Top college football teams offer strong case for College Football Playoff


Graphic Courtesy of Ingrid Hua

William Li, Staff Writer

As the conference playoffs are coming to an end, the College Football Playoff approaches. Although the playoffs aren’t recognized by the the NCAA, many consider this the most important college football tournament of the season. The top four teams will face off in a tournament to determine who the top dog is of college football. While only four will go on to the playoff, there are five teams that are worthy of consideration for admission to the tournament.

Alabama (12-0)

Alabama is the top ranked college football team and that is because they have been extremely dominant this season. They boast an undefeated record and their games are almost never close. In fact, only one of their twelve games has ended with a point differential in the single digits. Even when playing other powerhouses like LSU, they still dominate the field, winning by twenty-nine points and allowing zero. This dominance can be largely credited to Tua Tagovailoa, the Heisman frontrunner. His athleticism combined with elite arm strength and accuracy has made him nearly unstoppable, throwing thirty-six touchdowns and only two interceptions. However, Tagovailoa is not the only bright spot on this team. They seem to have little to no weaknesses as they gain eight yards per attempt, while giving up only four on defense. Alabama will go on to face Georgia on Dec. 1 in the SEC Championship game. The winner of this game could prove to be the favorite to win the national championship this year.

Clemson (12-0)

The second highest ranked college football team is led by freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Although he hasn’t produced as much as Tagovailoa, his performance is still phenomenal. He has great football IQ, a six-foot five-inch frame, an accurate and strong arm, and a quick release. Their offense is very similar to Alabama’s because both teams can generate a big play at any time. This is because wide receivers Tee Higgins and Tyler Etienne both offer blazing speed and agility to compliment Lawrence perfectly. Clemson should be a dangerous team that could potentially challenge Alabama’s seemingly unstoppable offense. They will square off against Pittsburgh for the ACC championship and are expected to win to keep their undefeated streak alive.

Notre Dame (12-0)

Even though Notre Dame is just one place below Clemson in most college football playoff rankings, there is a clear skill gap. Their undefeated record is misleading because while other undefeated teams like Clemson and Alabama seem to be dominating their competition, Notre Dame has had a string of close games with unranked teams. Nonetheless, they are still a great team, just not as good as the teams I mentioned before. They don’t really have a star player, but the team is well-rounded and well-coached. That has been the key to their success in regular season play, but the question is how will they hold up against elite competition if they are selected to compete in the playoffs?

Georgia (11-1)

Despite Georgia’s inferior record to Notre Dame, they may quite possibly be the better team. Georgia has decimated ranked teams and besides their loss to LSU, none of their games have been close. One of Georgia’s key players is sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm. He has continued his solid play from last year but hasn’t shown shown much improvement. Freshman quarterback Justin Fields hasn’t played much as he’s behind Fromm on the depth chart, but he has a lot of potential. He was the number two overall ranked player coming out of high school compared to Fromm’s fifty-first. There could very well be a Tua Tagovailoa-type situation: the backup outplays the starter in the playoffs. Georgia also lost two top running backs to the NFL last year: Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. It would be a logical deduction to predict a large drop off in rushing production with this situation, but D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield have almost perfectly replaced Chubb and Michel with another effective running back tandem. They are set to face the number one seed Alabama on Dec. 1 for the SEC championship, and if they win, they could very well be considered the best team in college football.

Oklahoma (11-1)

The fifth ranked college football team this season is Oklahoma. The Sooners have the same record as Georgia, but they have a much easier schedule. The Oklahoma roster is kind of weak this year, but the key to their success has been quarterback Kyler Murray, the runner-up Heisman candidate behind Tua Tagovailoa. Murray is one of the fastest quarterbacks in college football; his speed combined with his elite pocket presence and accuracy provides a deadly combo. Oklahoma averages the most points per game in NCAA football with 50.9, and Sooner fans have Murray to thank for that. They lost 2017 Heisman winner Baker Mayfield to the NFL where he was drafted number one to the Browns. Because Mayfield played so well and was the key to success last year, there was a lot of doubt going into this season. They lost their top weapon in a top heavy roster so many assumed that they would flop this year, but Murray stepped up and has led Oklahoma to even greater success. Oklahoma isn’t a legit contender when it comes to being national champions, but they definitely are worthy of mention when talking about the top college football teams.