WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE INTIAL FOUR CFB PLAYOFF TEAMS GOING FORWARD

The last Tuesday in October has passed, and the 2017 season’s first College Football Playoff rankings have been released. Lets take a look at what is ahead for the four teams that would be in the playoff if the season ended today.

  1. Georgia Bulldogs 8-0 (5-0 SEC)

There is a reason why the Georgia Bulldogs are number one over their SEC West counterpart Alabama. That one reason would be the prime time win on NBC over Notre Dame in South Bend. Considering the Fighting Irish were also selected in the top four, it is proving to be one of the best wins in CFB this season. There are two teams who pose as threats to potentially spoil the Bulldog’s season. The #14 ranked Auburn Tigers and UGA rival the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. A win over Auburn would bode very well with the media. Especially if the Tigers give Alabama a hard time in the Iron Bowl in the coming weeks. With the game being in Jordan-Hare Auburn presents some problems for the Bulldogs. Nonetheless expect head coach Kirby Smart to have his troops ready. The final game of the regular season is interesting. As Georgia Tech tends to give the Bulldogs headaches with the triple option offense. In last year’s affair the Yellow Jacket’s offense was held in check, but managed to win after some questionable play calling from Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney. I would not be surprised to see Georgia play Alabama in Atlanta at 12-0, but there is some serious hurdles ahead.

2. Alabama Crimson Tide 8-0 (5-0 SEC)

The Crimson tide have yet to see a challenger in their first eight games, as not one of their opponents is currently ranked. The week one win over Florida State proved to be meaningless as Jimbo Fisher is currently dealing with a 2-5 squad. Do not worry CFB fans Alabama has some very interesting matchups in the latter part of the season. In a four-week span the Tide play; #19 LSU, #16 Mississippi  State, #14 Auburn. This upcoming week against LSU should not be too much of a problem as it is in the friendly confines of Bryant-Denny stadium. Although Ed Orgeron has had his Tigers rolling ever since that embarrassing loss to Troy at home. Expect this to be a low scoring game but I have the Tide prevailing in the second half. Mississippi State has been performing well but not on the same echelon as Alabama. If Georgia’s defense can shut down Nick Fitzgerald, so can Alabama’s. The Iron Bowl at the end of the season will be a classic. Both teams always come to play this game. If Auburn’s offensive line can give Jarett Stidham some time in the pocket. His arm talent alone can keep the Tiger’s in this game. With all that said we are talking about a Nick Saban lead team. Get ready for two 12-0 teams to have a showdown in Mercedes-Benz stadium come December second.

3. Notre Dame 7-1 (Independent)

Standing at 7-1 with the only a one point one loss coming to #1 Georgia Notre Dame is looking solid. After a beat down of USC who was ranked #11 at the time, and just last week defeating #20 NC State. The Irish are building one of College football’s best resumes. Brandon Wimbush and Josh Adams have been explosive with the ball in their hands this season. it is hard to win the time of possession game playing against those two. Notre Dame are not out of the woods yet however, as #10 Miami play host to the Fighting Irish in two weeks. Miami will be coming off a game against #13 Virginia Tech. Hurricane QB Malik Rosier has been lighting it up as of late. Against an unstable ND pass defense I would pay attention to that matchup closely. This is a must win game for Brian Kelly and his team. Losing might be the difference between a NY6 bowl game and the CFB Playoff semifinal.

4. Clemson Tigers 7-1 (5-1 ACC)

No need to panic Tiger fans, those two wins over Auburn and Virginia Tech are definite proof you belong here. I think the committee did not weigh the Syracuse game heavily because of Kelly Bryant’s concussion early in the game. Next week the Tigers head north to play #20 NC State. Kelly Bryant and the Tiger defense need to dominate through four quarters of this  This game means a lot more to Clemson’s playoff hopes than it already may seem to. What I mean is that #5 Oklahoma and #6 Ohio State are breathing down Clemson’s neck. Oklahoma has a wild west shootout coming up in Still Water against #11 Oklahoma State. A win against the Cowboys would send a serious message to the committee. Especially now that the loss to Iowa State looks a lot better, since the Cyclones are now in the top fifteen. Let us not forget what the Buckeyes did in the Shoe last Saturday afternoon against playoff hopeful Penn State. Coming back from being down eighteen points twice to win the game. Ohio State also have to play #24 Michigan State in two weeks. Along with undefeated Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game if all goes to plan. Clemson definitely is in the “hot seat” you could say for that final playoff spot. Even if Dabo Swinney can lead his team to a 11-1 record it might not be enough to hold off Oklahoma or Ohio State.

Asa Baurle

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