You know this drill, no wasting time… let’s get at it!
1) Neither Alabama or Clemson will make the playoff: Yes fail to make the playoff. Not fail to make the title game, but not get into football’s Final-4. Both are seriously good teams, just that there are a lot of seriously good teams this season and they both happen to play quite a few of them along the way. I might be in a small group when I say this but how outrageous would it be that both #1 and #2 lose their opening games? ‘Bama is a heavy favorite but USC is not NW Nobody State and Clemson is on the road at Auburn. Auburn does things right and it is an 8-9 win team… out of the SEC West.
1A) There is NO chance the ACC gets two teams in, please stop reading those blogs that say it can.
2) The Big-12 will get shut out of the playoff:
Someone gets left behind every year in the current set-up. The Big-12 was its own worst enemy about that in year one. So this will mark the 2nd time in the three years of the playoff the Big-12 is outside looking in. I am not sold there is a true top-5 team in the conference this season. Oklahoma? Like ‘Bama and Clemson the Sooners could lose their opener to Houston. Baylor is dealing with disaray, TCU is good – but no world beater, Texas is still trying to find solid footing, etc, etc.
3) The Big-12 will expansion announcement will be controversial:
The league has the go-ahead to start its playoff game with its current 10 teams but has elected to wait on that for now. It is actively seeking to go to 12 clubs and one of those that they add will be. BYU. Already political groups opposed to the Mormon church are lining up and speaking out. BYU is countering with news releases of its own. If the 12th team is Houston or Cincinnati or Memphis (whomever) that’s not important from the newsy side of things. This will be interesting to watch.
4) There will be a surprise team in the playoff mix:
There are some Non-Power 5’s (NP5) with a legit chance to run the table. Houston beats OU and Tom Herman’s Cougars could go 13-0. San Diego State beats Cal early in the year and the Aztecs (who own the nation’s 2nd longest win streak behind only Alabama right now) could run the table in the Mountain West. An unbeaten NP5 might get a serious look for a couple of reasons. Might be there’s more than one conference champ with two or more losses and the committee might well be looking for a reason to include the NP5 into a chair at the big table.
5) The Big Ten goes bust (save for one…):
We’ll know a lot about the B1G right from the jump. Wisconsin plays (hosts, really) LSU in Green Bay, Ohio State plays at Oklahoma in week-2. OSU is a reload program but the Buckeyes have so many youngsters this season looks like a hit-and-miss. Michigan has the schedule and the talent to run to the title and make a strong case for the playoff but aside from that? Iowa is good, not great. Wisky and Nebraska and even Michigan State are potentially 9-10 win teams but that’s not playoff caliber. After last season when MSU got hammered 38-0 in the playoff this proud league needs a club to overachieve. Someone. Anyone.
6) There will be no unbeaten Power-5 teams:
There is so much balance in college football anymore. Used to be that 3-4 teams were clear of a group of 10-12 that were clear of a group of 25-30. Not the case now. Yes I know Alabama’s depth, I get that. Still, it doesn’t take much to have the 40th best team top the very best team on a good day. There’s not as much difference in the starting 22’s from the top-5 teams to the teams that would be ranked 30-35. 15-0 seems an impossibly high bar in this day and age.
7) There four teams in the playoff will be:
Washington (or.. maybe Houston). OK so that’s hedging I know. The problem is we can’t know the mindset of the 13 people on the committee as it goes to an unbeaten NP5.
There it is. Have at it!