shanethesaint88 wrote: Early predictions: Alabama USC Florida State and Michigan making the playoffs. USC and Michigan in the natty.
I got to thinking about this last night and for the most part, I agree, but with some slight changes.
For the conferences, I agree it will be a repeat from this year. I completely believe both Alabama and USC will make the final four. Even though the Tide lost last night, they still have five star recruits out the whazoo and they're toughest games next season are Florida State (More on that in awhile), LSU and Auburn. All winnable (and should win) games.
With USC, as much as I may not like the Trojans, they played one hell of a Rose Bowl, Bowl Game... Hell, just a game PERIOD. I really feel they're going to jump all over the Pac-12. Washington and Colorado may have been feel good stories, but I'm not sure its sustainable.
As for the other two spots, it's a little harder for me. I think one spot will go to whoever comes out of the B1G East, be it Michigan, Ohio State, or Penn State. Instead of being able to pick a team based off of their merits, I can't stop thinking about the one thing each team has going against them:
- Michigan: They lose EVERYBODY (practically). SO many seniors and their defense is also losing Jabrill Peppers. They also lose Jake Butt and maybe their wideouts. So yeah, I'm not sure they'll be as good as they were this season.
- Ohio State: Holy Hell can I not stop thinking about that Fiesta Bowl. The Buckeyes should be PISSED and looking for revenge. However, with the exception of J.T. Barrett, most of the high-profile Juniors declared early. Much like this season, they should be pretty young, but like Alabama, they're bringing in a LOT of top High Schoolers. I'm curious to see how their season will work out, but I'm unsure that they can simply plug and play. We'll see
- Penn State: The Rose Bowl was something else and I'm a believer in Saquon Barkely. But much like Washington and Colorado, is the feel good story sustainable. Sure a lot of their team comes back, but I wonder if all those that come back will refocus.
All in all, its hard for to pick one of those three. I'm leaning towards the winner of the Ohio State and Penn State game. The game will be in Columbus and the Buckeyes will have revenge on the mind.
For the final spot, I feel it will go to whoever comes out of the ACC Atlantic. Like the B1G East, I see it coming down to three teams:
Clemson - Now defending National Champions, Clemson may keep a stout d-line, but they lose a lot of offensive firepower. Their two best receivers, tight end, running back, and of course, their QB. If they can plug and play, all of their toughest games are in Death Valley next season. But I think maybe, MAYBE, their could be potential fall off
Florida State - Of all of the early 2017 talk, this is the team I'm most confused by about because of their schedule and who they lose. The biggest losses are of course their best players - Dalvin Cook, the school's best running back ever and DeMarcus Walker the nation's sack leader. I don't believe that they will have the offense without Cook. We'll see who'll step up at Running Back, but that first game is something else. The Chik-Fil-A kickoff game, the first in the brand new stadium in Atlanta, and if early polls are to be believed, it will be #1 vs. #2 from the preseason. While one game doesn't break you (The last three national champions all had one loss), the fact this game will be, and I'm calling it now, a near automatic 0-1 start for FSU gives them NO wiggle room. They would have to win out. And I just don't see that happening.
Louisville - This is a dark horse only because of Lamar Jackson. I still can't figure out what happened in the last three games, but if the Cardinals play next year like that, they're going to get beat. Both Clemson and Florida State will be looking to key on Jackson with the latter going out for revenge.
Sorry for such a long post. Yeah, it's funny how the playoff will come down to about 8-10 games this season.
I said this in my last post, but: This is so much fun to do. Hopefully the next eight months fly by.