College football’s regular season is over and done with, and another four teams will go to the Playoff. For Clemson, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Alabama, the national title is at stake. For others, a bowl game. For Baylor. . . um. . .
Every team’s season has been reevaluated, and Oklahoma emerges on top. The Sooners torched TCU in the Big 12 Championship to earn a trip to the Playoff.
The Tigers ran Miami off the field in a 38-3 annihilation. Clemson booked a spot in the Playoff, and that Auburn win looks impressive.
The Bulldogs erased a bad memory by winning the SEC. Auburn couldn’t beat the former #1 a second time, and Kirby Smart is heading to the Playoff.
I said I reevaluated everyone. The Knights put up 62 en route to beating Memphis in the AAC Championship, went undefeated, and boasts signature wins over the aforementioned Tigers (twice!) and South Florida. In a perfect world UCF would be in the Playoff, but will instead settle for the Peach Bowl. Opponent? Auburn.
The Tigers’ losses to Clemson and Georgia can be excused, leaving Auburn with one unavoidable loss. The LSU game hurts, but running the SEC West gauntlet slots the Tigers in at fifth. Wins over Alabama and Georgia by a combined 35 points headline an incredible resume.
The Tide were the only top 10 team not participating in a conference game, yet still made the Playoff. Despite undefeated AAC champ UCF’s similar strength of schedule, Alabama will have a shot at Clemson for the third straight year.
The Pac-12 champions head to the Fiesta Bowl, which is the de facto Rose Bowl against Ohio State. USC led Stanford by double digits long into the fourth quarter, and vaults above Ohio State upon reevaluation.
8. Ohio State
If you want to make the Playoff, don’t lose to Iowa by 31. Fair?
The Badgers lost a hard-fought Big 10 Championship, and head to the Orange Bowl to face Miami. The Hurricanes have made a habit of running teams off the field, (Notre Dame agrees) and could mock Wisconsin’s weak schedule.
The Hurricanes weren’t exactly firing on all cylinders in a 38-3 drubbing from Clemson. Miami should beat an overmatched Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl, and jump a few spots.
The Horned Frogs got smoked—again—by Oklahoma. Kenny Hill played well in the first half, but TCU imploded on both sides of the ball. Baker Mayfield is going to win the Heisman, while TCU falls out of New Year’s Six consideration.
13. Penn State
I’m not sold on a team that lost every challenge. The Lions aren’t cut out for high-quality opposition.
14. Notre Dame
15. Michigan State
MSU enjoyed a nice rebound season, but a blowout loss to Notre Dame early in the season hurts.
The Cardinal were never really close in a blowout loss to USC, and will compete in a medium-quality bowl. Bryce Love is a finalist for the Heisman, but the trophy appears to have Baker Mayfield’s name written on it.
The Tigers played an incredibly fun AAC Championship, a 55-62 2OT loss to UCF, and Memphis doesn’t fall far, as both of their losses are to #4 UCF.
This was a terrific rebound season for Ed Orgeron, and the Tigers will face Notre Dame in the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day.
19. Oklahoma State
The Rockets destroyed Akron 45-28 to become the MAC champion. Be aware of flying missiles.
22. Florida Atlantic
Lane Kiffin has turned FAU into a conference champion, as the Owls blew out North Texas by 24. Florida Atlantic will face Akron in the Boca Raton Bowl, and it shouldn’t be close.
23. Virginia Tech
24. Washington State
25. Tennessee’s coaching search
The Vols finally found a coach, as Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is thrust into the spotlight. Pruitt has a talented roster, but very few recruits as of yet. Expect that to change, and Tennessee might be a force in the SEC East once again.