Ohio State had a slim chance to make the College Football playoffs last season, leading up to the Championship Saturday. The Buckeyes walked into the Big Ten championship #5, with TCU, Florida State, Oregon, and Alabama in front of them.
After the Buckeyes defeated the Spartans 59-0, the committee eliminated TCU – who was #3 and defeated Iowa State by 52 points in the same week – and replaced them with the Buckeyes.
Of course the Buckeyes would go on to prove the committee right, but what team can duplicate the Buckeyes run from just a year?
Many pundits think the four playoff spots are pretty much locked – Iowa and Michigan State will play to represent the Big Ten – but a few potential situations could open up a spot for those sitting outside of the top four.
Florida defeats Alabama in the SEC Championship
This is my upset of the week.
Since losing to Ole Miss back in September, the Tide has won nine-consecutive games in typical Tide fashion. During that streak, teams have only averaged 11 points a game while Derrick Henry built his Heisman resume, rushing for 200-yards four times.
So why would I predict Florida – a team that didn't score a point against Florida State and needed overtime to defeat Florida Atlantic – could defeat the rolling Tide (pun intended)?
Because this is college football, where the unpredictable is predictable. Florida has shown glimpses of being a solid team, that could compete with the best of them. They smashed Ole Miss 33-0, the same Ole Miss squad that gave Bama their lone loss. Offensively, I haven't had much trust in Alabama since the departure of Amari Cooper. The Tide hasn't had much of a passing attack this season, Jake Coker with only 15 Tds and 8 interceptions, but when you have a monster in the backfield you don't need to put it in the air.
That's only if your monster isn't tired. Derrick Henry hasn't shown any indication of being tired after carrying the ball 115 times for 753 yards in the month of November (another reason why he is sitting at the top of the Heisman race) but in the final game of the season against Auburn, Henry carried the ball 46 times, and 38 times two weeks prior to that against LSU.
It's not far fetch to think that Henry will show signs of fatigue, which could give Florida an opportunity to contain the bruiser back. The Gators will have to generate some points though to put the pressure on Coker and the rest of the Bama offense.
With Alabama losing their spot to an inspired Florida team, who will replace them?
#6 Ohio State (11-1) – The Buckeyes lost control of their destiny after they loss to the Spartans two weeks ago. Luckily for them, their 42-13 victory over Michigan will hold much weight with the committee since the Wolverines were one of the best teams in College Football this season.
#7 Stanford (10-2) – The Cardinals have two stains on their resume; a season opener loss to Northwestern and a two-point home loss to Oregon. The loss to Northwestern doesn't look as bad since the Wildcats are ranked #14 in the college football playoff rankings, but none the less, it's still a loss. The Cardinals will need a blowout victory in the PAC-12 championship in order for the committee to consider them for that potential final playoff spot over Ohio State. If they struggle to defeat the Trojans, Stanford will remain outside looking in.
To make things more chaotic, let's add another drastic scenario to the equation.
#10 North Carolina upsets #1 Clemson in the ACC Championship.
The BCS computers wouldn't know what to do if all this confusing was to happen, fortunately, those servers are no longer in use.
North Carolina has been surprising this season, eleven consecutive wins after their season opener loss to South Carolina. Dual-threat quarterback, Marquise Williams, has led the Tar Heels, which is 16th in total offense. Williams has improved his QB rating and completions percentage, while on the verge of eclipsing 3,500 total yards and 30+ touchdowns for the second season in a row.
In order for the Tar Heels to complete the upset, Williams will have to match the play of Clemson's dual-threat quarterback, Deshaun Watson. Watson has been playing at a Heisman-level, only in his sophomore campaign, reason why the Tigers are undefeated and the #1 team in the land – not to mention their 4th in passing defense.
The Tar Heels will have to jump six other teams in order to make the College Football Playoff, which could be too big of a leap. If the Tar Heels do achieve the upset, the committee would give that open slot to the Buckeyes. The Tar Heels will need to win by a large margin, plus some help from the Gators, for them to sneak into the college football playoff.
Two major upsets on championship Saturday would be historic, and even though it is very unlikely the top two teams will lose, these are still reasonable scenarios to look out for. It wouldn't be college football if drama wasn't involved.