It has been a very crazy season for college football! A season filled with upsets, blowouts, overtimes, and nail bitters. The season started with the most upsets ever in an opening week. OU ranked no. 3, LSU no. 5, Notre Dame ranked no. 10, and UCLA ranked no. 16 were all upset in Week 1. However, the upsets continued. Ten weeks later in Week 11, the no. 2, 3, 4, 8, 14, 17 all lost. It was the first time since 1985, that the no. 2, 3, and 4 teams lost. Despite the upsets, some teams and player stood tall. Alabama was the only team to go undefeated in the power 5 conferences (Big 12, Pac 12, SEC, ACC, and Big 10). They remained No. 1 for every College Football Playoff ranking. Player wise, fans were introduced and re-introduced to some talented players: Lamar Jackson (Louisville), Jabrill Peppers (Michigan), Deshaun Watson (Clemson), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Dede Westbrook (Oklahoma), D’Onta Forman (Texas), Christian McCaffrey (Stanford), and Jake Browning (Washington). However, at the end of the season only four teams could fight for a National Championship: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio St, and Washington.
The First Round Games are the Chic Fil A Peach Bowl, which is no. 1 Alabama vs. no. 4 Washington, and the Playstation Fiesta Bowl, No. 2 Clemson vs. no. 3 Ohio State. All the teams will travel to Tampa Bay for a chance to win a National Championship.
1. Alabama Roll Tide (13-0):
Alabama is the overwhelming favorite team to win another National Championship. Nick Saban and his team look to win their fifth National Championship in only seven years. The SEC Champs rolled over almost all of their games, including their eight games against ranked teams. Alabama has some of the top players in the country: Jalen Hurts (QB), Jonathan Allen (DL), and Cam Robinson (OL). Alabama’s biggest strength this season is their defense. The defense scored a TD in eight straight games and held teams, except Arkansas and Ole Miss, to under 16 points a game. Alabama will most likely play with the same intensity they did in the season. It will be tough for a team to beat this Alabama powerhouse.
2. Clemson Tigers (12-1)
Clemson, led by Dabo Swinney, has been at the top of the CFP Rankings since the rankings started. Despite their loss, in Week 11, by a late game FG to Pitt, Clemson has been one of the top teams. Clemson held on to win their second straight ACC Championship. Led by Deshaun Watson (QB), Clemson is going to make their second straight College Football Playoff appearance. After coming so close to a National Championship last season, Clemson looks to redeem themselves after their loss to Alabama last year. Clemson looks to use their duel-threat QB and speedy DL to find their way to winning a National Championship.
3. Ohio St. Buckeyes (11-1)
Ohio St. has had one of the toughest schedules this year, and they have remained to be dominant. Led by their strategist coach, Urban Meyer, Ohio St. wants to win their second National Championship, in the playoff era. Ohio St. played three Top 10 teams, including their rival Michigan. However, in Week 7, they fell to unranked Penn State. Ohio St. had to win some pretty tough games to prove to the Playoff Committee they were good enough to go to the Playoffs. In Rivalry Week, Ohio St. (no. 2) and Michigan (no. 3) looked to square off in one of the top games in this season. On a controversial 4th Down call, Ohio St. gained a first down. The following play they ran the ball for a TD win over Michigan in a Double Overtime game. Ohio St. knocked out their rival’s chance at a trip the the Playoffs and sealed their fate of returning to the Playoffs. Led by JT Barrett (duel-threat QB) and explosive Defense, Ohio St. is a strong contender for the National Championship.
4. Washington Huskies (12-1)
Washington has been an underdog all season long. Despite their 38-point win against. no. 7 Stanford and 31-point win over no. 8 Colorado, the PAC-12 Champs have been in and out of the Playoff Rankings. The team only lost one game, and that was to USC. Washington has one of the nations top QBs, Jake Browning. He has led them to where they are now by overcoming the odds and continuing to win as the underdogs. The Huskies finally made the Playoffs and could celebrate. However, Head Coach Chris Peterson is facing College Football’s Best Coaches: Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, and Dabo Swinney. Washington will rely on their dangerous offense to win a National Championship. They will continue to be the overwhelming underdogs, for they will have to beat the favored Alabama.