College Football Playoff Final Top Ten Prediction
10. Iowa State Cyclones 8-3 (6)
The earlier win over Oklahoma and the good late run of five straight wins before the Big 12 Championship should be enough to keep the Cyclones close to the top ten, if not in. This is big for a New Year’s Six slot. Get here, and get a big bowl game.
9. Georgia Bulldogs 7-2 (8)
The rise of JT Daniels as the starting quarterback helped turn the season around in the second half – he wasn’t the QB against Alabama or Florida. If your only two sins are losses to the Tide and Gators away from home – and you dominated everyone else – that’s not bad.
8. Florida Gators 8-3 (7)
The entire body of work is taken into account. The Gators might have lost at home to LSU, the win over Georgia, the strong performance in the SEC Championship, and the team looked good enough the rest of the way to make it into the top eight.
7. Oklahoma Sooners 9-2 (10)
It was a terrific season for the Sooners after a 1-2 start, rolling for seven straight wins with a dominant run before taking out Iowa State for the Big 12 Championship. That, with a win over Texas, and a spot in the New Year’s Six – it was a good season.
6. Cincinnati Bearcats 9-0 (9)
There’s just no great win. Beating Tulsa 27-24 in the American Athletic Conference Championship is fine, but you have as many wins over Power Five programs as the Bearcats had this season. The win over the Golden Hurricane was stronger than the final score, but it would’ve been nice if it was a total wipeout.
5. Texas A&M Aggies 8-1 (5)
There just isn’t that second win. The Aggies might deserve it – methodical time of possession dominant is sexy – but there’s the Florida win, and … crickets. The 52-24 win over Alabama happened in early October, but there isn’t the wow factor. Speaking of the lack of WOW …
The College Football Playoff Top Four Will Be …
4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish 10-1 (2)
Fiiiiiiiiiine. There’s going to be zero interest in seeing the Irish after that 34-10 ACC Championship performance against Clemson, but they earned a top four spot with a win over the Tigers early on and – the key to being here over Texas A&M – is the 31-17 win at North Carolina.
3. Ohio State Buckeyes 6-0 (4)
Ehhhhhhhh, the Buckeyes are here at the three, but it’s only because they’re unbeaten, and the committee already professed their love early in the process. They were missing 22 players for the Big Ten Championship win over Northwestern, but it’s a soft 3 on the deserve scale. It doesn’t matter – it’ll end up getting a rematch of last year’s College Football Playoff semifinal against …
2. Clemson Tigers 10-1 (3)
Now that’s the Clemson we all know and love. It’s not like the team played poorly when DJ Uiagalelei was under center – especially against Notre Dame – but the Tigers came out far stronger, far sharper, and far better in a dominant ACC Championship win over Notre Dame.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide 11-0 (1)
A no-brainer call, Alabama’s the dominant unbeaten SEC Champion with a blowout win over Texas A&M and the strong title game victory over Florida. The Gators provided a push, but that was about it for the on-field drama.