The clock is winding down for several teams as they continue to fight for a college football playoff berth. On Sunday, December 8th, the playoff hopefuls will know their fate. While teams like Clemson, LSU, and Ohio State have solidified their resumes and dominance, the race for the fourth seed is on.
The Case for Ohio State: The Buckeyes are 12-0 and have four wins over ranked opponents. While boasting arguably the best defense and one of the best offenses in college football, there are no apparent weaknesses on this team. They continue to win in a dominating fashion, most recently beating their archrival Michigan 56-27.
The Case Against Ohio State: While they have to win the Big 10 Championship on Saturday, it’s highly unlikely that a loss to Wisconsin, a team the Buckeyes have already beaten, would keep them out of the playoffs.
The Case for LSU: At the beginning of the season, no one predicted LSU to be in the position they are now, vying for the first seed in the college football playoff. They dethroned Alabama while putting up a resume that compares to no other team. Whether they win the SEC or not, they’re likely to make the playoffs.
The Case Against LSU: While they do have an impressive resume and are likely to make the playoffs, they aren’t a complete team like Ohio State. Their defense allowed 37 points to an unranked Ole Miss team a couple of weeks ago. They also have a tough task ahead of them against Georgia. Additionally, with Alabama losing to Auburn, a win against Alabama doesn’t look as impressive as it once did.
The Case for Clemson: After suffering a minor scare against UNC earlier this season, Clemson hasn’t looked back. They’re set to win the ACC Championship for the 5th straight year.
The Case Against Clemson: While winning the ACC with an undefeated record will earn them a playoff berth, the real question lies in their weak resume. Clemson’s only ranked win came in week two against Texas A&M, who is now unranked.
The Case for Georgia: While they have an ugly loss on the season to South Carolina, they have several quality wins over Auburn, Florida, and Notre Dame. Although they only score 32.9 points per game, they have the 3rd best defense in college football, behind only Clemson and Ohio State.
The Case Against Georgia: If they can beat LSU and win the SEC, there is no doubt about Georgia’s future. However, if they lose to LSU, two losses could cost them their playoff berth. The committee will have to decide if a two-loss Georgia team deserves to make the playoffs over a one-loss Big 12 or Pac 12 champion.
The Case for Oklahoma: The Sooners have a chance to strengthen their resume and put their past struggles behind them if they can convincingly beat Baylor for the second time this season.
The Case Against Oklahoma: The Sooners have endured a rough stretch of football. Close wins and an upset loss to Kansas State could continue to haunt them. Even if they win the Big 12, they aren’t guaranteed a playoff berth. Oklahoma fans should be hoping that LSU beats Georgia and that Oregon beats Utah.
The Case for Baylor: The Bears have a chance to redeem themselves against Oklahoma. Winning the Big 12 and beating an Oklahoma team they previously lost to could bump them up into the playoff race. Additionally, they have looked impressive in their last two games, with wins over Kansas and Texas.
The Case Against Baylor: So far, Baylor has only played one ranked team, Oklahoma, and lost to them. Another loss to Oklahoma will surely eliminate them from playoff consideration.
The Case for Utah: The Utes have dominated all but one of their games and have two wins over ranked teams. Winning the Pac 12 gives them a shot at the fourth seed, seeing as they were most recently listed ahead of Oklahoma and Baylor. Beating Oregon would only strengthen their resume.
The Case Against Utah: Being undefeated would put them ahead of one-loss teams like Oklahoma, Baylor, and Georgia. However, a loss to USC changed that. The Pac 12 conference isn’t as highly regarded as the SEC or Big 12, who have multiple contenders fighting for the 4th seed.