College football playoff, 2015-2016

Douglas Whitson ’16

It’s almost that time of year again. The second annual college football playoff will take place this January. Four teams will make into a playoff to win the National Championship. There are seven teams that I believe can potentially make it into the playoff. Those teams are Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma, Iowa, Michigan State, Stanford, and North Carolina.

I’ll start by saying that Ohio State has no shot of making the playoff despite being ranked as the sixth seed as of right now. Their loss to Michigan State came too late in the season, and their not being in the Big Ten Title game essentially disqualifies them from getting into the playoff.

The reason why I included North Carolina in this list is because it would be difficult for the committee to keep them out if they beat an undefeated Clemson team in the ACC Championship game. It would be tough to keep out the ACC champ no matter how weak the ACC is this year. But if somehow the committee were to exclude North Carolina after beating Clemson, then that would mean that both Iowa and Michigan State get in or one of those two gets in along with Stanford if they beat USC in the Pac-12 Title game.

Onto Stanford we go. They need a lot of help if they’re going to be even heavily considered to get into the playoff. They need Clemson and/or Alabama to lose, and the committee would have to keep one of the two Big Ten teams out if one of those teams lost. For any of this to even be possible, Stanford has to win the Pac-12 Championship against a resurgent USC team with interim head coach, Clay Helton, getting the permanent head coaching job.

Next up are Michigan State and Iowa because they’re in the same boat. The winner of their game this weekend will no doubt be in the playoff. It gets tricky with the loser. The loser potentially gets in with a loss from Clemson or Alabama. These two control their own destinies.

The Oklahoma Sooners have been a lot of people’s dark horse to get into the playoff after their loss to Texas in the Red River Rivalry and an embarrassing one at that. Since then they have beaten TCU, Baylor, and Oklahoma State to win the Big-12 outright. Since they do not have a conference championship game they’re the only team out of the seven that is without a doubt in the playoff.

Now to Bama. I don’t like Alabama by any means at all so I’ll be brief about them. Alabama gets in if the win. If they lose to Florida in the SEC Championship they still could get in, but their chances are extremely slim.

Lastly we have Clemson. They’ll probably get in no matter what just because they’ve the best team all year, and if they lost it’d be to the tenth ranked team in the nation which is not something to frown at.

Since Clemson and Alabama have been so good this year, the playoff picture looks pretty cut and dry. If they both win, then the playoff will be those two, Oklahoma, and the winner of the Michigan State and Iowa game. But hey, it’s always fun to speculate isn’t it?