Written by: John Stocco
Finally, some madness has arrived in the college football season. We knew it would come eventually, and it sure has come and it’s just getting started. Four top 10 teams in the nation have fallen over the last three weeks. Notre Dame, Wisconsin, and Auburn are finished, while Georgia and Oklahoma are still holding onto hope. It is now the perfect time to come out with my playoff predictor 2.0 as we get closer to the committee coming together and laying the foundation for the 2019 College Football Playoff.
I mean it has to be LSU at this point. They are ridiculously talented on both sides of the ball and they keep stacking wins against elite opponents, and they are convincing wins at that. Joe Burrow has placed himself right up on top of the Heisman trophy watch, the Tigers are just starting to control the running game by winning the war up front, and their defense has made it clear that they can stop any team they play because of their secondary and they hawk-like eyes they have for the football. Everything is working for the LSU Tigers, and coming up next is the biggest challenge they’ll face all season. No, not the bye week, November 9th, 2019, LSU vs. Alabama. The winner of the game could very well likely determine the number one seed in the playoffs. Right now, with dominant wins against Texas, Florida, and Auburn, LSU has proven to be the best team in the nation with the most impressive wins.
2, Ohio State.
Honestly let’s just wrap up the Big Ten now. Ohio State is the best, and the most talented team not only in the Big Ten but one of the most talented teams in the country. They’re bigger, they’re stronger, and they’re faster than everyone they play. They played Wisconsin in a game where people thought would be the Buckeyes’ biggest test, and Ohio State finished the game in the third quarter. They shut down Jonathan Taylor, and Ohio State whooped Wisconsin up and down the field. Justin Fields, JK Dobbins, and the potential top pick in the draft Chase Young, as well as Ryan Day who’s making his case to being one of the best coaches in college football, have it all working for them. Even though I like Penn State, I don’t see anyone in this conference that can stop the force that Ohio State brings week in and week out. They’re hungry, they’re determined, and there isn’t a doubt in my mind that they will finish the season as a top 2 seed.
Wait, didn’t they lose their best player? That’s what I thought. They didn’t lose an edge rusher, they didn’t lose a linebacker, they didn’t lose a safety, they lost a quarterback. Tua Tagovailoa is a player that teams in the NFL may or may not be tanking for in the 2020 NFL Draft, and how does Alabama respond? Easy. They beat Arkansas 48-7. Now I get it, it’s Arkansas, I shouldn’t make a huge deal about it, but Alabama is missing their best player on offense for a limited time, and they have already lost their best player on defense for the season. The Alabama Crimson Tide is a well oil machine, and there isn’t anyone stopping this machine anytime soon, but to be back at the number 1 spot of the College Football Playoff, they have to reload, get healthy, and face their toughest opponent of the season in the LSU Tigers. It’s going to be one of the most anticipated games in college football history as two SEC giants faceoff in a game where it could affect the entire way of the college football season.
I didn’t have Clemson in my playoff four because they haven’t been impressive. Trevor Lawerence hasn’t been as dominant as we all thought, and Travis Etienne has had a rough season running the football. They’re going to be the ACC champions, they’re going to be undefeated, and recently Clemson has looked like they’ve figured things out. They’re doing what is being asked from a superior team in a weaker conference. Florida State, Louisville, and Boston College have all been blowout victories for Clemson. It’s what’s being asked, and Clemson has started to look like their old selves. That’s bad news for everyone in the playoff mix.
5, Penn State: Not enough love is going around for Penn State. They’re the second most talented team in the Big Ten. They have a nasty defense, and they have speed everywhere on offense. Ohio State has a clear advantage in the conference, but with this coaching staff led by James Franklin, and with this offense led by Sean Clifford and spark plug wide receivers like KJ Hamler, the Penn State Nittany Lions are not a team you should sleep on, and literally everybody is sleeping on them.
6, Oregon: Who would have thought Oregon would be back in the mix after losing to Auburn and representing a complete mystery conference like the PAC 12? Oregon have pulled off impressive wins against some of the conferences best teams, and they’ve done it with efforts on all sides of the football. Justin Herbert has found ways to win games even if they have to rely on their running game more than they would like, and the Oregon Ducks also have one of, if not, the best defense in the country. Even their special teams have gotten their chance to pull out a win by beating Washington State in an absolute thriller. Oklahoma and Georgia with one loss, and teams like Notre Dame, Wisconsin, and Auburn with two, it has opened the door for the Oregon Ducks, and they should get legitimate looks at making the College Football Playoff.