The College Football Playoff selection committee’s work is over as Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia and Alabama will duke it out for the national championship over the span of two weekends in January.
This is old hat for Alabama and Clemson at this point. The Crimson Tide have made the CFP in all four years of its existence, and the Tigers have made it in each of the last three. It’s a totally new experience for Georgia, though, as it just won its first SEC Championship since 2005. For Oklahoma, it’s the school’s second appearance in the CFP.
UCF Knights (Defeated Memphis 62-55)
It’s a little unfortunate that the one team that finished the season undefeated won’t get a chance to participate in the CFP. The Knights rolled through their schedule and won thrillers against South Florida and Memphis to clinch the AAC crown. Scott Frost was recently named national Coach of the Year after turning UCF around in just two seasons, and new head coach Josh Heupel will have some big shoes to fill. The Knights are loaded for next year, though, and may be able to knock off Auburn in the Peach Bowl if the Tigers don’t take the game seriously.
USC Trojans (Defeated Stanford 31-28)
It doesn’t feel like it, but USC essentially achieved what it wanted to this season. The Trojans only dropped one game in conference and won the Pac-12 title. Clay Helton and company are now on their way to the Cotton Bowl for a highly anticipated game against Ohio State. Ronald Jones and Sam Darnold both had great seasons, and Darnold is the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft if he decides to leave early. Perhaps it’s time to give Helton some love after the hire was widely panned a couple years ago.
Movin’ On Down
Wisconsin Badgers (Lost to Ohio State 27-21)
The Badgers were the second-to-last undefeated team in the nation and would have made the CFP if they were able to knock off Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. Unfortunately for Wisconsin, Ohio State was just too talented. It had its chances, though. The defense made some big plays, but the offense struggled to move the ball and it just wasn’t enough in the end. The good news is that the Badgers will get to ring in the New Year in Miami and will take on the Hurricanes in the Orange Bowl.
It’s hard not to be disappointed if you’re a UTSA fan. The Roadrunners finished the season at 6-5, but they were one of three bowl-eligible teams not to get selected for a game. There were 14 squads that finished at 6-6 that are going bowling, yet the Roadrunners will be home for the holidays despite beating a good Marshall team and defeating a power conference opponent. The move was all the more surprising considering the school’s fan base. UTSA has almost 30,000 students and had at least 20,000 fans at each home game.
College Football Power Rankings (Updated 12/6)
1: Clemson Tigers (12-1) (LW: 2) (+1)
2: Oklahoma Sooners (12-1) (LW: 1) (-1)
3: Georgia Bulldogs (12-1) (LW: 4) (+1)
4: Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1) (LW: 6) (+2)
5: Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2) (LW: 8) (+3)
6: Central Florida Knights (12-0) (LW: 9) (+3)
7: USC Trojans (11-2) (LW: 11) (+4)
8: Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2) (LW: 12) (+4)
9: Wisconsin Badgers (12-1) (LW: 3) (-6)
10: Miami Hurricanes (10-2) (LW: 5) (-5)
11: Auburn Tigers (10-3) (LW: 7) (-4)
12: Washington Huskies (10-2) (LW: 13) (+1)
13: LSU Tigers (9-3) (LW: 16) (+3)
14: TCU Horned Frogs (10-3) (LW: 10) (-4)
15: South Florida Bulls (9-2) (LW: 18) (+3)
16: Stanford Cardinal (9-4) (LW: 17) (+1)
17: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-3) (LW: 15) (-2)
18: Memphis Tigers (10-2) (LW: 14) (-4)
19: Washington State Cougars (9-3) (LW: 19) (+0)
20: Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-3) (LW: 20) (+0)
21: Michigan State Spartans (9-3) (LW: 21) (+0)
22: Northwestern Wildcats (9-3) (LW: 22) (+0)
23: Virginia Tech Hokies (9-3) (LW: 23) (+0)
24: Boise State Broncos (10-3) (LW: UNR) (+2)
25: Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4) (LW: 25) (+0)