Actually one of the spots has already been locked up. Oklahoma is in. Currently sitting at #3 with the pollsters, the Sooners don't play another game -- so they can't possibly lose.
Another is pretty much a foregone conclusion. #2 Alabama will not, repeat NOT lose to Florida. As an 18 point favorite, the Tide will roll over the Gators. It's a mere formality, but count Bama in.
The Big 10 conference championship game is interesting. Undefeated (12-0) and #4 Iowa taking on one loss Michigan State. The Spartans sit at #5. This is easy to figure. It's a play-in game for the Final Four. The winner is in, and the loser is most definitely out. MSU is favored by 3.5 -- sounds about right -- and they've been getting a lot of attention lately. After waltzing into previously undefeated Ohio State and defeating the Buckeyes fair and square without the services of their star QB Connor Cook, then routing Penn State to finish off the regular season -- the Spartans have been opening some eyes.
All the while, Iowa has pretty much flown under the radar. But hey, undefeated is undefeated. Low profile or not, the Hawkeyes are obviously doing a lot of things right. This should be a terrific game.
That takes care of three spots.
The other is the most interesting of them all. #1 Clemson taking on #8 North Carolina. If Clemson wins, and they're a 4.5 point favorite to do so, the field is set. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is an all-around good guy and a terrific rags to riches story. Like Sara Lee, nobody doesn't like Dabo. He's a goofball, master motivator, and football junkie all rolled into one. Other than the Tar Heels and their faithful, it's difficult to imagine very many people will be rooting against Dabo and his Clemson Tigers. After all, when's the last time Clemson won anything of note? North Carolina perennially has a great hoops team, and their rival Duke as well. NASCAR is based in North Carolina and the NFL Panthers remain the only undefeated team. This year the entire state of South Carolina has Clemson. Period. Of course most otherwise neutral fans will be rooting for them.
But it might not turn out as planned. NC's only loss was their season opener @ South Carolina in a close game. Since then, the Heels have run the table in impressive fashion. These guys are good, and likely deserving of a higher ranking then #8. Oddly enough, they were #10 before the "Committee" last passed judgment in their infinite wisdom, even though nothing had changed on the rankings landscape. They got eased up a couple spots for reasons unknown.
Nevertheless, Clemson will have their hands full with NC, especially with the game being played in Charlotte. Again, if Clemson wins, it's a done deal. The Final Four field will be set. But what if they lose? Dabo and his boys would tumble out of the playoffs, but would a win against Clemson be enough to elevate the Heels all the way up to #4 and get them into the big dance? Probably not, unless it's a blowout. So who would get the last invite?
Might a one loss Ohio State team jump back into the fray again at the last second, like they did last year? We know how that turned out. They won the national championship. The Buckeyes are sitting home this week watching other teams slug it out. Same with Notre Dame.
If a two loss Stanford team goes into USC and wallops the Trojans, might the Cardinal sneak into the last spot? Remember, alumnus Condi Rice sits on the Committee. Plus she's black and she's female -- I think. Lump that whole minority thing all together and if she could sell weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist, don't put it past her to sell Stanford as a Final Four team.
What's that? It's now Saturday and the games that matter will take place in a few hours?
By all means, bring them on. Enough with the talking heads and moronic blog posts like this one.
Let's sort out who's who -- and it's about damn time......