College Football Playoff Predictions 2016
By: Daniel Stettin
This Sunday afternoon at noon, the College Football Playoff will be announced on ESPN. The semifinal games will take place in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl both on December 31st at 3 and 7 PM (The exact game time for each has not been announced yet). The Championship game will take place on January 9th at 8:30 PM at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
The Current Playoff Rankings are:
- Alabama (vs #15 Florida in SEC Championship game, Saturday 4 PM CBS)
- Ohio State (Off this week)
- Clemson (vs #23 Virginia Tech in ACC Championship game, Saturday 8 PM ABC)
- Washington (vs #8 Colorado in Pac 12 Championship game, Friday 9 PM FOX)
- Michigan (Off this week)
- Wisconsin (vs #7 Penn State in Big 10 Championship game, Saturday 8 PM FOX)
- Penn State (vs #6 Wisconsin in Big 10 Championship game, Saturday 8 PM FOX)
- Colorado (vs #4 Washington in Pac 12 Championship game, Friday 9 PM FOX)
- Oklahoma (vs #10 Oklahoma State, Saturday 12:30 PM FOX)
- Oklahoma State (@ #9 Oklahoma, Saturday 12:30 PM FOX)
I fully believe that regardless of what happens this weekend, Alabama and Ohio State will make the playoff. Alabama will be in the playoff regardless of if they beat Florida. If they win, they will be the #1 seed. If they lose, I see them falling to #3. Since Ohio State is off (due to Penn State owning the tiebreaker from head-to-head matchup) and that they are #2, they are safely in. If Alabama is to lose, then Ohio State will jump up to #1 but I do not expect Alabama to lose to Florida. The reason for Alabama falling to #3 and not #4 is that I believe that the committee will want to set up a ‘Bama-OSU championship game rather than a semifinal.
Win and You’re In:
While Alabama and Ohio State are safely in, the other two spots are more than up for grabs. If Clemson beats Virginia Tech, they will be in. A loss though, would most likely see Clemson fan out the top 4. Washington, however, needs a convincing win over Colorado. Despite having a fairly dominant regular season, it seems the Committee isn’t that comfortable with putting Chris Peterson and his Washington Huskies into the playoffs. Many tend to forget that Colorado lost to Michigan in Ann Arbor by 17 in September. So the Committee will be looking at two teams that have one common opponent. If Washington is able to convincingly beat Colorado, then they will be make the playoff. If this game is within two scores, they will not make it.
Needs Help to Get In:
As I’ve already states, Michigan will make the playoff at the #4 seed if the Pac 12 Championship Game is close or if Colorado wins. Michigan is a top 4 team in the country, but the committee really doesn’t want to set a precedent where two teams from the same conference (and two that didn’t win their conference) make the playoff. Michigan has wins over Colorado, Penn State, and Wisconsin so they would get in over those three. I do see a scenario where Michigan gets in regardless of what happens in the Washington game, but I think the committee is gonna base it on this weekends games.
Now for Wisconsin, Penn State, and Colorado, they all need lots of help. All three have ZERO shot of making the playoff is Clemson wins vs Virginia Tech. This paragraph is under the assumption that Clemson will have lost to Virginia Tech. Colorado must beat Washington for any of the three to have a shot as well. Basically, for one of these three teams to jump in the top 4, they must have a dominant game this weekend. It really is that simple. If Clemson and Washington lose, the top three will be Alabama, Ohio State, and Michigan, with the #4 seed being whoever looked best among Colorado and Penn State/Wisconsin.
In regards to the other teams in the top 10, they all need a significant amount of help. Sorry Oklahoma and Oklahoma State fans, but y’all aren’t playing for a playoff bid this weekend. I can’t see how the committee could justify jumping either 5-6 spots over Michigan. If Oklahoma State didn’t lose to Central Michigan on an officiating error in September, they would have a much better case (I think the committee will consider this, but ultimately look past it) with only 1 loss. Oklahoma probably should be ranked higher, but at #9 the committee clearly doesn’t believe in them.
So who is going to be in the playoff? As I’ve stated, Alabama and Ohio State are safely in and Clemson should be in. I don’t feel comfortable with Washington as the #4 seed and the committee isn’t either. I don’t see them making it because of their weak schedule (they have two good wins, Utah and Stanford). Ultimately, the committee is gonna look at Michigan and believe that they are a top 4 team in the country with their two losses came with QB Wilton Speight playing with a broken collarbone and both on the last play of the game. Therefore, come this Sunday, the playoff will be announced as:
#1 Alabama vs #4 Michigan
#2 Ohio State vs #3 Clemson