The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Moller: College Football Playoff tiers after three weeks of football

| Thursday, September 23, 2021

Three weeks into the college football season, the College Football Playoff is already starting to take shape. Here I will list out the different tiers of teams.

The Top Contenders

Alabama: The Crimson Tide are no strangers to being the top contender for the playoffs, and they are looking the part of a contender this season behind freshman quarterback Bryce Young. Although they had a close call in a two-point victory on the road against Florida this past weekend, this team looks like they have all the tools necessary to succeed going forward. Alabama has to be the favorite at this point.

Georgia: A victory over Clemson in Week 1 is easily the highlight of Georgia’s season so far. With the way that Clemson has been looking as of late, though, I have started to question how good of a win that really was. Despite this, no one can argue that the Bulldogs have arguably the best defense in the country. The Bulldogs will need to figure their offense out going forward, but they are the clear favorite to win the SEC East at this point.

Oregon: A stunning victory on the road at Ohio State has the Ducks firmly listed under the top contenders section. This team looked the part of a playoff team, as they were able to control the game from start to finish against the Buckeyes. The Ducks have made the playoffs before, but they have never been able to take that next step and win a title. With this team’s combination of defense, running ability and passing ability, the sky seems to be the limit.

Oklahoma: The Sooners have been less than impressive so far this season, but I have confidence in Spencer Rattler and company to find their groove soon. The Sooners have started the year slowly on previous occasions, and if they can avoid losing in these opening weeks, they should have a very good chance of going undefeated in their Big 12 schedule.

Iowa: Facing this Hawkeyes defense has to be any college quarterback’s nightmare. The Hawkeyes have already recorded six interceptions on the year and have made life tough on every opponent they have faced. There definitely is plenty of room for improvement on the offensive side of the football, but running back Tyler Goodson is a great running back that can help the Hawkeyes score just enough to win any game.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions arguably have the best two wins of the season with their road win against Wisconsin and last week’s home victory against Auburn. Quarterback Sean Clifford has looked a million times better than last season, and the Nittany Lions look to be a legitimate contender at this point. A showdown in Iowa City awaits them in two weeks that could decide their College Football Playoff fate.

Fringe Contenders

Cincinnati: With a win over Notre Dame in a week, the Bearcats will be considered one of the top contenders.

Texas A&M: The Aggies have to figure out their offense, but a win over Arkansas this week could elevate them up a tier.

Ohio State: The Buckeyes have a lot to figure out, but they have the talent on their roster to do just that and turn their season around.

Clemson: The Tigers will not face a ranked team the rest of the year, and they better start beating these unranked teams more convincingly if they want to be considered a true contender again.

Florida: They challenged Alabama to the end, but a loss is a loss. The Gators must now run the table to be in playoff contention.

Ole Miss: Quarterback Matt Corral has put up Heisman numbers so far, and if the Rebels can play tough with Alabama in a couple of weeks, this team will prove themselves as contenders.

The outside looking in:

Notre Dame, Arkansas, Iowa State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, BYU, North Carolina, Kansas State, Auburn, UCLA

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

About Nate Moller

Nate is a junior majoring in chemical engineering. He is originally from a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota and is currently living in Siegfried Hall. Some of his passions include running, cross country skiing, and getting too worked up about Notre Dame and Minnesota sports teams.

Contact Nate