College Football Eliminator 2016-17: Selection Edition
Before I start, I would just like to take a moment to thank the hundreds of people that read my articles every week and the thousands of people that have read this blog over the span of a few months. From Germany to the Dominican Republic, from Canada to Singapore and everywhere in-between, every single one of you have given me the opportunity to begin my sports writing career as a high school student. I have been able to successfully start my first blog with this great platform and have received letters from companies willing to pay for my writing services which has always been a goal of mine, all thanks to college football junkies and readers of my blog like you. Please let me know what kinds of articles you would enjoy reading in relation to other college and professional sports going on, I will take them all into consideration for my next project. In the meantime, this edition of the Eliminator includes all my New Year's Six projections, College Football Playoff predictions, and a short story about cookies. Thank you again and enjoy the 15th and final edition of this year's College Football Eliminator!
We started with 128 teams in contention for the College Football Playoff. 122 were eliminated during the regular season, not including Penn State. I eliminated the Nittany Lions after 2-2 start and road losses to Pittsburgh and Michigan by a combined 42 points. After their upset of Ohio State, they managed to rise in the rankings and slowly but surely earn their way back into the top ten and into the Big Ten Championship Game where they defeated Wisconsin 38-31. Now with top-ten victories under their belt, a conference championship, and a head-to-head victory over Ohio State this season, Penn State could very well claim the final spot in the playoff over one-loss Big Ten East runner-up Ohio State. Not likely and not favorable in my opinion, but it's up to the committee, not me. Other than Penn State, five teams managed to survive every single elimination week and three or four of them will play for a national title in January. Those teams include Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Washignton, and Western Michigan. Due to the Broncos' weak schedule, Western Michigan really isn't in consideration for the playoff at all, but it just isn't fair to eliminate a team with a zero in the loss column. In chronological order, here's how each team stacks up with just hours before the teams are announced (about ten hours and forty minutes after this article is posted).
1 AM Saturday: With a 41-10 win over Colorado in the PAC-12 Championship Game on Friday night, Washington earned their first conference title since 2000 and punched their ticket to the third edition of the College Football Playoff in the process. Their blowout of the top-10 team surely won't bring them down any spot in the final rankings. Now seeding is the only thing Washington needs to worry about come noon on Sunday, where they will either meet Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson if they win, or the Big Ten Championship Game winner if Clemson loses. WASHINGTON: IN.
8 PM Saturday: The Crimson Tide rolled over Florida 54-16 to move to 13-0 and comfortably put them in the first seed, so they will be making another trip to Atlanta to face the fourth-ranked team in the College Football Playoff semi-final, the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. They will go down as the only team to be apart of the first three College Football Playoffs. At this point in the night, the playoff picture is very simple. If Clemson wins, the field is set: Alabama, Clemson, Washington, and Ohio State not seeded in any particular order other than Alabama securely at #1. If Clemson loses, the winner of the Big Ten Championship Game joins the other three teams in the fourth and final spot. Michigan, Oklahoma, and (sigh) yes, Western Michigan are all out of the picture, but we'll see all of them in New Year's Six games, thanks to Temple. ALABAMA: IN.
12 AM Sunday: An interception with just over a minute to go, Clemson sealed their 42-35 victory over Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game and a return trip to the College Football Playoff, most likely facing Ohio State in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. At this point, it's near useless to speculate as to who will be #2 and #3, a changing in seeding between these two spots is useless, unless the committee thinks Washington should jump Ohio State, which would set up an Alabama-Ohio State semi-final re-match from the 2015 Sugar Bowl and the first Clemson-Washington match-up ever. Penn State doesn't get in over Ohio State in my mind. CLEMSON: IN. OHIO STATE: VERY LIKELY IN. PENN STATE: VERY LIKELY OUT. WESTERN MICHIGAN: OUT.
The Four Playoff Teams
Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Washington are the four teams in the playoff. If I had to seed them myself, it would be in that order. Alabama has certainly clinched the #1 seed and a spot in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. They will face the #4 seed, likely PAC-12 champion Washington. It would be the first meeting between these two teams since the 1986 Sun Bowl, a 28-6 Alabama victory. Alabama is 4-0 in the all-time series. The PlayStation Fiesta Bowl hosts the match-up of the #2 and #3 seeds, which I believe should belong to Clemson and Ohio State, it really doesn't matter if these two teams' seeding gets switched, nothing changes in that case. Now for the fun part: prediction time! Alabama moves to 5-0 in the all-time Alabama-Washington series with a 45-19 win and Ohio State gets their first all-time win over Clemson in a re-match of the 2014 Orange Bowl (with players left from that season on both rosters!) 21-17. In the first ever College Football Playoff re-match (2015 Sugar Bowl), the Crimson Tide repeat as champions with an exciting 31-28 win over the Buckeyes.
