College football playoff final rankings review

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Alexander Houslander

The 2021-2022 college football season is coming to an end, and the playoff picture gets smaller as weeks go by. With fans begging for new blood in the playoff, they will get their wish. 

Three out of the top five teams in the college football playoff rankings going into conference championship week have never made the playoff: University of Michigan, University of Cincinnati, and Oklahoma State. The University of Georgia has also made it, but only once before in 2018. But like every year, these set of rankings will not stand through week 14, as a lot of the top teams play each other in the final weeks.

The biggest game of the season to date was played Week 13 with number two, Ohio State University facing off against number five University of Michigan in what is one of, if not the, biggest rivalries in all of sports. 

The winner of this game played in the big ten championship against Iowa for a chance to be in the college football playoff. 

Michigan dominated the line of scrimmage with 300 yards on the ground and five touchdowns on offense, and defensive end Aidan Hutchinson had three sacks. Michigan walked away with a 42 to 27 victory which was the biggest win in the last decade for Michigan’s football program. 

Michigan is the all-time leader in the series between the two but has lost 8 games in a row against their arch rival. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan’s head coach came into the season saying he would “beat Ohio State or die trying,” and he did just that. 

Another game with huge playoff implications was number ten, University of Oklahoma, and number seven, Oklahoma State. This is also a huge rivalry that determined the Big 12 championship game with the winner having a very good chance of getting into the playoff. 

If Oklahoma won, there would be a rematch in the Conference Championship game, and if Oklahoma State won they would play the University of Baylor. 

Towards the end of the game, Oklahoma State capitalized on a muffed punt inside the five yard line with a touchdown to take a 37 to 33 lead that would end up being the last score of the game. This was Oklahoma State’s first win over Oklahoma since 2014.                      

With Georgia and Alabama playing each other in the SEC championship, one spot would be opening up, or if Alabama upset Georgia, they both would have to be in the playoff and either Oklahoma State or Cincinnati would be left out. With Cincinnati being questioned because of how weak their schedule is being the only team not in a Power Five conference, they would most likely be the team that doesn’t make the cut. 

In order for Oklahoma State to get into the playoff they would need a win in the Big 12 championship against a top ten ranked Baylor team, and an Alabama loss in the SEC championship game to guarantee it. But they couldn’t get it done. 

Oklahoma State’s quarterback Spencer Sanders threw 3 interceptions in the first half, contributing to the significant Baylor lead of 21 to six at halftime. Oklahoma State’s defense played tremendously and gave them a chance to take the lead with 30 seconds, the score being 21 to 16. It was fourth down and goal and Oklahoma State needed one yard to win it as Dezmond Jackson cut outside but was inches short of the pylon in a very tough loss and what would have been an epic comeback. 

Going into the SEC championship game, Kirby Smart, Georgia’s football coach, has still never beaten Alabama. They have played each other five times since Kirby Smart’s arrival in 2015, and four out of the five of those games were top five ranked matchups. With Georgia being the clear number one team in the country all year long, and having what experts around college football were calling a ‘generational’ defense, many thought this was the year. But it wasn’t. 

Georgia took a three to zero lead into the second quarter but then proceeded to be outscored 41 to 21. Alabama took advantage of the holes in Georgia’s secondary as quarterback Bryce Young threw for 421 yards and Alabama put it away with a pick six. 

Cincinnati was in a little trouble being down ten to zero to Houston early but took off with a 35 to 20 win capturing the AAC Championship, their perfect season, and a playoff spot on lock with Oklahoma State losing. The last game of championship weekend was the Big Ten championship where Michigan beat Iowa, scoring 42 on one of the best defenses in the country and only allowing three points as they sealed the Big Ten championship and a college football playoff bid. 

With the 4 obvious teams making the playoffs in Michigan, Alabama, Georgia and Cincinnati. The only question was who would be number one: Michigan or Alabama? Michigan looked better and was more consistent all year, but ultimately Alabama had the best win with beating Georgia so they got the first seed. 

The semi finals are set, Alabama (#1) and Cincinnati (#4) will play in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl at AT&T stadium in Dallas, Texas, and Michigan (#2) will play Georgia (#3) in the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida. 

Both games will be on New Year’s Eve. The winner of these two games will play for it all in the National Championship on January 10, 2022 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

This has been one of the greatest seasons in college football history. It was awesome to have fans back after the lockdown last year, and to be back playing a full non-conference schedule.  

Michigan, the winningest team in college football history is back at the top contending for a national title. A non-Power Five school finally got in the CFP,  which meant a lot for the teams like UCF, who had won 25 games in a row over two seasons and weren’t even acknowledged. The world is a better place with football back to normal.