College Football Playoff Era 2018
2018 Alabama 35, Georgia 28 SEC Championship
College Football Playoff: (1) Alabama 45, (4) Oklahoma 34 Orange Bowl College Football Playoff: (2) Clemson 30, (3) Notre Dame 3 CFP National Championship: (2) Clemson 44, (1) Alabama 16
This was the “Had To” CFP.
The CFP had to put in Alabama in the No. 1 spot and Clemson at No. 2. There wasn’t any beef there – they had to be 1-2 in some way – and they were both the lone unbeaten teams remaining from the Power Five conferences.
Notre Dame also went unbeaten in the regular season, and because of that, it had to be in. Was this really the third-best team in the country? That was debatable, but again, the CFP absolutely had to do it.
Oklahoma and Heisman-winner Kyler Murray suffered a last-second loss to Texas, but made up for it with a win over the Longhorns in the Big 12 Championship. There was no real argument – the Sooners were a Power Five champion win just one loss, and avenged it.
Clemson obliterated Notre Dame in one CFP game, Alabama got up fast and cruised against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, and Clemson destroyed Alabama in what should’ve been a special College Football Playoff National Championship, and was anything but.
Before all of that, the Big Ten should’ve and could’ve made things interesting, but it screwed itself up.
Michigan lost to Notre Dame to start the season, but if it could beat Ohio State, it would’ve been off to the Big Ten Championship to face Northwestern, likely would’ve won. the Wolverines would’ve been in the CFP, and Oklahoma probably would’ve been out. And then comes the theoretical part of the CFP.
The playoff is supposed to be based on who the four best teams are. Ohio State struggled at times, but it blew the doors off of Michigan with everything on the line in a 62-39 win. It became the first unbeaten or one-loss Power Five champion to not get in. Why?
Purdue 49, Ohio State 20.
Compared to Bama, Clemson and Notre Dame, and the Oklahoma team whose only loss was totally acceptable. The CFP committee had to leave the Buckeyes out – they went on to beat Washington in the Rose Bowl to go 13-1.
It wasn’t so simple when it came to Georgia.
The Bulldogs got blown out by LSU 36-16, but they rallied back to get to the SEC Championship against Alabama. UGA had control for most of the game, but after Tua Tagovailoa went down, Jalen Hurts came in and saved the day for the Crimson Tide with two fourth quarter touchdown drives – helped by a ill-fated Georgia fake punt attempt – as part of a run of 21 unanswered Bama points to get the win.
At the end of the regular season – with the way the SEC title game went down against what was considered an all-time great Bama team – was Georgia one of the four best teams? Maybe, but when it came to the four teams that got in, again, the CFP had to put in Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma.
Had Georgia held on it would’ve been in, and Oklahoma would’ve been left out.