December 10, 2021 | SPORTS | By Max Giles | Photo courtesy of Foundry
The College Football Playoffs (CFP) is one of the most highly anticipated finishes to any sport’s season. While most professional sports leagues have a system that selects for the best teams on its own, college football ranks teams by way of a committee who analyzes the record, opponents, games, and statistics of each team. As a result, social media is filled with debates and arguments over who should be selected every year: this year was no exception.
The four schools selected for the playoff are number one, University of Alabama (12-1), number two, University of Michigan (12-1), number three, University of Georgia (12-1), and number four, University of Cincinnati (13-0).
Some may be wondering why Cincinnati, with the only undefeated record, is ranked fourth and not first. Due to the intricacies of college football, which include varying degrees of skill in conferences and differing opportunities for schools to receive the best recruits, teams are not judged solely by their record. Their opponents, schedule, and conference play a major role as well.
The University of Alabama, a college football powerhouse, sits in the number one spot going into the playoffs. They have been national champions five out of the last 10 years and are far and away the most consistent college football team.
Going into their conference final, the South Eastern Conference (SEC) championship, they stated their case for receiving the number-one rank after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs, who were ranked number one at the time.
The Crimson Tide were perfect all season except for a single three-point loss to Texas A&M in early October. It will be interesting to see this SEC powerhouse take on underdog Cincinnati in the semi-finals.
University of Michigan is also a consistently ranked football team. However, they have not won a national championship since the 90s.
The Wolverines put together impressive wins against the Ohio State Buckeyes, Iowa Hawkeyes, and Penn State Nittany Lions. Their one loss was to rival Michigan State in October. With one of the best players in college football, Aidan Hutchinson, the Wolverines have an impressive lineup that will make for a good matchup against number-three Georgia.
The Georgia Bulldogs were having a record season going into the SEC championship. They beat every team they faced for their first twelve games. These included impressive wins over Clemson, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Auburn.
Georgia fans were excited to see the bulldogs’ undefeated record going into their conference championship. Unfortunately, the hopes of a perfect season were crushed when Alabama handed them their first loss.
Finally, we have a Cinderella team: the Cincinnati Bearcats. Many doubted that the team would be selected to the playoffs, citing an assumption that the CFP committee would never choose a Group of Five team to be in the playoffs. However, the doubters were proved wrong.
Now, the Cincinnati team is making history as the first of their conference to be in the CFP. They had impressive wins over Notre Dame and Houston. They finished the season with 13 wins and 0 losses, making them the only undefeated team in the CFP. If Cincinnati manages to pull off the upset against Alabama, it will be a historic moment in CFP history.