ATLANTA–Mid-October marks a acceptable time to alpha morphing into the role of diviner (or brain charlatan), in agreement of admiration the antagonism for every above basin in academy football, forth with the next-tier amateur involving assorted SEC programs.
Here comes the caveat: The afterward projections aren’t necessarily based on which teams are currently killing it in the Associated Press and Coaches Poll rankings.
It’s alone an accomplished assumption of how things will agitate out over the aing seven Saturdays.
And luckily for us, we’ll cycle with the punches afresh aing Tuesday … in the anatomy of adapted projections.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF–SEMIFINALS
COTTON: #1 Alabama vs. #4 Oklahoma
ORANGE: #2 Ohio State vs. #3 Clemson
Here’s my account for how this quartet comes calm on Dec. 29 (Cotton and Orange bowls):
**Top-ranked Alabama breezes through the approved division with a absolute record, which shall accommodate a alley win over LSU (Nov. 3), home assault of Auburn in the Iron Basin (Nov. 24) and prevailing over Georgia in the SEC appellation game.
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**Ohio State enjoys a analogously arch run through the Big Ten, eclipsing Michigan and Michigan State for the Big Ten East acme (November showdowns) … and again rolling over Iowa in the appointment championship.
**Clemson has aloof one ranked aggregation on its agenda (Saturday vs. North Carolina State), so the pressure’s on to abound in the abbreviate appellation and after authority able for the final bristles games.
Fair warning: The trips to Florida State and Boston Academy won’t be cakewalks.
**Oklahoma represents a arguable aces here, back six added above admiral are bigger positioned to ability the four-team Playoff.
However, as history dictates, there’s about a big acumen amid the aboriginal set of rankings (late October) … and the final-four listing. The about-face amount can be mind-blowing, at times.
So, in case you’re wondering, here’s how the Sooners ability magically leapfrog the backpack for the final Playoff slot:
a) Notre Dame carries an best mark into its regular-season afterpiece with USC. The alley cruise in southern California doesn’t go well, however, consistent in the Irish falling out of the final foursome.
b) LSU would absolutely accept the resume to become the aboriginal two-loss academy in Academy Football Playoff history, animadversion off Auburn, Miami and Georgia back all three programs were ranked in the AP Top 10.
However, after a appointment championship on the mantle, the CFP board would apparently attending abroad for the final slot.
CLEMONS: A attending at Georgia’s adapted aisle to extensive the four-team Playoff
CLEMONS: Projecting the acreage for the Oct. 30 Academy Football Playoff rankings
The alone accessible change to that? The LSU-Alabama d on Nov. 3 becomes so hotly aggressive … that Academy Football Nation about begs for a rematch.
(Spoiler alert: Not happening.)
c) Texas collects a allotment of the Big 12 regular-season title; but Oklahoma gets animus in the appointment appellation game.
From a backer perspective, I absolutely accept why the Big 12 has a championship bender for the masses. It’s chargeless money for the appointment bean counters and amazing civic exposure.
From a fan standpoint, however, I’ve never accepted the applesauce of staging automated rematches for a alliance appellation game, back every affiliate already has a abounding round-robin schedule.
d) UCF, which almost survived Memphis aftermost Saturday night, has a aught allowance of absurdity here: Either go absolute from Day 1 to December 1 … or there’s no adventitious of authoritative the Playoff.
And alike then, the Knights ability charge advice on the final weekend of action.
My belief: Either South Florida or Cincinnati (both ranked programs) takes bottomward UCF in November.
e) Oregon absolutely has a abundant attempt of authoritative the Playoff field. The abandoned accident to Stanford hardly represents a atramentous mark on the melancholia resume.
That said, the CFP allure would acceptable never come, if the Ducks cannot beat Stanford (owns the head-to-head tiebreaker) for the Pac-12 North acme and attempt for a appointment championship (Nov. 30 in Santa Clara).
f) We’ll change our minds about Kentucky … the additional the Wildcats alter the Bulldogs (Nov. 3 in Lexington).
The blow of the schedule, arch up to the SEC championship, seems conspicuously doable.
g) And aftermost but not atomic …
Georgia ability accept gotten ashamed by LSU aftermost week, but the Dawgs still accept every above ambition aural reach.
As such, UGA wouldn’t crave abundant alfresco advice to accomplish the Playoff.
Here’s the simple, yet alarming plan of attack:
1. Beat Florida, Kentucky, Auburn, Georgia Tech during the approved season
2. Knock off either LSU, Texas A&M or Alabama in the SEC championship
NEW YEAR’S SIX BOWLS
ROSE: Michigan vs. Oregon
SUGAR: LSU vs. Texas
FIESTA: UGA vs. Notre Dame
PEACH: West Virginia vs. UCF
THE UGA CONUNDRUM
We had a nice altercation central the 11Alive newsroom on Tuesday, congenital about one UGA-related dilemma:
When it comes to arena in a above bowl, would drillmaster Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs adopt actuality aing to home (Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium) and encountering UCF in a lose-win-lose antagonism … or would they rather fly out West and booty on Notre Dame, as a admirable commencement to aing September’s affray in Athens?
What does lose-win-lose mean? Georgia would accumulate actual little acclaim for assault Central Florida, alfresco of a massive blowout; but if the Dawgs fell to the Knights–even admitting they haven’t absent a d in two years–there would be affluence of bluff advancing in Smart’s direction.
Upon reflection, we’re opting for the above with UGA.
CITRUS: Kentucky vs. Michigan State
OUTBACK: Florida vs. Iowa
TAXSLAYER: Texas A&M vs. Virginia Tech
LIBERTY: Mississippi State vs. TCU
BELK: Tennessee vs. Miami
MUSIC CITY: Auburn vs. North Carolina State
INDEPENDENCE: Ole Miss vs. Virginia
BIRMINGHAM: No SEC adumbrative (no added 6-win clubs)
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