Bowl season is upon us, and there are some great matchups. Here’s how it looks in the rankings going in, as four teams dream of being No. 1 when that final poll on January 11 is presented following the national championship game. College Football needed this shakeup. Oklahoma (10-2), Ohio State (10-2) and Clemson (9-3) were all very good, but these playoff regulars all missed their conference title games. The movement of coaches for marquee jobs this year has been unprecedented.
1. Alabama – The Crimson Tide is right back in the top spot with its sights set on Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl. Nick Saban’s reign in Tuscaloosa has been incredible, and this is their seventh College Football Playoff in eight years.
2. Michigan – This is the season that Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverine faithful have been waiting for. The Wolverines victory over Ohio State and subsequent snow covered celebration was a sight to behold. It should be a dandy with the Dogs in Miami.
3. Georgia – It was a perfect regular season for the Bulldogs, who lost for the first time in the SEC Championship Game to their nemesis. Kirby Smart has his Dogs in the CFP for the second time in five years with mighty Michigan on deck in Miami.
4. Cincinnati – The country’s lone undefeated team, the Bearcats have made history as the first team not amongst the “Power 5” conferences to make the Playoffs. They’ve beaten Notre Dame, now they get Alabama in Dallas.
5. Notre Dame – The Fighting Irish went 11-1, losing only at Cincinnati. Brian Kelly is gone, off to LSU. Marcus Freeman, less than a year ago the DC at Cincinnati, is now the head coach at Notre Dame. Next up, Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl.
6. Ohio State – The Buckeyes are once again one of the most talented teams in the country. The loss at Michigan cost Ohio State a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game and shot at the playoff. Now it’s Utah in the Rose Bowl.
7. Ole Miss – Lane Kiffin guided the Rebels to their best regular season since the glory days of the 1960s. The Ole Miss faithful will certainly rally to New Orleans for a Sugar Bowl battle with the Baylor Bears. A top five national finish is a possibility.
8. Baylor – The Bears and Ole Miss will play in New Orleans. Dave Aranda has done an excellent job in Waco. Their victory by inches over Oklahoma State in the Big XII Championship Game will live forever in Baylor lore.
9. Oklahoma State – It was a heartbreaker for the Cowboys against Baylor in the Big XII Championship Game. The Pokes were flirting with a playoff berth. They’ll have a shot to put up a signature win though against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.
10. Oklahoma – It has been a tough month for the Sooners. A heartbreaking Bedlam loss to the Cowboys stung, then Lincoln Riley up and left for fellow blueblood Southern Cal. Oklahoma will play Oregon in the Alamo Bowl. Both are replacing head coaches.
11. Michigan State – That snowy Saturday after Thanksgiving didn’t just make for a memorable scene in Ann Arbor. Mel Tucker’s Spartans beat Penn State to go 10-2. Michigan State is in a major bowl, playing Pitt in the Chick-Fil-A Peach in Atlanta.
13. Pitt – Pat Narduzzi’s Panthers took a shootout from Wake Forest in the ACC Championship Game to garner a berth in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. Kenny Pickett is a terrific quarterback. The winner of this one likely finishes in the top ten.
14. Oregon – The Ducks got that win over Ohio State in the second week of the season, and the playoff hopes rose. Even after an upset loss to Stanford, they were still alive, until Utah. Then Mario Cristobal left. The Ducks draw Oklahoma in the coaches-abandoned Alamo Bowl.
15. Kentucky – The Wildcats put together an impressive 9-3 campaign under Mark Stoops watch, most notably beating Florida and LSU in back-to-back weeks. Big Blue tangles with Iowa in the Citrus BowGood Morning, !