We are only three weeks into the college football season and media pundits are already making playoff predictions almost on a weekly basis. ESPN.com has the All-State Playoff Predictor and this week it's Clemson, Alabama, LSU and Notre Dame with the best chances of making the playoffs in December. In fact, Clemson has an 83% chance of making it for the fifth straight year. The defending national champs have been more than impressive in dismantling their first three opponents this year by a combined score of 117-34. That's really good when you consider that two of the Tiger's first three victims( Texas A&M and Syracuse ) were ranked in the top 25 at one time or another this season.
Alabama is also 3-0 with a 71% chance of making the post season playoffs.
'Bama has also looked impressive so far in racking up wins over unranked Duke, New Mexico State and South Carolina. The Crimson Tide will not face a ranked opponent until October 12th when they play at 17th ranked Texas A&M. Ever since Alabama was crushed by Clemson 44-16 in the National Championship Game in January, the Tide has been on a mission of revenge against the Tigers.
LSU is third in the playoff predictor this week. The Bengal Tigers have something they haven't had in years.....a really good passing attack. Quarterback Joe Burrow is now a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate as he has put up really impressive numbers so far. It's not as if a good passing attack is the only weapon in Coach Ed Orgeron's arsenal. The Tigers also have a solid defensive unit as well.
As far as Notre Dame is concerned, I believe strongly that if the Fighting Irish were 0-3 on the year, they would still be listed as a playoff contender. That's just the way things go in college football. Unless the Irish go into Athens, Georgia this weekend and upset the Bulldogs I can't see them being a legit playoff contender. Actually if Georgia beats Notre Dame, the two teams will switch places in next week's list.
For Georgia to make the playoffs, the 'Dawgs will have to beat Notre Dame, win all the rest of their regular season contests, and hope for a win in the SEC Championship Game over either Alabama or LSU.
That's an awful lot of speculation to digest this early in the season but sharing opinions about who will get in and who won't makes following college football so much fun.
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Randy Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org