After a fairly predictable Championship Saturday, we’re pretty much in the same spot with the same four teams as we have been for the last couple of weeks. The four teams are a foregone conclusion. How those four teams, or more likely how three of the four teams are seeded could be a different story. Despite the predictability, there were several things to take away from Saturday’s games.
- Iowa is legit. The Hawkeyes were widely looked at as the team that didn’t belong in the Top 4 due to their lack of a strong schedule, and just the essence of the unknown about them. They lost the game to the Spartans on that fabulous drive engineered by Connor Cook and finished off with that incredible run by LJ Scott. But, Kirk Ferentz’s Hawkeyes played like champions and deserve to be treated as such. The Hawkeyes belong in the Rose Bowl. Not Ohio State.
- North Carolina has come a long, long way under head coach Larry Fedora. Just like Iowa, the Tar Heels proved they belonged on the same field with Clemson. There’s no question the Tigers have the better overall athletes, but the Tar Heels have seen a huge upgrade in talent under Fedora. Quarterback Marquise Williams’ progression from early in his collegiate career is all you need to look at to see why basketball isn’t the only major sport having success in Chapel Hill.
- Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, and Clemson’s DaShaun Watson aren’t going away in the chase for the Heisman. It appeared that Bama’s Derrick Henry had all but locked up the Tide’s second ever Heisman Trophy. But, McCaffrey and Watson were incredible in their wins over USC and North Carolina, respectively. It’s anything but a forgone conclusion that Henry will win it. Although, he still does appear to be the front-runner.
We’ll find out who wins the Heisman on Saturday. But, later today we find out who’s in the College Football Playoffs when the Selection Committee reveals the matchups. For now, let’s take a look at Sports & Swag’s rankings for the final time this 2015 season and how the matchups should look come New Year’s Eve.
1. CLEMSON – What else can you say for Dabo Swinney and his Tigers. They handled their business, even if things did get a little shaky against the Tar Heels. North Carolina proved that they belonged in the game and made a nice showing. In the end, Clemson had too much talent. Do the Tigers have what it takes to win it all?
2. ALABAMA – We’ll keep the Tide right here at number 2. Bama was dominate for most of the afternoon against the Florida Gators on the way to their 25th SEC title. Henry, is of course the biggest piece of their puzzle offensively, but something tells me this defense is going to be the reason Bama wins the national title or not. Even, Florida found ways to get the ball down field with Treon Harris. Can Bama have the same success against the likes of Cook, Watson, or Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield?
3. MICHIGAN STATE – The Spartans jump the Sooners in our final poll. Mark Dantonio’s squad did just enough to prevail against a very good Iowa team. That win gives the Spartans two wins over teams that were previously undefeated in the past three weeks. That’s enough for me to put them over OU. Can the Spartans continue their season of magical endings into the playoffs and win it all?
4. OKLAHOMA – Nothing against the Sooners here. But, they didn’t play yesterday, and as mentioned above the Spartans last few weeks have been mighty impressive. Despite Texas’ win over Baylor yesterday, the loss in the Red River Rivalry still leaves a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Still, there’s no question that Bob Stoops’ Sooners have done enough to make this playoff. Can Baker Mayfield carry this loaded offense to the pinnacle of college football?
So, with that here’s how the matchups SHOULD look:
Cotton Bowl – North Dallas, Texas
2. ALABAMA vs 3. MICHIGAN STATE
Orange Bowl – Miami, Florida
1. CLEMSON vs 4. OKLAHOMA
The selection committee has the final word. But, to me this is the way the matchups should look. Oklahoma would have a huge advantage if they played in Dallas. Plus, there is natural fit with the Big 12, the ACC, and the Orange Bowl. Regardless, of how the committee does it, this College Football Playoff should be incredible!