With most of the Week 2 slate in the books, here are the project top 4 teams that would make the College Football Playoff if the season ended today.
Yes, we are only two weeks into the 2018 NCAA season, but college football is back in our lives and that is a very good thing. What else is good is the prospect of making the College Football Playoff.
We still have through the early part of December to sort all of this out, but there have been a handful of teams that look like they could play in the Playoff tomorrow. If the season ended after Week 2, here is our best guess at how would make the final four and which two teams would be the first two out.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
This should come as no surprise, but the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide would be, and should be, the No. 1 seed in the national semifinals. Alabama dismantled the Louisville Cardinals last week down in Orlando, 51-14. The Crimson Tide proceeded to boat race the Arkansas State Red Wolves in their home opener on Saturday afternoon, 57-7.
True sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s play has essentially crushed any notion that true junior quarterback Jalen Hurts will ever win back his starting job in Tuscaloosa. Look for him to transfer immediately upon graduation in December. He only has two more games that he can play in for 2018 to still qualify for a redshirt. Keep an eye on that.
Simply put, Alabama is absolutely loaded on the offensive side of the ball and will presumably reload defensively as the season progresses under the tutelage of iconic head coach Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide are the best team in college football right now and until proven otherwise.
2. Clemson Tigers
Alabama’s biggest challenger around the Power 5 would have to be the three-time defending champions of the ACC in Dabo Swinney’s Clemson Tigers. Clemson won easily in Week 1 over the Furman Paladins, 48-7. However, their high-profile trip to College Station this week was anything but that.
Clemson held on to beat Jimbo Fisher’s Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field in sloppy conditions, 28-26 on Saturday night in Week 2. A late rally by Texas A&M may have exposed inefficiencies in the Clemson secondary. Expect defensive coordinator Brent Venables to correct those issues.
Right now, the biggest dilemma Clemson faces is who to play more at quarterback: the incumbent Kelly Bryant or the true freshman gunslinger Trevor Lawrence. Clemson could cake walk to a fourth-straight ACC championship if a team like the Virginia Tech Hokies doesn’t measure up.
3. Georgia Bulldogs
It’s pretty clear that the best teams in college football play down south. Last year’s national runner-up in the Georgia Bulldogs have looked mighty impressive two weeks into their slate. Georgia shutout the Austin Peay Governors in Week 1, 45-0. This was expected, as Georgia usually clobbers FCS opponents at home.
What did come as a surprise was how effortlessly the Dawgs bullied their SEC East rival South Carolina Gamecocks on the road in Columbia. Georgia demolished Will Muschamp’s No. 24 team, 41-17. Though the Dawgs were expected to win, who honestly saw them blowing out a quality SEC squad on the road in South Carolina?
Georgia did lose many great players to the 2018 NFL Draft, but has several still on team rocking the Red and Black. Quarterback Jake Fromm plays with a poise of a man several years older than his 19 years of age. Though Georgia may not beat Alabama should they meet in the SEC Championship, there is a good chance the Dawgs get to Atlanta to face the Crimson Tide unscathed. That only helps them getting back to the College Football Playoff as an at-large team.
4. Wisconsin Badgers
The last team in this week does not call the Southeastern United States home. That would be the Wisconsin Badgers, who have a front-runner for the 2018 Heisman Trophy in running back Jonathan Taylor leading the way for them.
Wisconsin has cruised to two easy non-conference wins over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and the New Mexico Lobos to begin the year at 2-0. Paul Chryst’s team is sound defensively and balanced offensively. His defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard is on the fast track to being a head ball coach in the college landscape. Then again, he might love his gig coaching defenders at his alma mater.
After missing out last year, we should expect the Big Ten to get a team into the Playoff. Wisconsin should get to the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis pretty easily. The question is who the Badgers would face at Lucas Oil Stadium when they do get there. Since there is uncertainty coming from the Big Ten East, Wisconsin has to edge out that division’s winner as the last team in this week.
First Two Out: Ohio State Buckeyes, Auburn Tigers
The first two teams out this week would be the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Auburn Tigers. Of course, both teams are undefeated and could absolutely reach the College Football Playoff at regular season’s end. For now, they are on the outside looking in and here’s why.
Ohio State may be 2-0, but the Buckeyes’ two wins are against two of the worst teams in the Power 5 in Oregon State and division rival Rutgers. How the Buckeyes look against other division rivals like Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State will go a long way in if Ohio State gets to Indianapolis to presumably play Wisconsin for a conference championship and the right to play in the Playoff.
As for Auburn, the Tigers’ Week 1 neutral-site win over Pac-12 favorite Washington is huge for their résumé. Crushing the Alabama State Hornets in Week 2 was expected. The biggest problem that Auburn has this year is its schedule. It is absolutely brutal. The Tigers have to play its two biggest rivals in Alabama and Georgia on the road. Mississippi State looks really good and Auburn has to host another formidable SEC West foe in LSU next week down on The Plains.