The first College Football Playoff rankings will appear this Tuesday, beginning the countdown to the explosive finale to this year's college football season.
This has been the finest college football season ever seen, so far. Tons of undefeated teams. Lots of underdogs with huge success stories (I'm looking at you, Temple!). Something like a dozen coaches fired for bad performance, adding yet more hectic action between games. Including legends like Steve Spurrier and Frank Beamer retiring, who have been coaching what seems like forever.
If that wasn't good enough, how about these last second plays? Michigan State blocks a punt and wins. Georgia Tech blocks a field goal and wins. Miami runs back a kickoff via eight laterals and wins. Wow. The greatest finish to any football game in history just played out yesterday before our eyes.
The season is even better when you consider that the American conference, which is amazing this year, will get a championship game for the first time ever, adding to the already feverish fun of the SEC championship, the Pac-12 championship, the Big 10 championship, the ACC championship, etc.
But who really deserves, from what we've seen so far, to be in the top 4 of college football? I think the answer is pretty clear, once you look at strength of schedule and whether the wins were just by luck or due to tried and true skill:
Let's go by order of elimination to explain my picks. First off, you've got to be undefeated. With so many unbeatens, it's ludicrous to look at one loss teams.
Memphis, Houston and Toledo just don't have the strength of schedule they need to compete.
Michigan State should have lost at Michigan, aside from a silly fluke. They shouldn't be respected as though that win actually means something.
TCU has had tons of close calls against weak opposition. The same is true of Ohio State. The same is true of Oklahoma State.
That leaves only four teams you can look at with confidence as being serious contenders for the role of #1. Clemson's win over Notre Dame is huge. LSU beat Florida. Baylor has demolished all of its opponents.
And Iowa? With wins over Northwestern, Wisconsin and Pitt, they've got the best strength of schedule in the country right now. Iowa may have the most solid resume out of all four teams. Anyone leaving Iowa out isn't looking at this season's performance, but are judging teams by their previous seasons and overall football fame. Iowa is the real deal this year. Don't ask me how or why, I can't believe it either. But the results speak for themselves.