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Every year certain games stand out has playoff games in College Football. The following are just five of the games that are going to dictate who plays in the college football playoff.
Florida State vs. Alabama:
For the first week of College Football, this is as big as it gets. This game could potentially (depends on where FSU lands in the preseason poll) be a #1 vs. #2 to start the season. The wealth of talent on each roster should dominate the 2018 NFL draft. The winner of this game will be in the driver’s seat for the playoff it will also have a win versus a quality opponent to offset a loss later in the season. The loser is not eliminated from the playoff but will have to remain perfect during conference play. The ACC and SEC are the two deepest conferences in America; with a loss, FSU will have to play Miami, Louisville, a road game against Clemson, and an ACC championship game against Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech or a rematch against the Hurricanes. Alabama would have LSU, a road game against Auburn, and then a SEC Championship game against either Georgia or Florida. Both schedules are pretty tough.
Michigan vs. Florida:
The Big 10 has been represented in every college football playoff since its introduction in 2014. Two Ohio State appearances sandwiched between a Michigan State appearances in 2015. The Big 10 boasts three contenders for the 2017 playoff in Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State. All of those school reside in the Eastern Division making the competition extremely fierce. A win versus Florida then Florida playing for the SEC Championship game might boost Michigan into the playoff with a loss against Ohio State, Penn State or the always challenging Michigan State. Florida, on the other hand, has an easier road to winning their division; if Florida can beat Georgia in the World’s largest cocktail party then the eastern division race is pretty much over. Of course Florida would have to beat a Western team (Alabama) to advance to the playoff, however, a win against Michigan and a loss in the SEC Championship game gives the Gators an argument to be in the playoff.
Georgia at Notre Dame:
I have written before about how Georgia could be a breakout team in 2017. Jacob Eason highlights an offense that could be one of the SEC’s best; along with Eason, Georgia has one of the best backs in the Nation in Nick Chub. If Georgia can beat Florida (Big If as Florida has dominated this rivalry the past few years) then the Bulldogs will have a really good shot to play for the SEC championship. The Fighting Irish had a rough year last season finishing 4-8, but with a deep core of skill position players, offensive linemen returning and new offensive coordinator Chip Long (former Memphis offensive coordinator) that will bring more of a spread, RPO element to the offense. Notre Dame also changed defensive coordinators bringing Mike Elko from Wake Forest (Wake had a much-underrated defense in 2016) in a simpler 4-2-5 defense than the complicated 3-4 of Mike VanGorder. Brian Kelly has always been able to bring talent to South Bend, and with simpler approaches on both sides of the ball expect Notre Dame to prominently improve this season. The Georgia game will represent a measuring stick for the Fighting Irish.
Georgia vs. Florida:
The past two paragraphs have been indirectly about the significance of Florida and Georgia game. The winner of the game wins the SEC East.
UCLA at USC:
Folks living in outside the West Coast are sound asleep by the time the Pac-12 games come on. This is the type of game to DVR and save for when it comes down to NFL draft in 2018; quarterbacks Josh Rosen of UCLA and Sam Darnold of USC could potentially go #1 and #2 in the 2018 draft. Quarterback match-up aside this should feature two of the best teams in the Pac-12 South. Washington, Stanford and Oregon have the potential to beat each other up in the Pac-12 North meaning that whoever comes out of the South has the best opportunity to make the Playoff.
Oklahoma at Oklahoma:
Our only game from the Big 12. The Big 12 has been surpassed in conference superiority from the ACC, Big 10, Pac-12 and arguably the AAC. Looking at the talent standpoint the Big 12 only had fourteen players picked from the 2017 NFL draft. Besides the talent drop off the Big 12 has taken PR hits from Baylor to Joe Mixon. The Big 12 also caught flak for not adding Houston or SMU to create a championship game. So with the Big 12 in a downswing why does this game have Playoff credentials? The winner of the Bedlam game has won the Big 12, and with quarterbacks, Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph returning this game should be an exciting one. Worst case the Cowboys have one loss coming into the rivalry game (Oklahoma State has three tough road games at Pittsburg, Texas, and West Virginia. One of those game is a loss). Oklahoma has to travel to Columbus to face the Buckeyes in the second week. A loss early is ok, but a loss to your rival late in the year will almost eliminate the Sooners from the playoff.
Okay, so I cheated and included a sixth game, but each game plays a huge role in determining who will play in the College Football playoff. I excluded games such as Florida State and Clemson as the ACC as a conference has improved and nearly every game within the conference is a big game. Look at the Atlantic: Clemson, Florida State, and Louisville. The Coastal is not that far behind with Miami, Virginia Tech, Pittsburg and Georgia Tech all being formidable foes.