So as I am sure you all know by now, the first CFP rankings came out yesterday. Now a lot of people are pissed because LSU is #3, and pretty much ignoring that they are playing Alabama this week so that will probably change. That’s not why I am writing this. I am writing this because with five weeks left in the regular season and then the conference championships, I thought I’d give my thoughts on who is going to win their conference, as well as give my thoughts on who’s going to the playoffs.
Power 5 Predictions
Runner Up: Pittsburgh
Clemson seems to have this wrapped up already so it doesn’t even matter who they play in the ACC Championship game. Clemson is by far the second best team in the nation and I don’t really expect them to sweat much until the playoffs. I picked Pittsburgh because it would be funny to see a 4-loss team have a 60-bomb dropped on them. They play Virginia and Virginia Tech in the next two weeks, so if they win those games they’ll be made in the shade.
Runner Up: Michigan
More or less another meme prediction. For some reason Northwestern just plays lights out against conference opponents. Gave the game away to Michigan so I expect not only a rematch but I also expect them to get revenge. On the other side, it seems like Jim Harbaugh is finally going to finish higher than 3rd place for the first time in his tenure. With all the drama happening at Ohio State, it seems like the perfect opportunity for Michigan to strike.
Runner Up: West Virginia
Oklahoma seems to be improving slowly on the defensive side although it is still a big weakness. However, when you have a Heisman candidate along with a Big 12 offense, it can mask some of those issues. But if this prediction holds true, we get to see Kyler Murray and Will Grier will go toe-to-toe in back-to-back weeks. Honestly that sounds like a dream.
Champion: Washington State
Runner Up: Utah
Much like always, the Pac 12 is a mess. Then there is Mike Leach, who has the only team with less than two losses. So the Pac 12 having a playoff team is in the hands of Mike Leach and I couldn’t be happier. They will have a tough challenge as they did play Utah very close earlier in the season. Obviously if Utah wins, there won’t be a Pac 12 team in the playoffs–because it is very unlikely now–but Utah is actually a good team.
Runner Up: Georgia
I am not going to delude myself into thinking anyone has a real chance at beating Alabama this season. Georgia is borderline elite and will probably wax Kentucky to win the East but they don’t stand much of a chance against Alabama. Georgia lost a ton of talent and experience on the defensive end and Alabama gained the Heisman favorite at QB. How do you really think that’s going to go?
Group of 5
AAC: Houston over UCF
C-USA: FIU over UAB
MAC: Buffalo over Western Michigan
MWC: Boise State over SDSU
Sun Belt: Georgia Southern over ULL
Again I am not deluding myself into thinking any team besides Clemson has more than a 10% chance at beating Alabama. They have the best coach in college football history, the defense year in and year out, a running back corps that reloads every year, and THEN a Heisman QB. I’m sorry, if they can win a title with Jake Coker and go 39-3 with Jalen Hurts and Blake Sims, I am not getting my hopes up.
The clear-cut second best team in the nation. They struggled early on but a combination of having to split snaps with Kelly Bryant vs Texas A&M and having Trevor Lawrence getting knocked out early vs Syracuse will do that. They definitely found their guy that will lead for the next few years along with their defense which has been nothing less than spectacular this season. Really the only team that could possible take down Alabama–although it is still very unlikely.
Obviously the most explosive offense in the country. West Virginia is the only team who stands in their way but things look pretty good for Oklahoma. However, one off game Murray and their offense and they will probably be knocked out. This team is probably the least confident of the four I am picking.
4-Seed: Washington State
The legend himself. Mike Leach. Having him and Nick Saban within five feet of each other answering questions is the epitome of must-watch TV. Yet another team who can run up the score but are much more sound defensively. With the Pac 12 being at rock bottom, it seems very clear that Washington State will at least make the conference championship. If they beat Utah, I don’t see why we should keep this legend out of the playoffs.
Teams outside looking in–because my predictions usually suck
Texas, West Virginia, Georgia, LSU, Kentucky, Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, and UCF.