Things can and almost certainly will change between now and Selection Sunday, but as this college football season heads into the home stretch, it’s starting to have that feeling of deja vu all over again.
It looks like Alabama and Ohio State are on a collision course toward a rematch.
By any metric imaginable, it seems almost impossible that the top four in the second College Football Playoff rankings will stay the same to the end.
No. 1 Clemson has the best chance to win out and hold its position because the Tigers play the weakest remaining schedule of any contender. No. 4 Notre Dame, even if it wins out and closes with a victory at Stanford, is going to test the committee’s stated criteria that conference championships matter.
The Fighting Irish, despite their little side deal with the ACC, aren’t in a conference. If Baylor or Oklahoma State runs the table to become the undefeated Big 12 champ and the Bears or Cowboys are on the outside looking in behind one-loss Notre Dame, Jeff Long’s going to have some ‘splainin’ to do.
But if you look at the No. 2 and No. 3 spots Tuesday night, you see two familiar brand names. You see Ohio State remaining at No. 3 and Alabama, after destroying LSU, jumping the Buckeyes up to No. 2.
If that holds, guess who gets a rematch in the semifinals?
It’s a good-news, bad-news, best-case, worst-case scenario for the Buckeyes. Sure, they know they’re talented enough to beat the Crimson Tide because they did it last year in New Orleans, but no one knows the perils of the second time around against Alabama better than Urban Meyer.
How did Alabama respond to losing the 2008 SEC Championship Game to Meyer, Tim Tebow and Florida? By – all together now – making Tebow cry and Meyer quit in the 2009 SEC Championship Rematch.
How did Alabama answer its 2011 Game of the Century regular-season loss to LSU? By shutting down, shutting out and shutting up the Tigers in the 2012 BCS Championship Rematch.
Since Saban got to Alabama, only two coaches have beaten him back-to-back. Les Miles did it during the 2010 and 2011 regular seasons, and Hugh Freeze repeated 2014’s huge win in Oxford this year in Tuscaloosa.
As much as this season has delivered one play after another we’ve never seen before, it just feels like the playoff is going to give us at least one sequel.
It’s probably the last show Meyer and the Buckeyes want to watch.
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