There are four teams that everyone already assumes will be in the college football playoffs this season. The Clemson Tigers, the Alabama Crimson Tide, the Georgia Bulldogs, and the Ohio State Buckeyes. And although Alabama is now No. 1, Clemson still leads on the NCAA football odds boards to repeat as national champions.
But LSU is still undefeated, with an offense that is scoring 57.75 points per game and a defense that’s allowing just 9 points per game at home.
Clemson showed us some serious signs of weakness against the University of North Carolina the other week. Auburn hasn’t lost and neither has Florida. The SEC is loaded with the potential for a shakeup, and after what we saw in Week 4, any one of those teams could give Clemson trouble in the playoffs. Auburn plays Florida this week – Week 5– so one of those teams will have a loss. And with that said, Auburn just may have the toughest schedule in college football. They opened against a tough No. 13 Oregon squad – No. 11 at the time–- played No. 25 Texas A&M and won, get No. 10 Florida this week, have No. 5 LSU a couple of weeks from now and close their season with No. 1 Alabama. If they make it through that schedule with only a loss to Alabama, they would need to be in consideration for the CFP. Given their schedule, I feel like a one-loss –if that loss was to Bama– LSU team is more worthy of the playoffs than an undefeated Clemson team who ran the table on a weak ACC schedule – and I’m not a biased SEC fan.
Oklahoma is another unbeaten squad but even if they run the table, they would have to destroy every opponent because their schedule is fairly weak. They get texas this week, which is the toughest team they’ll face all season. Over in the Big 10, there is a plethora of unbeaten teams, all of them tough and with pedigree. Iowa, Wisconsin, Penn State, Minnesota, and of course, Ohio State. However, I don’t think any of those could out-bid an SEC team – other than perhaps Penn State if they ran the table and beat Ohio State, due to their tough schedule.
If Ohio State and Clemson were to play today, I think the Buckeyes would roll right over the top of the Tigers. The Buckeyes defense has been swarming and their offense firing on all cylinders. What UNC was able to do to Clemson showed that they have quite a few soft spots on defense. If Mack Brown had elected to kick the PAT and take that game into overtime, the Clemson Tigers could already be on the outside looking in.
So, whether or not Clemson makes the National Championship game really depends on the playoff draw. I do think they will run the table on the ACC and finish with a perfect record. And even if they don’t 100 percent stomp the rest of their schedule, the fact that they are the defending national champs will get them the CFP berth. But if they make the finals really depends on the draw. They could get a team like the Buckeyes in the first game and get knocked out. Or, they could get Bama, who they match up well against and cruise right into the national championship game.