What team controls its destiny for the College Football Playoff, but won’t end up making the cut for the final four? The Campus Insiders team debates in this roundtable.
This is an interesting question since it can be argued that no team truly controls its own destiny considering everything is in the hands of a committee (also: destiny, by definition, cannot be controlled – that’s Fatalism 101, cuz). But I digress …
The answer is Washington. Of all the eligible teams (Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, Ohio State and Washington), the Huskies have the most difficult route. They play a resurgent USC squad this weekend, finish the season against an excellent Washington State team (in Pullman, no less), and then would potentially face Colorado or a Utah team that nearly upset them.
Then you factor in that the College Football Playoff committee doesn’t respect Washington as much as the other programs. Despite fielding the nation’s most complete team, Washington was ranked outside the Top 4 in the first CFP rankings. Lose just once and that’s it, hit the bricks. The Huskies most certainly have what it takes to win the national championship, but they’re also set up to be on the outside looking in.
It’s going to be Clemson. The Tigers have had a few close calls this season (Auburn, N.C. State, FSU) and Deshaun Watson doesn’t seem to be 100%. Sure, the loser of Michigan-Ohio State will ultimately be out, but I see Clemson losing as well and throwing the entire College Football Playoff committee into chaos, which I’d love to see happen.
The loser of the Michigan-Ohio State game will be out, and that means Ohio State won’t be in the College Football Playoff. Call it an early game prediction or whatever, but Michigan is going to win that game Nov. 26, and it’s going to be a huge statement with it coming in Columbus. The fact of the matter is of all the teams we’re talking about here, this is the only head-to-head matchup left. And since it’s nearly assured that the loser is out – unless the rest all lose and the CFP committee ponders two Big Ten teams – it makes the most sense to go with one of them.
Ohio State looked like a playoff team last week against Nebraska, but the Cornhuskers didn’t have Tommy Armstrong Jr. for a majority of it and they’re just not very good anyway. The Buckeyes needed a big game like that, but Michigan continues to shut down everyone with a defense that’s the best in the nation by the numbers. It will do the same to Ohio State and ultimately eliminate the Buckeyes from this race.
Despite the fact that I believe Michigan is a better overall team than Ohio State this season, I’m going with the Wolverines to miss out on the College Football Playoff for one simple reason: Urban Meyer is a master of rivalry games. Ohio State also gets Michigan in The Shoe, which helps immensely. It’s going to be one hell of a slugfest, but the Buckeyes get it done in their home stadium, squashing the CFP dreams of the hated Wolverines. Watch this and then tell me I’m wrong.