College Football Playoff Preview
November 22, 2018
The regular season for college football will be coming to a close soon, but the playoffs begin in less than a month.
The official College Football Playoff Rankings have been announced, and some familiar faces sit at the top. Alabama and Clemson, who have stayed in the top five in the Associated Press Poll the entire season. They sit at the top of the rankings at one and two respectively. However, Notre Dame and Michigan started outside of the AP Poll top ten, but now round out the top four in the College Football Playoff Rankings.
If the playoffs started today, the oneseed, Alabama, would play the four seed, Michigan, while the two seed, Clemson, would be playing the three seed, Notre Dame. However, since a few weeks remain in the season, these rankings could be possibly subject to change. A few weeks ago, LSU sat at third in the rankings, but a loss to Alabama dropped them to seventh.
Oklahoma and Georgia are projected to be the first two teams out. Both teams made the playoffs last season and faced each other in the semi finals. Despite Oklahoma having the higher seed, Georgia won the game with in overtime 54-48. Meanwhile, Alabama was put at the four seed and pitted against Clemson, but the Crimson Tide managed to pull off the upset as well, beating Clemson 24-6. In the 2018 championship game, Alabama came back from a 13 point deficit to beat Georgia 26-23.
The race for the starting quarterback position has been a major storyline this season for both Alabama and Clemson. For Clemson, freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence turned some heads with his outstanding performance early in the season and became the starter after four games. This strongly displeased senior Kelly Bryant, the original starting quarterback, and Bryant has sat out the rest of the season. Since he only played four games, Bryant will be eligible to redshirt the season (meaning it will not count against his college eligibility and he can replay his senior year) and plans to transfer after the season ends.
For Alabama, senior Jalen Hurts was their go-to starter at quarterback last season, but was benched during the championship game after the Crimson Tide went down 13-0 at halftime. Backup Tua Tagovailoa, then a freshman but now a sophomore, took over and led Alabama to a victory. At the start of the season, a debate rose as to who should start at quarterback for Alabama. Head coach Nick Saban decided to stick with Tagovailoa, but gave a good portion of snaps to Hurts. But as the season went on, Tagovailoa eventually gained full control of the starting position for the Crimson Tide.
In regards for Michigan and Notre Dame, they actually faced off head-to-head earlier in the season. In the first game of the season, Notre Dame took control of the game early and beat Michigan 24-17. Since then, both teams have not lost any games and look to keep it that way. Both teams will have a difficult roadblock to make it to the playoffs. The Fighting Irish will play against No.13 Syracuse on Nov. 17, while the Wolverines finish their season against No.10 Ohio State University on Nov. 24.