1. Ohio State
Why: As long as they remain unbeaten, it's virtually impossible to not include the Buckeyes in my Final Four. I believe that, as long as Urban Meyer names J.T Barrett (10/17, 30 Yds and 2 Passing TD's vs. PSU) the starter for the remainder of the season, they'll have no problem adding to their 20-game win streak and making the playoff.
What could hurt them: The final two weeks of the season would pit the presumably undefeated Buckeyes against both the #7 Michigan State Spartans and #15 Michigan Wolverines, both of whom are capable of beating Ohio State in what are two crucial Big Ten match-ups.
Why: Leonard Fournette. The Heisman Trophy front-runner has amassed 1,202 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns on 150 attempts in just six games. The sophomore sensation appears to be unstoppable and has left defenses baffled, drawing many Bo Jackson comparisons for his three-game stretch of rushing for over 200 yards against Auburn, Syracuse, and Eastern Michigan . Not many defensive backs want to tackle Fournette with his bruising style of play, and I think that this, along with an improving defense that's giving up around 23 points per game, will lead the Tigers to the playoffs.
What could hurt them: The second half of LSU's schedule concerns me greatly, specifically games against #8 Alabama, #24 Ole Miss, and #15 Texas A&M, who is tied with Michigan in the rankings. The Alabama and Ole Miss games are on the road in hostile environments, and I wouldn't be too surprised to see LSU lose at least one of these games.
Why: The Bears rank at the top of almost every statistical list involving offense, including points per game (63.8), rushing yards (348.7 per game), and receiving yards (317.3 per game). A majority of the offensive firepower for Coach Art Brile's team lies with star wide-receiver Corey Coleman, pictured above. Through six games, Coleman has 16 TD's and 877 receiving yards on 41 receptions, actually breaking Baylor's single-season touchdown record in half a season! This high-powered offense, combined with a relatively weak schedule, should roll to an undefeated record and a spot in the second College Football Playoff.
What could hurt them: The only thing that could possibly hurt the Bears would be their strength of schedule. Now, the back-end of their season will prove to be more difficult with games against #17 Oklahoma, Kansas State, and #4 TCU, another playoff contender, but the combined record of the teams they've faced already is a dismal 75-76.
Why: The Tigers making this list might be a surprise to most, but I have a particularly good feeling about this team. Quarterback DeShaun Watson has emerged as a star for Clemson, throwing for 1,410 yards and 14 TD's in six games for a completion percentage of 68.2 %. The defense has been a bright spot as usual, only allowing about 16.7 points per game. A lights-out defense combined with a great quarterback at the helm should lead Clemson to the final spot in the playoff.
What could hurt them: Florida State. Many people have seemed to forget about the Seminoles since Jameis Winston left for the NFL this past spring, but the #9 'Noles are quietly amassing an undefeated season and pose a serious threat to an Clemson's record and chances of playing in the ACC Championship.
How the playoff will go:
1. Ohio St. def 4. Clemson, 34-31
3. Baylor def 2. LSU, 45-44
Championship: 3. Baylor def 1. Ohio St. 35-21
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