2016-17 College Football Playoff Projections

That time of year for College football fans everywhere has arrived, and things are starting to come together. Well, that may not be entirely true, this is college football so that means that anything can and probably will happen. There is, however, some clarity to the picture beginning to take shape. The race in today’s new playoff era is for the top four spots, so these are the teams who are looking good, and a couple of teams on the outside looking in.  Here are the four favorites to make the college football playoffs according to BoydsBets.

4. Michigan Wolverines 7-0 – They will have a higher seed if they get in, but this is the best projection I can give them at this point. The Big Ten Conference looks like the SEC did when it was in its prime this year. That is the reason for only getting a number 4 projection as they have the most difficult road. With teams like the formidable Ohio State Buckeyes (6-1) and the unbeaten Cornhuskers of Nebraska (7-0) among others, this is a stacked conference that is a long way from finished.

3. Washington Huskies 7-0 – This is a team that probably should be higher on my list, but the Pac-12 is still a conference in question in terms of strength. That is also compounded by the fact that Washington is somewhat of a surprise this year, if not by the unbeaten record then at least by the absolute dominance they’ve shown thus far. Just ask Stanford, considered by many as one of the top tier teams of the Pac-12 this year, just how dominant these guys can be.

2. Clemson Tigers 7-0 – Easily the most convoluted conference at this stage, and the projection that will draw the most disagreement. The contention with this pick is primarily because of the one loss Cardinals (I will get to Louisville directly), this one is based in large part due to the Tigers being a proven winner and having been there and done that. The first time is always the hardest for any team in any sport. History suggests it generally takes teams at least a couple of tries to break through, which is old hat for my number one…

1. Alabama Crimson Tide 7-0 – Love them, hate them – all they do is win. The SEC is still in that conversation as being the elite conference in the country, the only difference now is that they have company unlike several years ago. That being said, looking at who sits beneath them shouldn’t scare them or anyone else pulling for the Tide. Pedigree, experience and the way they’ve been winning this year make this one a surprisingly easy call. If Alabama loses before reaching the college football playoffs, well the sky might be falling!

The Others – The other teams previously mentioned, The Ohio State University, the Louisville Cardinals and Nebraska are teams that still control their own destiny, but the road for these three teams remains a big climb. Louisville has the talent, the Buckeyes are young but have been there before and have a guy on the sidelines who knows something about winning and the playoffs, and the Cornhuskers are still unbeaten.

There is no such thing as certainty in sport, and this is nowhere more evident than it is in the college football landscape. Buckle in, brace yourself and get ready for a fun race to the finish line, this is going to be interesting.

2016 Sugar Bowl

The 2016 Sugar Bowl is now in the books.  The game took place on January 1st at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.  This was the 81st edition and featured Ole Miss versus Oklahoma State.

Ole Miss really dominated.  The final ended up being 48-20 which gave the Rebels their first 10-win season since 2003.  Both teams finished the year at 10-3.

The Cowboys hadn’t played in the Sugar Bowl since way back in 1946.  Ole Miss hasn’t necessarily been a frequent visitor here either.  The last time they played in this bowl was in 1970.

The two schools are somewhat familiar with each other though.  They met in the Cotton Bowl back in 2004 and 2010.  Ole Miss seems to have Oklahoma State’s number though as they have now won all three of those bowl games.

Oklahoma State got the scoring started with a first quarter field goal, but Ole Miss rallied 27 unanswered points to go up 27-3.  After a Cowboy field goal the Rebels put another touchdown on the board to end the first half leading 34-6.

There was a lot of offense in this one.  Chad Kelly was 21-for-33 for 302 yards, four touchdowns, and a single interception.  Mason Rudolph and JW Walsh split time for Oklahoma State and combined for 27-45 passing and 303 yards.

Walsh was the leading rusher for Oklahoma State, carrying the ball 10 times for 74 yards and two touchdowns.  A quarterback also led the way for the Rebels as Kelly ran 10 times for 73 yards, but Jordan Wilkins, Akeem Judd, and Jaylen Walton all managed 40+ yards in the game.

No surprise who the favorite target was for Kelly.  Tread well had six catches for 71 yards, but scored three touchdowns.  The other touchdown pass was caught by Cody Core who ended the game with four grabs for 91 yards.  Evan Engram had six catches and 96 yards as well.

Oklahoma State was led by Marceli Ateman’s five catches for 70 yards.  David Gladden added four catches fro 59, the same stat line produced by Chris Carson.

So this game was a little anti-climatic.  I think part of the problem was the letdown situation for Oklahoma State.  They started the season out 10-0 and had their sights set on a spot in the playoffs.  However, Baylor beat them in Stillwater and then were blowout by Oklahoma.  That left them kind of reeling heading into this game against Ole Miss.

The Rebels on the other hand ended the season with double digit wins over rivals LSU and Mississippi State.  Their heartbreak happened earlier in the year with losses to Florida, Memphis, and Arkansas.  You have to think they would have liked to have had another shot at those teams, since you know the potential was their for the Rebels after an early win over Alabama.