4th & Inches College Football: College Football Playoffs Special- Austin Snyder- Raleigh NC

4th & Inches College Football: College Football Playoffs Special- Austin Snyder- Raleigh NC

It’s Selection Sunday for the college football playoffs, and we just wouldn’t be doing the name 4th & Inches service if we didn’t bring you a last-ditch effort to predict how the rankings shake out. Who makes the cut? Who’s left crying at home?

Oh, and to make it interesting – we’re going to treat these like extra credit for our picks.

+1 pick per correct team in the Top 4 & first out

+1 bonus point if the ranking is correct

So, there’s an extra 10 points at stake here – could be enough to shake up the leaderboard. These won’t count as additional picks, but essentially make up for incorrect picks earlier in the season. Since we have to wait through the Army/Navy game next week, we’ll bring you an update in a couple weeks when we release our bowl game edition.

And as some freebie content, we’re gonna give you our thoughts on the biggest snub in the selection process. Let’s get to it!


 

Coin Toss: Final Four

1 Seed

Austin: I chose to wait on making these picks until games were over yesterday. Not that it mattered as the games that would decide the playoffs shook out as I expected. Clemson was already number one going into the ACC title game. And absolutely dismantled seventh-ranked Miami. All three of us expected Clemson to win, but I don’t think any of us thought it would be by that high of a margin. Georgia avenged their loss to second-ranked Auburn and Oklahoma had another good showing against TCU, but it just won’t be enough to propel anyone else into number one over the Tigers.

Final Pick: Clemson

Clackers: I initially made these picks prior to Saturday’s games, however we all knew that the results from yesterday would affect these rankings in some way - so I have made some adjustments, especially since I had Auburn winning the SEC title. Tigers were number 1 coming into the title game; with a win there is no way that anyone can jump them in the rankings especially with #2 going down.

Final Pick: Clemson

Gumpa: Full disclosure, I wrote all of me analysis before Saturday, so the tenses may be off, but I got all of the calls on conference champs correct, so I stand by the following arguments. In a game that really isn’t as close as the rankings would suggest, Clemson dismantles Miami. While Miami has looked impressive at times this season, they have looked pretty rough at others. Clemson has played consistently well in the post-Deshaun Watson era under Kelly Bryant. They also have the recent pedigree of having “been here before”. I don’t see anyone leapfrogging them for the #1 spot, even if Auburn beats Georgia.

Final Pick: Clemson

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2 Seed

Austin: Oklahoma slides into second almost on default. One loss, predicted conference champions, were already in 3rd and 2nd place lost - so where else could they go? We all said early in the season that we liked Oklahoma for the playoffs. And to make things even sweeter? Baker has all but been handed the Heisman. And how about Lincoln Riley? In his 14th season of coaching, but first as a Head Coach - and leading the Sooners to a 12-1 record, a conference title, and a spot in the playoffs. He’s writing his own ticket after expounding on the foundation laid by Bob Stoops. Hats off to him.

Final Pick: Oklahoma

Clackers: Sooners get the win in the Big12 Championship and with some help from Georgia, taking out Auburn, this will move Oklahoma up the rankings to the 2 spot.

Final Pick: Oklahoma

Gumpa: Baker and the boys, at it again. Oklahoma jumps a spot after they roll TCU. Just like I said 2 weeks ago, we’re looking at a Clemson v. Oklahoma national championship. Baker Mayfield Put up almost 400 total yards of offense and three TD passes earlier this season when these two teams met in Norman and I don’t see a neutral field changing much in the outcome of that game. Auburn loses to Georgia in the SEC Championship and that’s how we get Oklahoma at the two spot.

Final Pick: Oklahoma

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3 Seed

Austin: Georgia will do exactly what they needed to - not only beat Auburn, but do so in a convincing fashion. They also got the help they need from Ohio State, exposing Wisconsin for the frauds they really were. Jumping three spots seems like a lot this high up the board, but the reality is - they have to move, and there isn’t really anywhere else they could go. I had a scenario in which Auburn, Georgia AND Alabama could have wound up in the playoffs, But with Auburn losing by 21 and then Wisconsin losing - both will fall out of the top 4. Leaving Clemson and Oklahoma as 1 & 2. Only team above Georgia unaccounted for is Alabama and I just don’t see how the committee would have Bama finish above the SEC champions. I know it happened with Ohio State and Penn State last year, but not this year - and I’ll tell you why when we get to 4th seed.

