By: Jade Edwards
By the end of the day on Saturday, December 1, the rankings were set for the 2018 Division 1 (D1) College Football Playoffs (CFP) with Alabama ranked number one, Clemson ranked number 2, Notre Dame ranked number 3, and Oklahoma ranked number 4. Alabama and Oklahoma are set to play their CFP semifinal match in the Orange Bowl on December 29 at 8 pm; Clemson and Notre Dame play earlier that day at 4 pm in the Cotton Bowl. The winners of each game will face each other in the CFP final in the New Year.
The College Football Playoffs have been in operation since 2014. The top four ranked Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) D1 teams play each other in two of the six major Bowl games: the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and Peach Bowl. Alabama is the current champion of the CFP and has been twice. Alabama has also had the most playoff appearances (5) and wins (5). As Alabama is in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), it is no surprise that the SEC also has the most appearances (6), wins (6), and championships (2). With the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl holding the CFP semifinals, the other four major Bowls will be hosting matches between other ranked teams. Tenth-ranked Florida will play 7th-ranked Michigan in the Peach Bowl at 12 pm on December 29. On New Year’s Day, 11th-ranked LSU faces 8th-ranked UCF in the Fiesta Bowl at 1 pm, 15th-ranked Texas is against 5th-ranked Georgia in the Sugar Bowl at 8:45 pm, and our own Ohio State Buckeyes ranked number 6 are taking on 9th-ranked Washington in the Rose Bowl at 5 pm. However, with the way the Buckeyes’ season games looked on occasion, they could be in trouble against the tough Washington defense.
OSU completely wrecked their chances of getting into the playoffs, starting with the major upset Purdue had against them, an unranked Big 10-West team. That was their only loss all season, but they were on the verge of increasing that number in games that should not have been that close. The game against Nebraska was a narrow 36-31 final score, and OSU was lucky to have won the game against Maryland 52-51 after Maryland failed on a 2-point conversion attempt. Although OSU redeemed themselves in the big game against Michigan (final 62-39) and in the Big 10 Conference championship against Northwestern (final 45-24), they just did not look like a playoff-worthy team. They were inconsistent throughout the season.
Controversy sprouted after probably one of the biggest games of 2018 D1 College Football, the Alabama-Georgia SEC championship game. Although Alabama did win, Georgia was well-matched against the reigning CFP champs. With a final score of 35-28, Georgia was one touchdown away. When Georgia lost, Notre Dame remained third in the college football rankings, and Oklahoma landed in Georgia’s old fourth place spot. Some say that since Georgia would play Alabama again anyway given that they would have been the first place and fourth place teams, that the game would be pointless since the SEC championship game depicted exactly who would have won. Does this mean that Georgia did not deserve a higher ranking? Based on how they played against Alabama, many would say that Georgia deserved to be in the CFP because they were obviously the only team with enough to match up to the current champions. Another piece of the matter would have been that with Georgia in the playoffs, that would make two SEC teams in the playoffs at once, giving only two other spots for other D1 Conferences to be represented. In the end, the loss against Alabama left Georgia with two losses overall, which put undefeated Alabama, Clemson, and Notre Dame, along with one-loss Oklahoma ahead of the Bulldogs anyway.
The fact that Notre Dame made it into the playoffs is also at issue. Although Notre Dame was undefeated, they got away with a spot in the CFP without having to play in a conference championship because they are not in a conference; therefore, Notre Dame only played twelve games overall, whereas everyone else had to play thirteen, making their position possibly unfair. Is Notre Dame even CFP competition? Do they play teams with enough difficulty to stand up against teams in the SEC or Big 12 or ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference)? The committee must think so. No other Independent team is even ranked. Though, Notre Dame did beat Michigan (OSU rival) and Northwestern (Big-10 finalists) during their regular season. I guess we’ll just have to see come December 29.