Who’s in? 2021-22 College Football Playoff Preview

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Kamryn Jackson, Contributor

This year’s college football season has been stellar, and it’s not over yet. With about a month left in the regular season, it is time to contemplate which teams will make the final four!

According to Saturday Down South, the criteria used to pick the four teams include their schedule’s strength, head-to-head results, the number of championships won, and more!

Here’s a look into the teams currently the front runners for finishing in the final four.

Coming in at No.1 is the Georgia Bulldogs, who are 10-0 this season. The Bulldogs have beaten their opponents by an average of 32 points. The defense is stout this season as the Bulldogs have not allowed an opponent to score more than 17 points in any game thus far. 

Claiming the No.1 spot would be a massive deal for the Bulldogs as this would only be the 2nd time they make the final four under the CFP. The Bulldogs previously made the playoffs in 2017 as they defeated the Oklahoma Sooners in the Rose Bowl semi-finals but later lost to Alabama in the National championship. 

According to The Athens, Chair of the 13-person selection committee, Gary Barta, stated, “Right away, Georgia was the clear No. 1,” when asked about his thoughts on the Bulldogs this season.

Swooping in to take the No. 2 spot is none other than the Alabama Crimson Tide. Alabama stands at 9-1, with their only loss from SEC foe, Texas A&M. Alabama is a final four contender every year and has won the championship under coach Nick Saban three times since the CFB system was implemented in 2014. With Alabama regarded as the most prestigious program in college football, making an appearance in this years final four would not be a surprise.

Claiming the No. 3 spot is the Oregon Ducks. Similar to Alabama, the Ducks stand at 9-1 on the season. The Ducks have had a pretty impressive season as they average about 35 points per game while holding their opponents to an average of about 22 points per game. The most notable moment of the Ducks season was their win over Big Ten powerhouse, Ohio State. The Ducks are heavy favorites to win the rest of their regular-season games, and by convincingly doing that, the Ducks are likely to make it to their second semifinal match, upholding a spot in the final four!

Last but certainly not least, taking the 4th and final spot is the Ohio State Buckeyes. According to the NCAA,  the Michigan State Spartans occupied the No. 4 spot for most of the season. However, after an upset in which Purdue dominated the Spartans in a 40-29 win, this gave way for the Buckeyes to claim the No. 4 spot. Ohio State stands at 9-1 with their only loss against fellow final four contender, Oregon. 

The Buckeyes also face a more demanding schedule as 4 out of their 12 games come against top 25 teams. Ohio State has made the championship match twice, including their win in 2015. If the Buckeyes can retain their No. 4 spot, they’ll have the opportunity to win their second national championship under the CFB. 

Students here at A&T have their predictions of what this years final four will look like.

“I’m hoping the championship will be Georgia and Alabama. Georgia’s defense is great. They’re not allowing many points per game, same for Bama. Once these two teams get going, they’re deadly,” junior business administration student Pierce McLendon said.

Some students don’t think Alabama deserves a spot in the top four. 

“I understand it’s Bama, but they shouldn’t be in that top four. They barely beat LSU and lost to A&M. Not top four worthiness,” freshman computer engineering student Aliyah Terry said.

Before the selection show takes place, the NCAA hosts 11 conference championship games. Ironically, this year’s SEC championship match will likely host Georgia and Alabama, two final four contenders. If Georgia were to win this match, Alabama’s chances of making the final four would drop since that would add another loss to their record. On the other hand, if Alabama were to win this match, Georgia would likely still make the final four, especially if they win their remaining regular-season matches, but they might not get that No. 1 seed.

With the CFB selection show set to take place on Dec. 5, time will tell which four teams will get the opportunity to compete for a national championship.