Final Pick: Georgia

Clackers: Georgia made a statement and got revenge on Auburn. I know there will be two locks in the CFP, the ACC champ and the SEC champ. With the SEC title in hand, Georgia will shoot up the rankings and earn a spot in the playoffs.

Final Pick: Georgia

Gumpa: That’s right, kiddies. The Dawgs beat Auburn to avenge that ass whooping they took at Auburn earlier this season and jump back into the playoffs. The Tigers will be hungover after the huge win against Bama in the Iron Bowl and Georgia will take advantage. I mean, come on Auburn lost to LSU.

Final Pick: Georgia

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4 Seed

Austin: Are you ready for it? Surprise, surprise - it’s Bama. That’s right - after losing to Auburn and sitting out the SEC title, Alabama will find themselves preparing to play Clemson in the semifinals, instead of the finals like the last two years. There just isn’t really another team that makes sense. Sure, Ohio State won the Big 10, but Wisconsin gave them plenty of trouble. Add to that they are already a two-loss team, and that the Big 10 is a dumpster fire. Starts becoming pretty clear that Alabama is the only other team that makes sense. They are media and committee darlings AND… they were ranked #1 for 12 out of 14 weeks this season. No way they get left out. Wisconsin could have won and still might have missed the bus for Bama.

Final Pick: Alabama

Clackers: This pick pains me. I hate Ohio State and think it was a joke that they made the cut last year, but I think they will make it this year. Ohio State makes it over Bama as a Conference Title will give them the edge (also the committee has a hard on for these assholes). Looking at Bama, 1 loss against Auburn (#2) but no really strong victories. Sure, they beat LSU (#17) and Mississippi State (#23), but both of those teams are overrated, IMO. Looking at Ohio State, lost to Oklahoma (#3) and Iowa(NR), however they have 2 wins against tougher opponents than Bama - Michigan State (#16) and Penn State (#9). Now I don’t think Michigan State is good either, but for arguments sake those rankings will play into SOS and give a little edge to Ohio State. They will lose some ground to Bama due to the loss to Iowa, but I believe that winning the conference championship will put them past Bama in the eyes of the committee. Why? I don’t know but that’s what the committee does, fucks with you. The whole issue with this CFP format is that there are no set criteria for who makes it/why; I think an expansion is necessary but that is not what we are here to discuss. Anywho, Ohio State barely edges out Bama - sitting out this week will hurt the Tide and allow teams to jump them in the rankings.

Final Pick: Ohio State

Gumpa: You all know the playoff committee wants Alabama in the playoff. With them giving such a shit about conference champions and all, Georgia is in for the SEC, Clemson is in for the ACC, Oklahoma holds it down for the Big 12, and the Big 10 sits this one out A.) because #fucktheBig10 and B.) because Wisconsin has a shitty strength of schedule. OH, and they just lost the Big 10 championship to 8th ranked Ohio State. So why doesn’t Ohio State make the jump? Because they have two losses. That leaves you with Bama leapfrogging Wisconsin because the teams behind them with a shot at jumping them are: Georgia, who I already put in; Miami, who I have losing to Clemson, so they drop instead of climb; Ohio State, but we covered that; Penn State doesn’t play this week and they have two L’s; and lastly, USC or Stanford out of the Pac-12 and whoever wins that one will have at least two losses. Plus, I don’t think anyone could really argue against Alabama being one of the four best teams in the country.

