Will Alabama dominate again?
The 2018-19 college football season is fast approaching. The NCAA playoff committee has made it clear for this season that only Power Five conference teams (SEC, Big 10, ACC, PAC 12, and BIG 12) will be allowed a spot in the College Football Playoff. That leaves only a handful of teams that realistically have a chance to make it to the playoff.
The University of Central Florida (UCF), a Group of Five conference team, was denied a berth in the playoffs last season even though they were the only team with a perfect record, including a win in their Bowl game. UCF coach Scott Frost has moved on to his alma mater, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, where he quarterbacked their 1997 National Championship team. The Huskers are a team to watch with Frost at the helm.
In the PAC 12, Southern California local powers, USC and UCLA, have both lost their starting quarterbacks to the NFL and UCLA has hired new coach Chip Kelly. Both teams are a year away from competing for a coveted playoff spot. The Washington Huskies have a chance if they beat Auburn, Stanford and then Washington State for the annual Apple Cup. If Washington survives these three games and are undefeated, they should have a good shot at making the playoffs.
The SEC will likely determine its championship with an Alabama-Georgia game. The common thread with these teams is they both travel to LSU’s Death Valley, so LSU could be the league spoiler. Alabama and Georgia have only four road games and eight Conference games during the season. This disparity in Conference games is a big advantage for the SEC when compared to conferences like the Big 10, who have 9 games.
The Big Ten will have a playoff team again, and Ohio State with Coach Urban Meyer is still the top dog in the conference. This league is loaded with talented teams, and more than likely, conference play will eliminate a lot of them from the playoffs.
ACC Conference favorite Clemson looks loaded again with talent, but will play at Texas A&M and Florida State. If they win both games, then they have a good chance for a playoff slot.
The Big 12 will not make the playoffs this year. Oklahoma and Texas play each other this season, and the winner of the Red River Shootout will have to go undefeated to earn a place in the playoffs.
To be considered for this season’s playoffs, the Pac-12 and Big 12 conference champions will have to go undefeated with impressive wins. The other three Power Five conferences could have one loss and still make the playoffs. It is unlikely that this season will have a two-loss team in contention. The four most likely playoff teams for 2018-19 are Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and Clemson.
College football currently has four playoff teams. Critics want that to increase to eight teams. The change would give automatic berths to the five Power Conference championship teams and would allow three at-large teams This would open the playoffs to Independents and other small conference teams, or a really good Power Five Conference runner-up that deserves a shot. Whatever playoff system is in place, college football fans nationwide will be cheering again for their teams.