Over the past couple weeks, college football programs all across the country have competed for spots in the coveted college football playoffs. As the final weeks came to a close, the playoffs began to take shape leaving us with the final four teams making the cut: Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma. The conference championship games brought up lots of discussion amongst who deserved the fourth spot after Alabama, Clemson, and Notre Dame all ended up undefeated locking up the first three spots in the Playoffs.
Georgia made a statement against Alabama in the SEC Championship leading for the majority of the game until Jalen Hurts who came in for an injured Tua Tagovailoa, led the Crimson Tide to a fourth-quarter comeback. It was the first time Alabama trailed for more than two minutes all season. As Georgia played well on all sides of the ball, being up 21-7 at one point in the game, the defense couldn’t contain Jalen Hurts once he entered the game. Tua threw two interceptions and went 10-25 for 164 yards, his worst performance of the season. However, with Tagovailoa injured, Hurts capped off a 16 play 80-yard touchdown drive to tie the game at 28 with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Jeudy. On his ensuing drive, Hurts lead a five play 52-yard drive finishing it with a touchdown run of 15 yards to seal the game with just over a minute remaining. After the game, Kirby Smart, when asked about whether or not his team should be put into the playoffs, responded with, “Ask that coach over there,” referring to Nick Saban, “and ask him who he doesn’t want to play. I know what he will say.” Even with their close loss to the top-ranked team in the country, the committee decided against putting a two lose non-conference champ, in Georgia, in the top four.
Ohio State also left the committee with something to think about after their commanding 45-24 win over Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship. Heisman candidate and Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins had a huge day going 34-41 with 499 yards and 5 touchdowns. It was Haskins fifth game in which he threw for over 400 yards. No other Ohio State quarterback had ever thrown for more than 400 yards twice in a season. Haskins finished the year with 4580 yards passing and 47 touchdowns. Both accomplishments were Big Ten single-season records. However, despite Haskins outstanding season, Ohio State’s blowout loss earlier in the season to Purdue was just too hard for the committee to justify Ohio State the final spot in the College Football Playoffs.
The team who received the final bid into the college football playoffs was the Oklahoma Sooners who ended up with an impressive 12-1 record. Their only loss came to a Texas team who they ended up beating in a rematch for the Big 12 championship. Much of the Sooners’ success came on the shoulders of quarterback Kyler Murray who leads the nation in touchdowns accounted for with 51. He is also looking to be named the second Oklahoma quarterback in a row to win the Heisman with his 4053 passing yards this season and 892 yards rushing. He has the best odds among all players to win the Heisman after his performance in the Big 12 championship. Overall, the Sooners 12-1 record, along with their conference championship, and rematch defeat of the Texas Longhorns, was enough to convince the committee that their team was worthy of the final spot in the college football playoffs.