For quite some time now, fans across the country have been griping and screaming for an eight-team playoff system; this bowl season proved to us on why we should not. Some of us may get tired of seeing Alabama face Clemson every year in the playoffs, but the truth of the matter is that these two have separated themselves from the rest of the college football world; the semi-final rounds proved it.
When Alabama faced Oklahoma, fans were excited to see the top two Heisman contenders duke it out and expected a high scoring exhibition. However, Alabama jumped on Oklahoma quick, notching 21 points before Oklahoma found any rhythm and kept them out of the game essentially the rest of the way; only getting as close as 11 points behind the Crimson Tide. Alabama dominated early and often, and while Kyler Murray began to heat up, his defense could never give him the break that he and his offensive squad needed to make it interesting.
Notre Dame and Clemson was a battle of the unbeaten. The game started kind of slow and sloppy, with both teams only scoring three points a piece in the first quarter. However, when the second quarter began, Clemson woke up and showed their depth; scoring three touchdowns and creating separation between the two teams. Speaking of depth, the defensive line absolutely crushed Notre Dame’s, Ian Book; sacking him six times. Some of those sacks even came from third string linemen. The final score was 30-3, proving that the #3 team in the playoffs did not deserve to be on the same field as the #2.
So, what about the other four? Maybe one of them should have been in the playoffs instead of Oklahoma or Notre Dame. Ohio State felt as if they should have, but an embarrassing loss to Purdue kept them out of it. Georgia looked like one of the top teams this year as well, but a loss in the championship game to Bama’s second-string quarterback (which is pretty good by the way) and another early loss kept them out of it as well. Michigan was in position until they were dismantled by Ohio State. Maybe UCF? College football’s “National Champion” of last season? Well, for the most part, their bowl performances said otherwise.
Let’s start with the fifth team, Georgia. Georgia was matched up with another conference champion runner-up in Texas. To say that Georgia didn’t show up in this game would be an understatement as Texas rolled all over them all game. The fifth team is now 1-4 since the College Football Playoffs began. Ohio State came into the game against the Washington Huskies with something to prove. With the score being 28-3 heading into the fourth, they showed that their mishaps could possibly be in the past, but Washington stormed back and made it interesting in the end with the final score being 28-23; a win is a win. After being beaten down in the Big 10 Championship, Michigan, once again, rolled over and let Florida trample them 41-15. Last but not least, the team with the longest FBS winning streak, UCF. UCF showed fight in the beginning of the game but the depth of the LSU Tigers, who at times, played without nine of their starting defensive players, pulled out a win easily (minus the last-minute touchdown from the Golden Knights).
So, there you have it. Only three of the top eight teams this year actually won their game. I know that some players sat out of their bowl game, but the same can be said for their competitors. None of the teams played particularly well enough to dominate their opponent outside of Clemson and Alabama. Until we see more fight and competition out of the bottom half of the top eight, do not expect to see the playoffs expand any time soon.