2021 NCAA College Football: Playoffs and predictions
December 7, 2021
The College Football Playoff landscape had the potential to be shaken up over conference championship weekend. Despite that, there weren't too many surprising results on Saturday. Rather, many top teams in the country consolidated their positions at the top.
It was a clean sweep for Michigan, Alabama, and Cincinnati. Neither of the Wolverines or Bearcats' championship wins came as a surprise since both teams were favored heading into their games and appeared destined for the College Football Playoff.
In the SEC Championship game, Alabama once again proved it is a force to be reckoned with by defeating Georgia 41-24. It will be the seventh time in the past eight years that the Crimson Tide has participated in the CFP.
The Crimson Tide will be back at No. 1 in the CFP
In the College Football Playoff rankings, Alabama was only knocked out of the top two after Ohio State blanked Michigan State. The team remained at No. 3 after a comeback win in four overtimes over a 6-6 from the Auburn team. It also appears like Alabama will be No. 1 as a result of the committee's esteem for the team and the manner in which it defeated Georgia on Saturday.
As for Michigan, they may have made a case for the No. 1 ranking, but remember how the committee will approach seeding with this top four. To avoid a rematch in the semifinals, Alabama would have to fall to No. 2, which would require Georgia to fall to No. 4.
The committee might reward the one-loss team from the SEC, but it is unlikely, especially since it won the strongest game of the season.
Georgia is still a No. 3 in the CFP
The last season in which two SEC teams qualified for the championship game was the 2017 campaign when Georgia and Alabama were both named to the four-team field. Just like that season, it is likely for the CFP selection committee to include both the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide again this year.
The Tide have already secured a spot, but Georgia will have to hope that its first 12 games were impressive enough to overcome its loss to Alabama in the SEC title game. Their resume includes victories over teams such as Clemson, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Auburn.
It is likely that the Bulldogs are still in the playoffs and will be out for revenge against the Tide. The only way they'll have that chance is if they reach the championship game.
Cincinnati witnesses playoff history
The Bearcats remain undefeated at the top level of college football and have been rewarded with a playoff berth. Cincinnati will become the first non-Power Five team to make the playoffs and could move up to No. 3 in the rankings, though it's believed that they will not go above No. 4.
Whether Cincinnati has what it takes to compete with top Power Five teams such as Alabama, Michigan, and Georgia, will be decided if the Bearcats play the Crimson Tide in the semifinals.