Outside Looking In
Here sit the first four teams out of the playoff in my book: Western Michigan, Penn State, Oklahoma, and Michigan. I have no idea what the Broncos will be ranked in the final ranking (somewhere around #11 probably), but I am really pulling for them to win the Cotton Bowl when they get selected to make a statement not just for them, but for the Group of Five as a whole: Wins are wins, let us in. Don't let me down, Broncos. Kudos to you for rowing the boat all the way to an undefeated season. Penn State's comeback victory in the Big Ten Championship Game puts the committee in a strange position because hypothetically, three spots are filled and the last one will be filled by Ohio State or Penn State. The Nittany Lions beat the Buckeyes at Beaver Stadium back in October, but they finished with two losses. Ohio State isn't the conference champion, but Penn State was their only defeat of the year. In my mind, the committee takes the Buckeyes. We'll find out tomorrow at noon. The 2-loss conference champion Oklahoma Sooners can't be compared to Penn State, losing their head-to-head match-up with Ohio State by three touchdowns while Penn State beat the Buckeyes. Oklahoma will face either Auburn or Florida in the Sugar Bowl this year. The Michigan Wolverines will likely find themselves in the Orange Bowl facing either Florida State or Louisville after sitting at home this week with two losses. No playoff for maize and blue this year.
New Year's Six Games
(CFP Semi-Final) Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl: Alabama-Washington
(CFP Semi-Final) PlayStation Fiesta Bowl: Ohio State-Clemson
Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual: Penn State-USC
Allstate Sugar Bowl: Auburn-Oklahoma
Capital Orange Bowl: Wisconsin-Florida State
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: Western Michigan-Michigan
Next in line: Colorado, Louisville, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Florida
In the final week of the Eliminator, several two-loss teams that were resuscitated late in the season will return to the 'Eliminated' category after either losing or because of the result of a game with a higher-ranked team.
Colorado - Here's a short story I made up called 'If You Give the Colorado Offensive Linemen Cookies'. Enjoy. If you give the Colorado offensive linemen cookies, they will eat the cookies. If they eat the cookies, the linemen will get slow. If the linemen get slow, they will not be able to protect the quarterback. If they don't protect the quarterback, he will get beat up. If he gets beat up, he will eventually get injured. If he eventually gets injured, the back-up will go in. If the back-up goes in, he will not do well. If he doesn't do well, the starter will try coming back into the game. If the starter tries coming back into the game, he will throw interceptions. If he throws interceptions, Colorado will lose 41-10. Chances are, if Colorado loses 41-10, they will go to the Rose Bowl. If Colorado goes to the Rose Bowl, the offensive linemen will want cookies to celebrate. It's a cycle. The End. Bestseller.
Oklahoma - Just on the outside looking in, but also definitely eliminated. When the Big 12 adds a conference championship game next year, a team like Oklahoma will have a much better chance of making the final four. This will be the second time in the three-year history of the College Football Playoff where the Big 12 is completely left out of the final four.
Oklahoma State - With their loss in the Bedlam Game to rival Oklahoma 38-20, Oklahoma State clarified that they would not be in the running for the playoff if Washington hadn't done that for them already.
Wisconsin - The Badgers in the Holiday Bowl vs. Colorado or USC could be fun.
Eliminated in Week 13
Eliminated in Week 12
Louisville, West Virginia
Eliminated in Week 11
Eliminated in Week 10
Baylor, Florida, Nebraska, Texas A&M
Eliminated in Week 9
Boise State, Utah
Eliminated in Week 8
Eliminated in Week 7
Arizona State, Maryland, Miami, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Wisconsin
Eliminated in Week 6
Air Force, Arkansas, Colorado, Houston, Indiana, Minnesota, North Carolina, Stanford, Texas Tech
Eliminated in Week 5
Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Memphis, Michigan State, Navy, San Diego State, TCU, Texas, Toledo
Eliminated in Week 4*
Arizona, Army, Central Michigan, Georgia Southern, LSU, Oregon, Penn State* (survived final elimination), Pittsburgh, South Carolina, South Florida, UCLA
Eliminated in Week 3
Auburn, Cincinnati, Colorado State, Duke, East Carolina, Illinois, Iowa, Marshall, Missouri, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Southern Miss
Eliminated in Week 2
Akron, Ball State, BYU, California, Connecticut, Eastern Michigan, Florida Atlantic, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee, NC State, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma State, Old Dominion, Purdue, SMU, South Alabama, Syracuse, Texas Tech, Troy, Tulsa, UCF, UNLV, Utah State, UTEP, UTSA, Western Kentucky, Wyoming
Eliminated in Week 1
Appalachian State, Boston College, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Charlotte, FIU, Fresno State, Georgia State, Hawaii, Iowa State, Kent State, Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, Massachusetts, Miami (OH), Mississippi State, New Mexico State, North Texas, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Ohio, Oregon State, Rice, Rutgers, San Jose State, Southern California, Temple, Tulane, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Washington State
Check back next August to find out where your team stands in 'College Football Eliminator 2017-18: Preview'!!