On Sunday, the NCAA announced the four teams that have advanced to the College Football Playoff. And, as usual, the naming of the teams did not happen without controversy. There are always those who feel snubbed.  There are always those who advocated for a larger playoff to accommodate those teams that feel snubbed. And of course, there are always the people who are tired of the same old teams getting in, so they’re mad. We have all that this year too, but with the added issue of shortened seasons because of COVID-19.

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The Easy Picks

One of the reasons we get “the same old teams” is that those same old teams are good year after year after year. Alabama, a perfect 11-0 on the season and the consensus No. 1 team in the country, was left out of the final four last year, but it is back for a sixth time in seven seasons. The Crimson Tide have advanced to the championship game four times, and as tired as people may be of Nick Saban and crew, they are absolutely deserving. Clemson is also the other team that is in without controversy. Champion two seasons ago and runner-up last year, Clemson is 10-1 and has the best player in the country in Trevor Lawrence. Everyone wants to see him finish his college career playing for another title.

Not So Easy Picks

By rankings alone, it’s hard to keep Ohio State out. They are third in the nation and just won the Big Ten championship.  But when teams from the ACC and SEC have played a full season of football, is it fair to let in a team that only played six games? On the flip side, Ohio State only played six games because of circumstances beyond its control. Good arguments can be made on both sides. That brings us to Notre Dame, the last team in. The Fighting Irish were manhandled on Saturday in the ACC Championship Game by Clemson. It wasn’t close. The college football odds don’t make anyone believe this next game will be, either. So should they get in over Oklahoma that just won the Big 12? Or how about Texas A&M, the fifth-ranked team in the country that hasn’t won by less than 10 points in seven weeks? And does anyone think Notre Dame will be competitive?

Notre Dame vs. Alabama (-19.5)

If you are experienced at all with sports betting, then you knew that Alabama would be the heavy favorite. Though Alabama is not quite a three-touchdown favorite, the bookmakers in the desert have the Tide rolling in the relocated Rose Bowl and making another appearance in the National Championship Game. Due to COVID restrictions in California, this game will now be played in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Ohio State vs. Clemson (-7)

In Ohio State’s six games, it has looked good. But can Justin Fields keep pace with Lawrence and put Ohio State in its first National Championship Game since the College Football Playoff began in 2014? The smart betting money says no.  The Clemson-Alabama showdown on Jan. 11 will happen. The nation’s best quarterback taking on the nation’s best team. Ohio State will lose to Clemson in the national semifinals for the second year in a row.