Yes, I know it’s too early to do rankings, but I am going to predict how the season is going to finish, anyway. I am not going to rank them 1 through 25, because I always think that’s silly. How can anyone really know if 21 is better than 22 if they play completely different schedules? So I am going to do who I think is going to be in the playoffs, the teams I think are knocking on the playoff’s door, and some good teams. Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3.
These rankings aren’t who I would have in the playoffs if the season ended today, but who I think are going to be there at the end of the year. Same with the other tiers. It’s based on what they have done so far, how much respect I have for their coach, how much talent they have, and how much respect I have for the program. When all things are equal, I am going to pick the teams that I like the most.
I think Alabama is all but a lock out of the SEC. I would be shocked if they don’t win the SEC. There is a slim possibility that Bama could lose this year, based on the performance of the other teams as much as how well Bama has played. Even if they do lose, I don’t see another dominate SEC team to challenge them for the title and the guaranteed playoff spot that comes with. Ohio State is my pick out of the Big Ten, based on rule number 5. Michigan or Michigan State could win the East, too. I am starting to believe in Nebraska and Wisconsin. They might not be as good as the teams in the east, but could win a one off for the Big Ten title. Louisville is looking really good at this point. Now time for the coin flip for the 4th spot. Houston, or Stanford. At Oregon, At Notre Dame and At UCLA. Houston it is. So my way too early playoff predictions for week three are Bama, OSU, Houston and Louisville. Which means I think we will have a two time playoff winner this season. I am going with Ohio State, again because of rule number 5. And they didn’t play a great game to beat Oklahoma on the road by 3 scores. Watching them have to take a delay of game penalty in the second quarter because they were out of timeouts was painful. Their ceiling is really high.
Clemson hasn’t shown me much yet this year, but I have faith in Dabo and even more faith in Watson. Had Louisville only won by a couple of touchdowns, I would probably have put Clemson in the playoffs. Michigan State answered some questions against Notre Dame. Michigan has looked impressive, too. The SEC might still have the best team, but I think the Big Ten is going to be the most exciting conference this year. I really only see Stanford competing for a title out of the Pac 12, and even then I am not sold on them. I’ll put them in the playoff conversation because I think the Big 12 is all but dead at this point. If Houston loses to Louisville, then the Pac 12 champ is almost certainly in.
These are supposed to be the teams that wouldn’t completely shock me if they played their way into the playoff picture. Man, this tier is awfully empty at this point in the season. I just can’t pull the trigger on anyone out of the Big Ten west. Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota could possibly do it. The same with Florida, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Arkansas and LSU out of the SEC. WVU might win 9 or 10 games in a save the coach’s job season, and Texas isn’t quite dead yet, but this tier 3 picture is very muddy, to say the least. Toledo has looked pretty impressive this season and using the graduate transfer rule to great effect. They get BYU next, and if they can win that, and run the MAC, would they be in the conversation if Houston plays their way out of it, and the Big 12 and Pac 12 champ have 2 or more losses? I hope we find out.