Old Sports Dude: surprise team could slip into college football playoffs


A month ago, I stepped out boldly, or recklessly some would say, and predicted which four teams would make up NCAA football’s version of the last four.

Just to catch up with you, I went with Georgia and Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl and Oklahoma and Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl on December 31 in hopes of earning a spot in the National Championship game on January 10 at Lucas Oil Stadium. in Indianapolis.

A lot can change in four weeks, so let’s take a look at the teams most likely to be picked for the NCAA football playoffs. There are only three teams left in the Top 25 of the Associated Press or Coaches poll – the University of Georgia, the University of Cincinnati and the University of Texas-San Antonio. While Georgia and Cincinnati are among the favorites to qualify for the Final Four, UTSA has absolutely no chance.

The Roadrunners, whose biggest win came against Illinois by a score of 37-30, play regular season games against Alabama-Birmingham and the University of North Texas. No matter what UTSA does, it won’t even be good enough to come close to the top 10, let alone the top four teams.

In my previous column, I chose Cincinnati as my best lock to make the Final Four, followed by Georgia, Oklahoma, and Ohio State.

While three of those teams still have a chance to reach their goals, Oklahoma’s hopes have waned after a 27-14 loss to Baylor last week. Even a Big XII championship title won’t be enough to put the Sooners back in the hunt for the NCAA Championship game.

Oregon, Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan, all with 9-1 records, each have one of the four chosen. Oregon has a small advantage as it holds a victory over Ohio State, while Michigan State beat Michigan. But, Oregon has a bad loss to Stanford and Michigan State to Purdue.

The Big Ten’s best chance of having a playoff team is for the winner from Ohio State-Michigan to claim the conference title and end the season with just one loss.

At this point, if Oregon beats Utah and Oregon State and then wins the Pac 12 title, the Ducks will likely take one of four spots. But, it doesn’t look like that will happen. But for the sake of argument, let’s say Oregon does exactly that.

That brings it back to Ohio State and Michigan, and in this case, I just have to go with the Buckeyes.

If Georgia go undefeated in the SEC Championship game, they are likely guaranteed to advance to the playoffs, especially if their opponent is, as expected, a one-loss Alabama team.

A loss and UGA always succeed and a win means the Bulldogs are absolutely in the game. If Cincinnati ends the season unbeaten and wins the American Athletic Conference championship, the Bearcats will at least be in the top five.

This gives the playoff committee five teams – Georgia, Alabama, Cincinnati, Oregon and Ohio State to choose from.

If Georgia defeats Alabama, the playoffs are set. He won’t pick a two-losing Alabama team against undefeated Cincinnati and one-loss Oregon and Ohio State. If Alabama wins, the committee will have a choice between an Ohio State team with better work and an Oregon team that beat Ohio State.

Even though many continue to say the Bearcats don’t have the chance to make it, I still have Georgia and Cincinnati as my two favorites to enter. I think Ohio State will be there as well and Oregon will suffer a second loss as will Alabama.

That leaves us looking for that fourth team. If there is only one loss left at Oklahoma State or Oklahoma, that team will be considered, as will a team that many have totally forgotten – Notre Dame.

The Irish should be able to deal with both Georgia Tech and Stanford. The biggest win on the resume would be a 41-13 victory over Wisconsin, with a 24-13 loss to what would then be an undefeated Cincinnati team.

So here are my last four adjusted – Georgia and Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl, and Cincinnati and Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl. It’s a game the Bearcats would be hungry for, while Buckeye Nation would take the opportunity to put Cincinnati “in its place.”

If that happens, look for Georgia and OSU to play in the title game.

But, who knows, we still have a lot of games to play.

Austin Bishop, aka The Old Sports Dude, has covered high school, college, amateur and professional sports since 1975. He is currently pastor of the Great Commission Assembly of God in Philadelphia, Mississippi. He can be contacted by email at starsportsboss @ yahoo. com.


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