Final Pick: Alabama

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First Out/The Burst Bubble

Austin: If Georgia jumps three spots it isn’t out of the question for Ohio State to do the same and for similar reasons. Like Bama, the Buckeyes are a media darling and committee favorite. And… it doesn’t make any sense to have Wisconsin ranked above them after being beaten for the Big 10. Especially when the loss exposes what I’ve been saying all season. Wisconsin is #blessed with the easiest lineup in a power 5 conference division, and had a terribly easy out-of-conference schedule. USC winning will pull them up, and Miami losing so horrendously will push them down. I predict USC jumps to 8, Penn State stays in 9th and Miami falls to 10th. Seeing how close the game between Ohio State and Wisconsin really was, I have Wisconsin at 6th. Auburn may be getting a bit of an unfair shake here, dropping 5 spots to 7th. Wouldn’t be surprised to see them in 5th with OSU 6th and Wisconsin 7th, but I think this second loss weighs them down more than might be expected.

Final Pick: Ohio State

Clackers: Well you can read my analysis above as to why I believe that they will be first out. They start the week on the outside looking in and, again for reasons stated above, will be jumped by Ohio State. Thus, marking the first year that Bama will not make it to the Final Four, since its conception.

Final Pick: Alabama

Gumpa: Ohio State had an argument as a conference champion, but had two Ls and just aren’t as good a team as Bama. They get the same treatment they gave Penn State last year, and it is glorious.

Final Pick: Ohio State

Ohio State.jpeg

 

OT: Biggest CFP Snub

College Football Fans

Austin: I don’t really think there is a snub this year. Not like Penn State last year, or Baylor a few years ago. I think the 4 best teams, on a consistent basis, from this season will be selected to play in the playoffs. So how do the fans get snubbed? Because there should be more transparency in the methodology behind selections up front. And more importantly, because there still isn’t a good reason in our minds as to why the playoffs haven’t been expanded. There are 11 conferences and then the Independent programs. So why not expand to 16 teams? 11 conference champions, the Independent team with best record (or some TBD tiebreaker), and then 4 wild card slots? Or… Take the top 10 after conference championships. Still too much? Fine. Expand to 8 and call it a day. There are plenty of other bowl games to cycle a couple of rounds through. More opportunity for revenues, and less bitching about how so-and-so got left out. Hell, they could even adopt a similar approach as championship soccer… okay, I’m gonna stop there before we get all the way down this rat hole. I think you get my point.

Closing Argument: A four team playoff is bullshit

Clackers: Don’t see why they can’t expand the playoff. Look at the FCS, they have a 24-team playoff that works well. I know it’s a money thing because of Bowl sponsorships however there is a quick fix:  make the playoff rounds bowl games. You will get more viewers for those games with something on the line. I think a 16-24 team playoff would be great; 10 conference champs plus the next 6 or 14 best teams filling out the bracket. Yes, you will still get some “snubs”, but a larger playing field will eliminate the bullshit first 4 games that the committee holds against you, and 2-3 losses won’t ruin your chances at a post season. Let’s be honest, there a few 2-3 loss teams this year that could give the top 4 a run for their money.

Closing Argument: Expansion

Gumpa: Is a four-team playoff the best system? No. Is it better than the BCS we had before? Yes. I don’t think it’s feasible at the FBS level to have more than a handful of teams compete in a round robin tournament though. I think an eight-team playoff would be ideal. You don’t need every conference champ in. This isn’t basketball, there wouldn’t be January Madness with all of the mid major upsets. UCF and Boise State simply aren’t going to beat Oklahoma or Clemson with enough of a consistency for me or anyone else to give a shit. I say make it 8 teams, so you probably have the Power 5 champs and then another three teams, like a Wisconsin, UCF or Alabama without the need for an argument this year. And do it all in back to back to back weeks, I love college football, but by the time January rolls around I’m ready for NFL playoffs and college basketball.

