For the first time in the College Football Playoff era, it looks like we’re about to see a semifinal in which two of the top four teams hail from the Big Ten.
That’s thanks to USC, which despite a brilliant first quarter start, but then after an in-game injury to quarterback Caleb Williams and its complete inability to stop anything on defense at the worst possible moment of the season, dropped an ugly decision to Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
That sound you hear is the chorus of cheers from the state of Ohio, which just saw its path to the playoff open back up as a result.
Here’s your look at our new prediction for the College Football Playoff after the events in Las Vegas and heading into Conference Championship Saturday.
4. Ohio State. A week ago, this team appeared to have played itself out of the College Football Playoff after a lackluster showing at home against Michigan, but with USC’s loss to Utah and Alabama sitting behind OSU in the rankings at two losses, that should in all certainly allow the Buckeyes back in the final four with a huge chance at redemption on the national stage.
3. TCU. We project that the Horned Frogs will win the Big 12 Championship Game against challenger Kansas State, but it’ll be close. Max Duggan is one of college football’s most efficient passers, he has some of the best skill threats in the nation, the TCU looks like a lock for the final four as an undefeated conference champion. And most likely as a 1-loss team, too.
2. Michigan. Not having Blake Corum didn’t seem to hamper the Wolverines’ offense in the Ohio State game and it’s not expected to in the Big Ten Championship Game against Purdue, either. Even if Michigan were to lose, it’s expected to maintain a spot in the top four owing to its undefeated regular season record, its appearance in the B1G title game, and other teams playing themselves out of contention. But the Wolverines need the win in Indy in order to preserve this No. 2 seed and not fall in the rankings.
1. Georgia. No debates on the No. 1 team in college football after the defending national champion finished the regular season undefeated and isn’t budging from the top four even if it loses to LSU in the SEC Championship Game, something that no one is really expecting will happen. The nation’s top scoring defense is the engine behind Georgia’s success, while Stetson Bennett has turned this into a big-play aerial attack with two of the game’s premier tight ends.