Yes, I get it, how can an ACC battle be the biggest game of the year. The ACC hasn’t even competed in a National Championship game since Oklahoma beat Florida State in the 2000. However the matchup between FSU and Clemson is the only game between two top 5 ranked teams this year thus far. Miami lurks just behind these two ACC power houses, which raises the question is the ACC back? According to how the National Championship contenders have been selected the last 10 years it certainly looks like it.
The National Championship selection comes down to 3 factors: Who did you beat? Who beat you (if anyone)? Are you an SEC team? If we can get past the SEC thing the winner of the Florida State Clemson game is definitely title bound. First let’s look at the foremost factor: Who did you beat? Alabama has the opportunity to put three good games on their resume with a win on a neutral site against VaTech, a win away against the Texas A&M Fightin’ Manzeils, and a potential home win against the Bayeux Bengals. Alabama could also have a decent test in the SEC Championship game but the SEC East has again looked unconvincing. We can ignore Ohio State in this category since there have been Boise State teams with a harder schedule then what Urban Meyer faces this year in Columbus. The Final non-ACC team in this mix is Oregon who already has a big win away at Washington. However, their gauntlet still stands when they play UCLA and Stanford in back to back tests. If Clemson wins out they will have a quality win against Georgia, South Carolina, Florida State (this weekend’s test) and most likely Miami who could be ranked between 3 and 15 when they play them in the ACC championship game. Finally our last top 5 team, Florida State, with an undefeated season will have wins against Clemson, Florida, Miami (twice if they beat VaTech to the ACC championship game), oh and a 63-0 thumping of a ranked Maryland team.
After Factor 1 we can rank our top five teams like this: 5. Ohio State 4. Florida State 3. Oregon 2. Alabama 1. Clemson. On to factor numero dos!
The second biggest question is who did you lose too? Let’s start by getting the easy one out of the way first. If the Buckeyes lose, their National Championship run is done, over, caput. Oregon comes in next in this category thanks to Stanford’s loss this weekend (yes in conference losses of rivals does hurt your team, I don’t make the rules I just complain about them). This position could change if UCLA continues to climb the polls but right now this where the Ducks stand. In second/third (with a slight edge to Clemson) comes our only elimination game in the top five. Did I mention that it was this weekend? For both teams this loss won’t knock them out of the top ten but will effectively ruin their NCAA title bid. Not only because said team will have one loss but would have to make up two games on the victor. Finally, because of SEC lean, Alabama has the most leniencies in the loss column.
After factor number two our numbers should read like this: 4. Ohio State 3. Oregon 2. Our ACC Play in Game 1. Alabama.
So who plays in the national championship game? First of all, thanks to factor 3, if Alabama runs the table they will get an inside lane similar to the one that Mercury has on Jupiter. Whose number two though? Thanks to the point differential Oregon would most likely be second in the running, however consider this. If Clemson makes it through Saturdays game they will only have one big test left, THE COCKS (sorry had to). Oregon still has the Gauntlet of their schedule left and will probably have to play UCLA twice (PAC-12 championship). Also, if Clemson runs the table, they will have beaten 3 major SEC teams this calendar year. This should be enough to give Clemson the inside track over Oregon but just barely. But what about my alma mater? Well first “Famous” Jameis Winston needs to go into Clemson and prove that he’s a Heisman contender by winning the game. The Noles also have to pray Florida, Clemson and Miami win every other game they play this year to increase factor one. Finally we come to Ohio State. If there is a god they won’t end up in the National Championship and will hopefully be jumped every two seconds.
AND THAT’S JUST THE COMPUTERS!
Finally let’s look at the human factor. Don’t worry Buckeyes, there are enough blind people in the country that make you competitive enough to receive some votes. Oregon, as fun as they are to watch, has a huge disadvantage…. THEY PLAY AT 10 O’CLOCK AT NIGHT. East coast voters are going to vote on an Eastern Team for no other reason than they don’t watch Oregon play. The Ducks do put some flashy numbers on the scoreboard but it won’t be enough in a Southern dominated sport. The Clemson-Florida State game however will be on at 8 PM and everyone will be watching. The winner of this game will get some first place votes just because they’ll be the only team to have beaten a top 5 team. With this in mind, that extra 40 percent is enough for the ACC powers to jump the Quack Attack. Finally, Alabama… 2 straight titles and 3 of the last 4 enough said.
As you can see, this weekend is kind of important. Clemson and Florida State both posses some of the highest flying offenses this side of Eugene. Couple this with a sprinkling of SEC wins, an invigorated Miami, and a defensively tough VaTech, these ACC contenders should have enough to get there. I can’t wait for Saturday and finally F-L-O-R-I-D-A S-T-A-T-E! WHAT WHAT! FLORIDA STATE FLORIDA STATE FLORIDA STATE! WOO!!!!!!!