florida State
cinnamon rolls Seminoles. I'm not too worried about this one, since the Noles appear to be overrated once again and the Tigers get this game at home.
4) Michigan State - Spartans, what is your profession?
Yes, the Spartans have not looked their best in the past couple of weeks. Yes, that win against Oregon no longer looks very impressive. There is still a lot of season left to go, and Michigan State likes to play its best football in the latter half of the season. Lucky for them, four of their next five games are against dumpster fires, with the exception being a Michigan team that should be taken very seriously. Jim Harbaugh might not have all the pieces to dominate right now, but the Wolverines can do a lot of damage if they keep playing at this level. Although, if MSU does lose at Michigan, I still see them winning against an Ohio State team that can't get its act together. The Buckeyes have too much talent on their roster to have Northern Illinois and Indiana play them so close. The Buckeyes appear to really be missing former OC Tom Herman (now the head coach at the University of Houston), similar to how TCU longed for Justin Fuente in 2012. If Ohio State doesn't improve, I say the Spartans take them down and run off with the B1G title.
Outside Looking In:
5) University of Southern California
Projected Conference Winners:
ACC - Clemson
B1G - Michigan State
Big 12 - TCU
SEC - Alabama
Pac-12 - University of Southern California
Be sure to vote and leave your thoughts in the comments below!