Big Natural’s College Football Playoff Projections – Week 3
Last year, I painted a pretty clear picture of why college football needs an eight-team playoff. I stand by that argument – eight is the way…no more, no less. So, I’ve started a new weekly column looking at what the College Football Playoff would look like under my format. I think it’s a reasonable way to determine a National Champion without leaving deserving candidates out, but making sure everyone has an equal chance to get in. With that said, let’s dive right in…
BIG NATURAL’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PROJECTIONS
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (SEC Champion) – Jalen Hurts had himself a day against the Rams of Colorado State, but we haven’t seen much of the real Alabama since the opening win against Florida State. I still say it’s the best win of the season so far, and given the conference around them, they look like the definitive best team in it. This weekend could prove tricky, as Vanderbilt has looked incredible throughout their 3-0 start. That said, the number one spot is still the Tide’s to lose.
2. Clemson Tigers (ACC Champion) – The Tigers absolutely throttled Louisville on Saturday 47-21 in a firm reminder that the ACC is still their’s to lose. The ACC is loaded this year – Florida State, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Miami, and Duke all look legitimate. So, the road is going to be tough for Clemson, but to this point, they’re the second best team in the nation. Up next, the Tigers host 1-2 Boston College.
3. Oklahoma Sooners (Big Ten Champion) – A whooping of Tulane isn’t going to do too much to bolster Oklahoma’s argument for a top two spot, but they still have that drumming of Ohio State in their back pocket. Baker Mayfield is the front runner for the Heisman Trophy, and if the Sooners win out, they’ll find themselves in the playoff hunt. Oklahoma travels to Baylor this weekend for a game they should dominate.
4. Penn State Nittany Lions (Big Ten Champion) – If Penn State had actually been anybody, they may have a better case for one of the top spots, but beating Georgia State 56-0 isn’t going to do much for their credibility. Nonetheless, no one can deny that Saquon Barkley has looked like an absolute beast. Penn State gets its first real test when they travel to Iowa this weekend.
5. USC Trojans (Pac-12 Champion) – The Trojans are undefeated, but man have they not been convincing. A struggle with the Texas Longhorns keeps them out of the top four, but they’ve had the toughest three-game stretch to start the season of any of the major contenders. That’s what’s keeping them in the hunt right now. They travel to Berkeley for a date with 3-0 Cal this Saturday.
6. Washington Huskies (Wild Card #1) – So far, if you’re just looking at the eye test, Washington and Washington State both have looked better than USC. But, Washington has yet to really play anybody. Of the options at wild card, they’re the clear #1. We’ll know more about the Huskies when they travel to play Colorado this weekend.
7. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Wild Card #2) – Like Penn State and Washington, the Cowboys have dominated inferior opponents. But, they can’t be faulted for doing their jobs. They’ve looked damn good….good enough to have quarterback Mason Rudolph in the Heisman conversation. The Cowboys have the biggest test of anyone on this list this week as they host #16 TCU.
8. San Diego State Aztecs (Group of Five Representative) – After beating Arizona State and Stanford, it’s a very real possibility that the Aztecs run the table. Just looking at the eye test already, they look a lot better than South Florida, who has been in this Group of Five spot all season. If they can win the Mountain West, consider them a lock for this slot. They travel to play Air Force this weekend.
So, that would give us:
(1) Alabama vs. (8) San Diego State
(2) Clemson vs. (7) Oklahoma State
(3) Oklahoma vs. (6) Washington
(4) Penn State vs. (5) USC
I really want to buy in to Michigan this season, but they really haven’t looked all the good. I’m aware that Oklahoma State and Washington have yet to play any real competition, but they can’t help that they’re undefeated and, judging by the eye test, look like the two best non-conference champion contenders at this point.
Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network. A strong advocate of GSD (get shit done) and #BeBetter, he’s down to talk Tennessee Titans and Alabama Crimson Tide football over a beer any day. Check him out covering the WWE for WrestlingNews.co. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley, @WrestlingNewsCo