Closing Argument: Reasonable expansion

UCF

Austin: Clackers and I went back and forth on this for a while earlier in the week. I’ll spare you the details and give you the condensed version. UCF has been underrated most of the season, that’s a fact. Absurd to me that an undefeated team isn’t at least in the top 10. We aren’t talking a few weeks into the season - no, no… They went a full season and then won their conference championship and still aren’t ranked higher than 10th. But are the only FBS team that were undefeated. It’s fucking tough to do, man. Hell, only 5 teams made it through with 1 loss, and I think 10 that had 2 losses. AND, they have played tougher opponents, based on combined W-L record, than Wisconsin did this year. Yet Wisconsin was ranked 4th? It’s baffling. But I don’t think I’d call it a snub. Yes, UCF should be higher in the polls, but I don’t think they should make the playoffs. Their schedule may be stronger than Wisconsin’s, but let’s be honest here - their conference isn’t as competitive as the SEC’s was. On par with Big 12 and ACC? Debatable. The AAC most closely resembled the Pac-12 and Big 10, a weak side of the division with a clear winner and a more competitive side that came down to the wire with a couple of contenders. And guess who I don’t have in the CFP? Any representatives of the Pac-12 or Big 10. UCF wouldn’t be much different. They should be somewhere between 6th and 10th, but not in the top 4.

Closing Argument: UCF got screwed, not snubbed

Clackers: I, in general, have an issue with the CFP system. It is one of the few (if not only) NCAA sports where not all conference champions make the playoffs. UCF will probably go 12-0 and win their conference yet not make the playoff - granted they will only have 1-win vs a CFP Top 25 team. UCF has the highest scoring offense in D1 football and decent defense to pair - one that has allowed less points per game than 2 teams ranked higher than UCF (one being Oklahoma). Sure, you could argue that this may be due to a weaker conference, but the Big12 is not a strong conference either and you have their potential Champ at #3. Like last year where another good Conference Champion, Penn State, was left out I think this will start the conversation of playoff expansion. I could sit here all day and argue logistics on it all day. But back to my pick, it's hard to leave out an undefeated team, with the best offense (statistically) out of the playoffs. There is so much stress in the early weeks of the College Football on having no more than 1-2 losses or your shot at the CFP is gone, yet here we are with an undefeated team not making it and 2 2-loss teams making it, at least in my CFP predictions. This is the only sport where your schedule determines your playoff hopes, and not your record. To me that is flawed, especially when only 4 teams move on.

Closing Argument: In no other sport will an undefeated team not make the playoffs

Gumpa: Man, Clackers went back and forth with Austin and I on this. I agree with Austin that it sucks for UCF, but they didn’t get snubbed. Move to a better conference and play better opponents. Everyone in the country has roasted Wisconsin for their weak schedule. Out of conference UCF played Maryland, Maine, FIU, Austin Peay and Georgia Tech. Fuck you and your wannabe playoff dreams. The AAC is a garbage conference anyway outside of UCF and Memphis, and that’s not even every year thing. Schedule determines your playoff hopes in every playoff system, because no league has a fully round robin season.

Closing Argument: Who cares? Schedule better and move to a better conference.

Ohio State

Austin: I wouldn’t really consider them a snub, they are a two-loss team and just, frankly, not as good as the four that I think get selected. Hell, I think Auburn beats them, Miami and USC stand a good chance of doing the same, and both Wisconsin and Penn State could beat them if given another shot.

Closing Argument: The “O” is for Overrated

Clackers: I have them in after getting the conference title.

Closing Argument: Committee has a hard on for the Buckeyes

Gumpa: They won their conference, and everyone wants to blow Urban Meyer. I can’t wait to hear all of the whiny Ohio State fans talk about how they got snubbed. Remember last year when you beat out Penn State and were all “well, actually…”? Yeah, sucks when the shoe is on the other foot. And this year it’s on every dumb Ohio State fan’s foot. Suck it, Lebron.

Closing Argument: Ohio State can eat my huevos

 

“Ohio State can eat my huevos.” What a sentiment to end on. Gumpa truly has a way with words, doesn’t he? The nurses at the home are gonna love him. Granted, they’ll be wondering what a 35-year-old is doing in the nursing home – but that’s besides the point.

You’ve got our picks, let’s hear yours.

Austin considers himself an adopted Raleigh native, having lived here for almost fifteen years. A graduate of the NC State Poole College of Management he currently works in finance for a Raleigh-based contract research organization. In his spare time he can be found at the gym learning Gracie Jiu Jitsu, or working on his startup, Osprey Small Business Consulting. He also enjoys traveling and trying new, local eateries with his wife, Kassy.