Early season College Football Playoff outlook


Jack Oedekoven

With the College Football season in full swing, it is time to decide who should go to the College Football Playoff to compete for a national championship

As of Week 7, there is a tight competition for the top four spots, with the top eight teams all making strong cases why they should be in. For the purposes of this article, the top eight rankings come via the Associated Press as of October 7, 2019.

8. Wisconsin
The Badgers’ method of running between the tackles has worked like a charm this season. NFL prospect Johnathan Taylor has absolutely destroyed defenses, and he has left little to no doubt that he is one of the top running backs in the nation. In Week 3 against then No. 11 Michigan, he demolished the Wolverines by rushing for 203 yards on 23 attempts to go along with two touchdowns. The defense has been a brick wall as well, having held three opponents to shutouts.

7. Florida
The Swamp was raging last Saturday with a 24-13 win over Auburn. The downside is that starting quarterback Kyle Trask, who is filling in for Felipe Franks, sprained his knee during the game. But the sprained knee is the least of their issues because next week they take a visit to Death Valley to play No. 5 LSU. Even if Trask can recover to play, the Tigers will come hunting.

6. Oklahoma
Head Coach Lincoln Riley and his offensive game plans can be a nightmare for any defense, especially when Heisman candidate Jalen Hurts is commanding it. Hurts leads the FBS in average yards per pass attempt with 15.24, three yards clear of the next competitor. It also helps when two of his receivers, Charleston Rambo and Ceedee Lamb are 1st and 6th in yards per reception. The Sooner defense is good but nothing to write home about. This week Oklahoma plays at No. 11 Texas, which will be a test to see if this Oklahoma team is as good as it’s hyped up to be.

5. LSU
Being in the toughest conference in College Football is not something any team would want to be part of, unless you’re LSU. So far this season, the Tigers have annihilated almost every team they’ve faced, barring a strong Texas team, who they defeated 45-38. Quarterback Joe Burrow is averaging 372.8 yards per game, while throwing for 22 touchdowns on the year. Their defense has struggled in recent games but seems rejuvenated after a near shutout against Utah State. If the defense can play consistently well, they might stand a chance against the No. 1 team on this list.

T3. Ohio State
This is where the list really starts to get into playoff territory. Ohio State, led by quarterback Justin Fields, running back J.K. Dobbins, and defensive end Chase Young, have absolutely dominated the competition Many statistics could be written to show why teams should crumble at the might of this giant. It is safe to say that in some cases, Ohio State is the best team in the nation. But while the times seem good for now, great tests loom ahead in the form of No. 8 Wisconsin, No. 10 Penn State, and finishing off the season at No. 16 Michigan.

T3. Georgia
It’s hard to have a team that doesn’t particularly shine in any statistical category ranked top three, but Georgia has shined against their top opponent, a then No. 9 Notre Dame, in a 23-17 victory. Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift have led the Bulldogs to have a good offense, while a solid defense holds teams hostage. Georgia may not seem very good analytically, but out of the top teams, it does good things when it matters.

2. Clemson
Clemson doesn’t seem like the best team on paper, but until they lose, they belong solely in the top four. Trevor Lawrence, whom many considered to be the best prospect of the 2021 class, has looked nothing but average this year, with 5 interceptions to 8 touchdowns. What has been carrying this team is their rushing attack with Travis Etienne and their spectacular defense. If Lawrence can get his act together and the team can survive the rest of their schedule, they are all but a lock for the title. But there is one team that is clearly the best among all.

1. Alabama
There isn’t much to say here, but Alabama’s reputation precedes them. The Crimson Tide has gone to the national championship game every year since 2015. And if that isn’t enough to satisfy the critics, look at their dominance so far this season. Every game they’ve played this season, they won by 24 points or more, and by the looks of it, that streak may continue. The only game they might be challenged is No. 5 LSU in 3 weeks, but there is plenty of time to prepare for that.