Sorry again that this is late. This week has been pretty crazy once again. Thinking of a topic this week was pretty tough, but I finally got something. I wanted to follow up on a topic I talked about a couple weeks ago.
Just today I had a professor reply to a tweet I made a couple of days ago. He brought up a good point that I want to debate, so shout out to Hayden Coombs for helping me out with this.
For this blog, I’ll simply outline the teams ahead of the Utah Utes in the College Football Playoff Rankings and what needs to happen for Utah to get in. I don’t think the Utes would get any higher than the final seed for the playoff, so it will just be the teams up to there. Right now those teams are Oregon, Alabama and Georgia.
Oregon is one spot ahead of the Utes in the Playoff Rankings. They’re even in the same conference as Utah. Justin Herbert has been pretty good for the Ducks this year, passing for 2,700 yards and 28 TDs. But the Ducks aren’t going to make the playoffs in my mind.
They’re final few games shouldn’t be bad. Arizona State has had a disappointing year as they are currenly 5-5, and Oregon State is still trying to rebuild, the same thing they’ve been doing since the Rodgers brothers left. The Ducks will walk into the PAC-12 Championship Game with ease.
But the Championship Game is where they’re going to suffer they’re second loss of the season. The early season loss to Auburn isn’t hurting them at this point, but the loss I’m expecting them to take against Utah will end their playoff hopes.
Late season games mean a lot more than early season, and with it being the last game of the year, Oregon will fall out of contetnion. The Rose Bowl will be a nice consolation prize, but that’s all it will be for the Ducks… a consolation prize.
It’s weird enough that Bama isn’t in the top 4 right now… It’s weirder to think they might not make the playoff at all. As good as Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide are, you have to reward a team that’s won its Conference Championship over a team sitting on the couch for a week.
With only two games left, it’s going to be hard for Bama to get into the rankings. They really have to hope one of the PAC-12 schools loses and Georgia losses before the SEC Championship Game. The loss to LSU isn’t bad, it might actually help their case. The Tide were down big and mounted a huge comeback before ultimiatly losing the game. LSU is the top ranked team, you can’t fault them for that.
The problem with their schedule is that it’s kinda….. pathetic. Bama has their usual warmup game this week, and then the Iron Bowl next week. Don’t let the rankings fool you. That’s going to be a very intense game. But these two games combined are the same as Bama playing one game against a team ranked in the the 50s somewhere. Not a great resume builder.
Overall, Bama is going to miss out on the playoffs if Georgia makes it to the SEC Championship. Not having a team even make it to their Conference Championship game is not a good look for the College Football Playoff, no matter how good the team is. Plus, with Tua Tagovailoa out, there’s no telling how the Iron Bowl will play out.
This may be the hardest team to actually determine a playoff spot for. The Georgia Bulldogs are without a doubt one of the best teams in college football. Assuming they beat Texas A&M this week, they’ll be playing in the SEC Championship against LSU. They can’t slip up against Georgia Tech though. Even though that game doesn’t count toward SEC standings, it still counts toward the playoffs.
Realisticaly speaking, I see the Bulldogs winning both these games. It’s the title game against LSU that really puts everything on hold. Assuming LSU wins, Georgia would be out. But what does the Committee do then? Do they put in Alabama? Or do they put in the winner of the PAC-12? Maybe Minnesota pulls off a huge win against Ohio State in the BIG 10 Championship? Do they vault over everyone?
But what if Georgia wins? Does the committee keep in LSU because they’re only loss is to a top 4 team? Does LSU fall out? Georgia winning out would set everything on fire for the College Football Playoff.
Can’t end without talking about Utah. The Utes easily have the best team they’ve ever had. Tyler Huntly. Zack Moss. Demari Simpkins. The Hallendale Trio is a force to be reckoned with. Imagine how good this team would be if Britain Covey wasn’t taking a redshirt! (Although, he is going to be one HELL of a player next year with all the experiece he is getting with the coaches.)
Being ranked 7th in the standings is huge for Utah. But they know they can do more. Their schedule helps them out. Arizona should be a “gimme game”, at least according to some media members down in Tucson. Colorado is a trap game, as they’re record doesn’t really show how good they are. That leaves Utah with an 11-1 record going into the PAC-12 Championship where, as stated above, I expect them to win.
But it’s that one loss that’s realy killer. USC is not as good of a team this year as they’re pedigree says they should have been. Clay Helton is on the hot seat, and his teams record relfects the uncertainty. At the time of the loss, USC had was 3-1 and was close to being ranked. Since then, the Trojans have gone 4-3 with bad losses to BYU and Washington. The other two losses spell good for Utah. USC lost to Oregon and Notre Dame, two ranked teams.
The four wins are a blowout of Arizona, a close game to Colorado, a close game to Arizona State and a blowout of Cal. If the Trojans can beat UCLA, which I expect them to because UCLA is not that good of a team, then the loss Utah took won’t look so bad. Losing to an 8-4 team is very differnt than losing to a 7-5 team who finished the season with a .500 mark.
The Utes also have to pray for a Georgia loss at any time, along with the Committee taking the PAC-12 winner over Alabama. Of course this all comes with the expectation that the team wins out their final games.
The College Football Playoff isn’t supposed to be easy to make. There’s a reason that only the best teams make it in. They have gone through a lot of hard work to make it. That last spot is even harder to make. Luck, prejudice and scheduling from previous years are a huge factor. Something teams can’t always control. Utah has done their job, now they just need everything to fall into place for them.
That’s it for this week! What do you guys think? Is Utah going to make the playoffs? Or will Georgia, Alabama, Oregon or some other Dark Horse team come out of nowhere and steal the spot? Let me know on social media!