The College Football Playoff committee released their initial rankings this week, and I was mildly surprised. Most polls have Georgia at #1, but the CFP folks put Tennessee at the top, with the Bulldogs at #3. Curious indeed. If the playoff occurred right now it’d be the Vols vs. #4 Clemson & Georgia facing #2 Ohio St. That being said, the chances of those four teams remaining in those exact spots are…well, there is no chance. Top 10 teams like Michigan, Alabama, USC, & LSU are still very much in the hunt, while TCU, Oregon, & UCLA need to quietly take care of business and chuckle at the ensuing chaos. I’m not sure how it’ll all shake out, but we will begin to have some clarity this weekend. And by the way…in case you’re curious…Zach bested my 4-4 mark last week by going 5-3, which means we are currently tied for the season. That will probably change more than once in the next couple of months. 

My Season: 33-26

Zach’s Season: 33-26

Baylor at Oklahoma (-3.5)

Both teams have had some tough moments, but they’re both on two game win streaks right now. I suspected the Sooners might not be great this season, but had higher expectations for the Bears. There could be a dogfight between several teams for the second spot in the Big 12 title game, so that’s what is at stake in this one. The smart thing would be to stick with my usual thought process of having ample confidence in the home field, but I’m going to buck the trend & stick with my preseason notions. Conversely, Zach feels like Oklahoma is beginning to find their identity & has better athletes at more positions. 

My Pick: Baylor 

Z’s Pick: Oklahoma 

Clemson (-4.5) at Notre Dame 

What in the world has happened to Notre Dame?? I thought they’d be a solid Top 25 team, but instead they are 5-3 & nowhere near the CFP rankings, which include UCF, Illinois, & Tulane. They even lost to the Marshall Thundering Herd, and I can assure you my alma mater isn’t fielding a great football team this year. Conversely, the Tigers are humming right along as usual. A few months ago, because the ACC isn’t really that great overall, I opined that “the only shot Clemson has (to make the playoff) is to go undefeated in convincing fashion & lay the smackdown on Notre Dame in South Bend”. They’ve got the first part in hand thus far, and now they need to take care of business in this game. Zach likes both coaches, but feels like Dabo Swinney’s experience gives his team a leg up.

My Pick: Clemson 

Z’s Pick: Clemson 

Alabama (-13) at LSU

I’m just hoping for some offense. Remember the 9-6 game in 2011?? Or 10-0 in 2016?? ‘Bama has won 10 out of the last 11 meetings, so I don’t feel as excited about this one as I probably should be, although a night game in Death Valley is intriguing. Can the Bayou Bengals score an upset?? I’m not holding my breath. Can they keep it close?? Let’s hope so. Zach really likes Coach Saban & believes the Tide will roll the rest of the way, clear to the Final Four.

My Pick: LSU 

Z’s Pick: Alabama 

Tennessee at Georgia (-8)

This is it…this is the big one (this week anyway). I’m still surprised by those CFP rankings. I assume a lot of weight was given to Tennessee’s victory over Alabama a couple of weeks ago, but is that fair?? That game was in Knoxville & the Vols still got pushed to the limit. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good…but are they great?? Then again, the Bulldogs don’t have anything close to that quality of a win. We’re going to know much more about these teams by Sunday morning. Who will be exposed?? Is one team overrated…or do both deserve legit playoff consideration?? I really feel like the home field is huge in this situation. If the game were being played in Rockytop the choice would be easy, but I think the home field combined with being ticked off by the rankings will motivate Georgia. Despite not being tested much this year Zach thinks Georgia is the best team in the country & loves their defense. However, he also likes Tennessee’s big play offense & thinks they’ll keep things interesting.

My Pick: Georgia  

Z’s Pick: Tennessee 

Indianapolis at New England (-5.5)

Let’s be honest…these teams are struggling. The Colts have a losing record and aren’t winning their division, while the Pats are sitting at .500 but are in the cellar of the AFC South. We’re only halfway thru, so wildcard berths are still on the table, but this feels like a must-win for both clubs. New Colts’ QB Sam Ehlinger has potential, but he’s going to need some time to get acclimated. Still, benching Matt Ryan was the right call & didn’t surprise me one bit. Meanwhile, New England could have a quarterback controversy brewing themselves, but I’m not sure it matters. It’s a really mediocre matchup of two really mediocre teams, so thank God for RedZone. I don’t know if it’ll actually happen, but I’m rooting for the upset. Zach believes in the home field & foresees the Patriots using their ground game to grind out a double digit win. 

My Pick: Indianapolis  

Z’s Pick: New England 


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