In a sense, I feel a little comfortable releasing Garnet and Black Attack's first ever College Football Playoff Top Four, mainly because we don't have a dog, or, I should probably say, a Gamecock, in the fight. But here's the way it will work. Each week, I'll sit down to give you my thoughts on who I think should be in the top four as it stands right now, as well as my New Years' Six bowl projections. I should stress that these are my views alone, and aren't necessarily held by the rest the Garnet and Black Attack staff, and should also stress that no, just because I picked Clemson as the #1 team in my first ever CFP rankings does not mean that I have a closet full of orange apparel.
Well, I guess that cat's out of the bag, so here we go.
Tell me how much I messed this up and how I'm secretly a Clemson fan Let me know your carefully thought-out reaction in the comments.
New Years' Six and College Football Playoff Projections
I was wrestling with this for a bit before nailing down who I thought would make up this list. You could make a case for Houston in the Go5 spot in the Fiesta Bowl, but I'm giving it to Memphis as it stands right now thanks to their win over Ole Miss. That could change, though. Also, I've seen some people putting Florida in the Sugar Bowl, but Alabama, again as it stands right now, gets the edge. As for the top two, you might be able to swap Clemson for Ohio State at #1 and #2. Of course, if Florida State beats the Tigers next week, that might be rendered moot and would clear a path for the Buckeyes to get the top spot.
|Rose Bowl Game||Stanford (Pac-12 #1)||Michigan State (next-highest B1G team due to Ohio State in CFP)|
|Allstate Sugar Bowl||Baylor (next-highest Big 12 team due to TCU in CFP)||Alabama (next-highest SEC team due to LSU in CFP)|
|Capital One Orange Bowl||(1) Clemson||(4) TCU|
|Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic||(2) Ohio State||(3) LSU|
|Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl||Florida (at-large)||Notre Dame (at-large)|
|Vizio Fiesta Bowl||Memphis (Group of Five #1)||Oklahoma State (at-large)|
|2016 College Football Playoff National Championship||(3) LSU (Cotton Bowl Classic winner)||(4) TCU (Orange Bowl winner)|
The Top 4
1. Clemson Tigers (8-0)
Last game: W 56-41 @ N.C. State
I mean, you have to tip your cap to the school in the Upstate, right? The Tigers got a little scare from the N.C. State Wolfpack, but they were able to pull away and pick up the win to move to 8-0. They've got the tools to win it all: one of the better dynamic offenses in the country (led by Deshaun Watson) and a solid defense that, despite giving up 41 to the Pack yesterday, has allowed 18 points a game this year (14.7 before yesterday). #1 this week only because the Buckeyes were off, with their biggest test of the season coming up against Florida State next Saturday. Win that, and it might be smooth sailing the rest of the way unless they lose the ACC Championship...but that game on November 28 might be worth keeping an eye on - just saying.
Remaining: Florida State (Saturday), @ Syracuse (11/14), vs. Wake Forest (11/21), @ South Carolina (11/28)
2. Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0)
Last game: W 49-7 @ Rutgers (10/24)
J.T. Barrett and company drilled Rutgers in New Jersey two weeks ago. Only problem is, they probably won't have Barrett on Saturday against Minnesota after the starting QB got popped for operating a vehicle while impaired. That means it's back to Cardale Jones - things have been a little shaky with him at the helm and noticeably better with Barrett running things. The Gophers took Michigan to the brink yesterday before their own ineptitude got in the way; they have a huge chance to play spoiler once more against the Bucks. By the way, even if Ohio State does win this one, and win at Illinois on November 14, they've still got Sparty at home before The Big Game on November 28 at the Big House.
Remaining: Minnesota (Saturday), @ Illinois (11/14), Michigan State (11/21), Michigan (11/28)
3. LSU Tigers (7-0)
Last game: W 48-20 vs. Western Kentucky (10/24)
Sure, the Tigers have BERT and Arkansas to look forward to in two weeks, but next week at Alabama, at Ole Miss in two weeks and Texas A&M at home to round things out is a major boost to their strength of schedule. Losing to the Tide likely won't be the end of the world for Leonard Fournette and company, but they'd obviously prefer being in the best position possible to get to Atlanta and have a chance at having that all-important conference championship on their resume.
Remaining: @ Alabama (11/7), Arkansas (11/14), @ Ole Miss (11/21), Texas A&M (11/28)
4. TCU Horned Frogs (8-0)
Last game: W 40-10 vs. West Virginia (10/29)
The Frogs have been vanquishing opponents with startling offensive ease, and simply have one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the country in Trevone Boykin. Their main cause of concern, though it's settled of late, could be a defense that's given up 37, 52 and 45 this year, which, with an Oklahoma State team that hung 70 on
#FUTUREGAMECOCKSHEADCOACH Kliff Kingsbury and Texas Tech last week in their sights, lends itself to the belief that it will be another trademark Big 12 shootout with the Cowboys hoping to dash the Frogs' playoff hopes and boost their own. Fortunately, TCU has poor Kansas after that, before a critical game at Oklahoma and a potential game of the year showdown against Baylor in Forth Worth (if the Bears can manage without Seth Russell). I think the Frogs beat the Bears today, though, which is why I put them in at #4 instead of Baylor.
Remaining: @ Oklahoma State (11/7), Kansas (11/14), @ Oklahoma (11/21), Baylor (11/28)