Here are some thoughts from Championship Week this past weekend. I watched at least portions of every Power Five Conference championship game and learned quite a bit more about several programs. Here we go.
Despite the fact that two of the four playoff teams are from the Big Ten, the Southeastern Conference still rules college football. The Georgia Bulldogs are big favorites to repeat as national champs, yet there is nothing cast in stone. Alabama, (10-2) and Tennessee (10-2) barely missed out on the playoffs and both schools have secured big-time bowl game appearances.
If Clemson had gone with Cade Klubnik at quarterback in their 31-30 loss to South Carolina, the Tigers could have very easily been among the final four teams.
D.J. Uiagalelei has proven time and time again, he doesn't have the leadership skills to lead a program like Clemson. He is expected to enter the transfer portal soon.
There is a lot of pressure on Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton heading into the Orange Bowl. Milton, who is expected to be the starter for Tennessee next fall, replaced Hendon Hooker when Hooker tore his ACL against South Carolina. The Orange Bowl will be a good stage rehearsal for the 2023 season.
Michigan has perhaps Jim Harbaugh's best team ever in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines are most definitely an "old school" squad with a strong running attack.
The Georgia vs Ohio State first round match up could be one of the best games we've seen in a while. While the Bulldogs are unbeaten, I don't feel they're as good as last year's national championship team. They;re still good enough to win it all however.
TCU is a lot like Cincinnati was last year. A great team, but not up to the other teams in the final four. In a 12-team format, which will be instituted in 2024, the Horned Frogs would be one of the teams chosen, hands down.
Deion Sanders is a great promoter and he's taking his skills to Colorado to rebuild the Buffaloes program. After three seasons at Jackson State, he's proven he is a quality recruiter and a great statesman for the game.
Now that the final four and the bowl games are set, there is speculation about the future NFL draft choices skipping the post season. This has been a problem for several seasons as players don't want to risk a serious injury that would jeopardize their draft status. Alabama could be hit hard. Something should be done, however no one has a plan to protect the college programs from this kind of attrition.
There are two and a half weeks until Christmas, however college football has nothing going on until the bowl games begin over the Holidays. That will be fixed in 2024 when the playoffs are expanded to 12 teams. Now we have a big gap between the end of the regular season and the post season.
Finally, the general feeling is when the playoffs are expanded it will mark the end of the conference championship games. I'm not sure that's correct but it will most definitely diminish the importance of those championship tilts.
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Randy Smith can be reached at email@example.com