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Donnelly's Dossier: Who’s in? College Football Playoff predictions

College Football around here might be over, but for most of the country, it is just beginning. As it does every year, the Division I football season will come down to the final weekend. So bring on the conference championship games. With the new four team playoff system, you would think the debate for a true college football champion would subside. Guess again. If anything they’re louder and this final weekend will either, make or break, a seven-month season for some teams. Depending on who beats who, the college football playoff could get turned completely on it’s head.
On Tuesday night the official college football playoff rankings came out.
1. Clemson (12-0)
2. Alabama (11-1)
3. Oklahoma (11-1)
4. Iowa (12-0)
5. Michigan State (11-1)
6. Ohio State (11-1)
Here’s my ranking. (I’ll explain below I promise.)
1. Oklahoma
2. Clemson
3. Michigan State
4. Ohio State
5. Iowa
6. Alabama
Here’s why.
First off, I don’t have any respect for the SEC anymore. Last season, the SEC was 2-5 against ranked teams in bowl games. At the beginning of the season, there were eight SEC teams ranked in the top 25. Now, there are three. For the last two years the SEC has been running purely off of reputation. They have raked in the ratings and still seemingly dominated recruiting, but where are the results? Auburn is terrible. Georgia is terrible. LSU is terrible. Arkansas is terrible. Tennessee is terrible. You know what all of these programs have in common? They do not have an NFL quarterback. The best quarterback in the SEC is Dak Prescott of Mississippi State. Yes, he is vastly improved from last season, but Mel Kiper has him as the 10th best quarterback in the draft. Out of the nine payers ahead of him, none of them hail from the SEC. Since Aaron Murray and Zack Mettenberger left the SEC, the quarterback play can only be described as pathetic. Nobody in the SEC, minus maybe Mississippi State, has a formidable quarterback. Nobody.
Now, I’m not saying Alabama is bad, but take their overrated SEC wins out of the equation, where is their impressive win? They beat Wisconsin, whose star running back Corey Clement was forced out of the game in the first quarter with a groin injury. That win isn’t impressive. Other than that, Middle Tennessee, Louisiana-Monroe, and Charleston Southern are not exactly staple wins. Now we can look at their SEC wins. They barely beat Arkansas. Arkansas lost to Toledo. They struggled with Tennessee, who lost to Arkansas. They held off Auburn, who needed overtime to beat Jacksonville State and are last in their division. These aren’t impressive. The one win that could be considered good is at Mississippi State, who is dropped out of the top 25 this week. This is not the resume of a team that should be in the playoff. On offense, they are a one trick pony. Derrick Henry is their offense. They don’t have a quarterback to speak of. Their defensive line is really good. Their pass defense is 70th in the country… and they haven’t played a good quarterback other than Dak Prescott.
Remember the shellacking Ohio State put on them last year? Guess what, Ohio State didn’t lose anyone from that game. Ohio State also beat them with a guy that is now their backup quarterback in Cardale Jones. This season, Ohio State lost on a last second field goal to Michigan State. That loss looks way better than a 43-37 loss at home to Ole Miss… for the second year in a row. Alabama and the whole SEC is vastly overrated and its time someone started acknowledging it. By the way, they are playing Florida in the SEC title game. Florida needed overtime to beat Florida Atlantic…in the swamp. They also lost 27-2 to Florida State. Are you really going to tell me the SEC is still the best conference in the nation?
Second. Iowa. Wow they are 12-0. Once again, its time to look at wins. Their best win to date is at Wisconsin, once again the Badgers were without their star running back Corey Clement, the Badgers fumbled on their one yard, and missed a field goal. Iowa won 10-6. From the eight Big Ten teams Iowa beat this season, only two have records above .500. Out of conference, they played the likes of Pittsburgh, Illinois State, and North Texas. With that in mind, how can I have any respect for Iowa? They scheduled games against these no name teams. Why the athletic department didn’t go out and schedule an Oregon (like Michigan State did), a Virginia Tech (like Ohio State did) or a Utah (like Michigan did) is beyond me. They are their own problem. I understand that you play who is put in front of you, but come on. They are 63th in strength of schedule. The next 14 teams below them are better than 63th.
Kirk Ferintz and Iowa are upset that they aren’t getting enough respect, well guess what. You are getting as much as you deserve. They don’t have anyone true NFL players other than maybe defensive back Desmond King. When analysts say you have great fundamentals, that means you lack talent at skill positions because you always run the ball. Against better competition, Iowa will be hopeless because they don’t have big play ability. If the goal of the playoff is to put out the best four teams, Iowa is not in that conversation. I want to see talented teams with absurd athletes battle it out. Not Iowa getting pummeled and running the ball up the middle 45 times a game. It’s boring. Just watch, Michigan State is going to throttle Iowa. They don’t deserve to be anywhere near the playoff. Schedule some serious out of conference games, then maybe you can go to the party Iowa.
So what is going to happen this weekend? Alabama should beat Florida in a battle of two overrated teams. Michigan state is going to beat Iowa. I think Stanford will beat USC in the Pac 12 championship.  What could really mess the whole thing up is if red hot North Carolina beats undefeated Clemson in the ACC championship. I’m going to say that’ll happen. I like this UNC team and they have beaten everyone soundly throughout the season. If all that happens, here’s what the playoff will look like… if I were on the committee.
1. Oklahoma
2. Michigan State
3. Ohio State
4. Alabama
5. Stanford
6. North Carolina
If you need to take two things away from this article, here they are. One, Alabama’s loss is worse than Ohio State’s loss. Two, Iowa is good but not playoff good. All in all, this weekend is going to be great. You have to love when a whole season boils down to one game. Sit back and enjoy it.
Sam is a senior majoring in English-journalism. For more about UNH sports, follow Sam on Twitter @sam17don or tune into Wildchats on 91.3 fm.

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