We’re filling out our bowl calendar with picks for every game, and I noticed something unique about this year’s College Football Playoff. (Also included are picks by the S&P+ rating and the teams currently favored at the Westgate.)
Rose Bowl semifinal
- Oklahoma: Alex Kirshner, Dan Rubenstein, Jessica Smetana, Matt Brown, Morgan Moriarty, Ryan Nanni
- Georgia: Bill Connelly, Jason Kirk, Jeanna Thomas, Richard Johnson, S&P+, Vegas
Sugar Bowl semifinal
- Clemson: Dan Rubenstein, Jeanna Thomas, Jessica Smetana, Matt Brown, Morgan Moriarty, Richard Johnson, Ryan Nanni
- Alabama: Alex Kirshner, Bill Connelly, Jason Kirk, S&P+, Vegas
- Clemson: Jeanna Thomas, Jessica Smetana, Morgan Moriarty, Ryan Nanni
- Oklahoma: Dan Rubenstein, Matt Brown
- Georgia: Jason Kirk, Richard Johnson
- Alabama: Alex Kirshner, Bill Connelly, S&P+, Vegas
Unlike previous years, there’s really no clear favorite.
Among our 10 picks by humans, each team got multiple picks to win the national title. That sounds fun! Let’s just say we didn’t have multiple people picking Michigan State to win the 2015 Playoff, or Washington in 2016.
Clemson’s the committee’s No. 1 seed, but the computers like semifinal opponent Alabama to win it all ... barely.
Oklahoma opened as a 1.5-point favorite over Georgia, but that line has since flipped the other way for now.
This is fitting for 2017.
In a year without a single truly standout team, the Playoff was always going to end up being hard to call.
The dispute over whether the committee should approve the flawed resume of either Alabama or Ohio State didn’t overly impact the quality of the Playoff itself. Whichever of the two made it in would’ve made it in on questionable merits but still had an excellent chance to win.
(Also, if Ohio State had made it in, do you think Clemson would be a mathematical underdog in Round 1? I sure don’t.)
After three straight Playoffs involving at least one semifinal blowout, there’s a good chance we have three close games to shut down the season.