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College Playoff

Chris Amaral ' 19, Staff Writer

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With the rankings now set it stone, we can finally preview the College Football Playoff as it looms near. The final rankings were always going to be interesting, especially after the shakeup in the last four weeks with six teams dropping their games, some to terrible teams.

Auburn’s place seemed set after taking out #1 Alabama and facing #6 Georgia that it had previously clobbered. Auburn ended up being dominated by Georgia, which handed the university its third loss of the season and essentially eliminated it from contention. #4 Wisconsin carried an undefeated record into the Big 10 title, mostly due to a weak schedule, yet came up short versus an Ohio State team that had some hiccups earlier in the season. Some continue to argue that Ohio State should be in based on its conference championship; others argue that Ohio State had too many losses to be considered. Nonetheless, the final rankings are as follows: 1. Clemson – 2. Oklahoma – 3. Georgia – 4. Alabama. Each team has some glaring issues that make this the most unpredictable playoff we have had.

Clemson (12-1), the unanimous #1 for a few weeks, had a loss to a mediocre Syracuse football team on the road. Regardless, it has crushed every other opponent in its wake, but this loss is concerning as it shows a chink in the armor of the best team in college football. Clemson is led by dual-threat QB Kelly Bryant, who has been a revelation this season, and the 2nd best point defense in the country.

The #2 team in the country, Oklahoma (12-1), has had some trademark wins over ranked programs (#8 TCU, #2 Ohio State, #11 Oklahoma State, #10 TCU) this season and is led by Baker Mayfield, who has more than 4,000 yards through the air, and the 4th best offense in college football. However, OU has a loss at home to Iowa State.

For #3 seed Georgia (12-1), the problems are a bit more glaring. While it does have wins over decent ranked programs (#24 Notre Dame and #17 Mississippi State) and a conference championship (against #2 Auburn), the program was absolutely clobbered by Auburn 40-17. Regardless, it rebounded and defeated that same Auburn team in the SEC Championship; however, these issues are still present. Georgia has the 4th best defense in the country and an offense led by two star running backs: Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, both of whom ran for around 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns.

The most controversial inclusion to the playoff was that of #4 Alabama (11-1). Alabama sports the best defense in the country and Jalen Hurts, who has 2,000 yards in the air and 750 on the ground, but it doesn’t sport its typical signature wins. Bama scraped by against #18 Mississippi State on a late TD and beat #19 LSU, but was handily defeated by #6 Auburn in the Iron Bowl and didn’t participate in a conference championship game. With Clemson taking on Alabama in a rematch of last year’s championship game and the high-powered Oklahoma offense taking on the brick wall, hard-as-nails Georgia defense, time will tell what weaknesses each team will have exploited.

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