Photo Courtesy of LSU Athletics.
Written by: John Stocco
What a weekend of College Football. Rivalry week is the best week of the college football season, and it surely lived up to the hype. Conference Championship games are set, and the final four are almost set in stone. LSU and Ohio State are by far the two best teams in college football, Clemson steamrolled through an easy conference, and hell must have frozen over because for the first time college football fans could witness a College Football Playoff without Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide. Let’s get into it.
1, Ohio State
They did it again. I’m telling you people being a Jim Harbaugh fan is one of the toughest things to be in sports. Every year The Game gets hyped, and in the end, it’s not even close and they ruin one of the best Saturdays of the year. The talent on Ohio State is clearly more advanced than any other team in the Big Ten. Justin Fields is a future NFL star, JK Dobbins is going to be a playmaking stud wherever he goes, and they have the best edge rusher and secondary group in all of college football. If an NFL team picks Chase Young over a potential franchise quarterback like Joe Burrow I can’t even criticize the decision. When you look at the college football map there’s a difference in how southern teams build their team, and how northern teams build their team. Southern teams build their program on speed and athleticism. Northern teams build their teams on toughness and strength. Ohio State is built like a team down south up in the north and the talent gap is the farthest in any sport. Ohio State is a machine, and it’s a machine that will take years to stop. The talent, the recruiting, is all above and beyond in the Big Ten Conference. They should beat Wisconsin on Saturday and lock up the number one seed in college football.
On Saturday the LSU Tigers go one on one with Georgia for the SEC Championship. It’s a game where on paper is going to look like a closer matchup, but on the field, I think LSU wins this game pretty easily. LSU is an overpowered offense that cannot and will not be stopped. Joe Burrow is marching his way to a Heisman trophy, and their receivers are playing just as well as any core in the country. Sure there are some problems happening with this defense which is surprising, but the LSU offense is the best in the country and I think LSU can outscore any defense they have to face. I like Georgia, I predicted them to actually win the SEC, but for some reason, it’s just not the same. I like Jake Fromm, their OLine is solid, but the problem is the health of D’Andre Swift and George Pickens. Kirby Smart expects both of them to play, and they need to play because those two are Georgia’s best playmakers. Their defense will be aggressive against LSU, but toe to toe I don’t think Georgia has enough firepower to keep up with LSU. I think LSU wins this game and the second seed is theirs.
This is completely not shocking. To see Clemson walk through the ACC was something so obvious that my mom who doesn’t even know what Clemson is and she could have seen that coming. Clemson is going to own the ACC for years. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be beatdown in the College Football Playoff because of their easy road. Dabo Swinney is still one of the best coaches in college football, Trevor Lawerence is an elite prospect quarterback who knows how to win in big games. Players like Travis Etienne, Tee Higgins, Justyn Ross, and Isaiah Simmons are stars in the college game. Clemson has the coaching, they have the talent that matches well with any team, and they have the experience to know how to win in a big game.
Why put Georgia at number 4 if I think they’re going to lose to LSU on Saturday? It’s time to start putting respect on the PAC 12. It’s a fun conference to watch, and I know they don’t get any love because most people are sleeping when they’re playing. I’ve been high on Oregon and Utah all season, and since Oregon ruined it for themselves against Arizona State, if Utah takes care of business and beats Oregon then they should be the 4th seed with the only debate being Oklahoma or Baylor. Utah is one of the best defensive teams in the country, and their running game around Zack Moss is something that should scare teams in the playoff hunt.
I don’t see it with this Georgia team. They’ve been impressive for weeks, but that loss to South Carolina is just so bad that I can’t put them in the final four. That all can go away with a win against LSU, but I don’t see them pulling out a win against LSU. Right now they’re a one-loss team playing in the SEC Championship Game, but that one loss is the worst loss in this top ten.
Kinda like Georgia, Oklahoma hasn’t been impressive this season. Not as much as they were with Baker Mayfield, and Kyler Murray, but with the weapons and the coaching around Jalen Hurts they can make a run. Oklahoma is still a very good team, and if they win the Big 12 you can make the case for them to be in the final four.
Is Alabama officially dead or do they have a shot? If Georgia loses, if Wisconsin loses, if Utah loses, and if somehow both Oklahoma and Baylor loses, then Alabama as a two-loss team can seriously get another shot at the College Football Playoff. Has anything crazier happened?
The Badgers showed up in a big way at a hostile environment against their biggest rival in Minnesota. B1G West was on the line, and a chance at the B1G Championship was also up for grabs, and Wisconsin stomped them. Impressive win, but I still don’t think they have enough to beat Ohio State.
Is this the best 3 loss team of all time? Auburn is incredible, and this was a program that was supposed to “fire” their head coach in August. What a season for the Auburn Tigers as this is a team built for the future, and a championship can be in their future.