We finally got what we wanted, playoffs in College Football! No more BCS controversy, right? Wrong! Let’s be honest, we let 68 teams into the NCAA Tournament for College Basketball and we still fight over who got snubbed and who doesn’t belong. Expanding from two to four will hardly solve the controversy issue–but that’s what makes it fun anyway!
Let’s take a look at each of the Power Five conferences–listed in order of quality of conference:
SEC: By far the toughest conference. More specifically, the SEC West is far and away the best division of any conference. Five teams (Mississippi St., Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss and LSU) have been ranked in the top 20 all year–even Texas A&M took a turn near the top for a couple weeks. The SEC East, while not quite as powerful, still boasts teams like Georgia, Missouri, Florida and South Carolina. It would be very hard to complain about two of these teams getting into the 4-team playoff.
Pac-12: Oregon is the clear power team in the Pac, but ASU is right on their heels ready to make a statement this year. Fresh off of quality wins over Utah and Notre Dame, the Sun Devils are primed for a championship showdown with the Ducks. A 1-loss Pac-12 Champ is a shoe-in for the Playoff, upsets would rule the Pac out though, making way for a 2nd SEC team and/or the Big 12 Champ.
Big 12: Choke-lahoma has been a letdown yet again. TCU and Baylor however have proven they belong. Here’s the problem with the Big 12–no Conference Championship game. Baylor and TCU may likely win out (TCU almost certainly will). If that happens, they’ll have identical records from an identical conference with Baylor winning the head-to-head, so Baylor moves on to the Playoff, right? Wrong. The Bears record is easier than the Horned Frogs and have therefore been consistently ranked below them despite winning the head-to-head matchup, so it would be hard for the committee to leap-frog the Horned Frogs with no conference championship game. The Big 12, in my opinion, needs the SEC to have only one team finish with one or fewer losses.
Big Ten: Definitely a step below the SEC, Pac-12 and Big 12, but still has some quality teams with great tradition–five of which are currently 7-2 or better. Ohio St. is the favorite, but lost early to VaTech. A bad loss, but somewhat forgivable considering it was clear back in the 2nd week of the season. If Nebraska and Ohio St. both win out until the Big Ten Championship game, the winner would have a fighting chance at getting into the Playoff, especially if it’s Ohio St. Most likely though, the Big Ten will be on the outside looking in.
ACC: The weakest of the Power Five, but the home of the defending National Champs in Florida St., a team that hasn’t lost since 2012. Duke and Clemson are respectable teams, but not Playoff material. Sorry Blue Devils, I know you’ve only lost 1 game so far, but it’s not gonna happen–you’ve always got basketball though. If the Seminoles win out, they’re in for sure. No one else in the ACC has a prayer though.
I’m gonna say Alabama wins out, including beating Mississippi St. this weekend and then going on to win the SEC Championship game. Alabama gets in as the no. 3 seed.
Oregon wins out and gets in with one loss as the no. 2 seed.
Florida State wins out and gets in as no. 1 seed and only undefeated team among Power Five.
That leaves the 4th and final spot up in the air. Will it be TCU? Baylor? Mississippi St.? Ohio St.? This is tough!! If Mississippi St. rebounds from my predicted loss to Bama and beats Vanderbilt and Ole Miss to end the season, they’re in. Can they win at Ole Miss though? If they don’t, I’d say TCU gets in. My final spot though is with MSU as the no. 4 seed.