by Jules Gonsoulin
It’s that time of year we Southerners long for: college football season. This season is sure to be one of the most exciting and controversial yet, with the installment of the new, highly anticipated College Football Playoff. The top four teams from the Associated Press poll at the end of the season will be thrust into a steel cage match of football. The number-one seeded team will play number four, two will play three, and the winners will matchup for the National Championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The system was installed to silence critics who claimed that the simple BCS format of one vs. two was ineffective in choosing a clear-cut winner. However, I believe the new system will only stir more exciting controversy. It will be riveting to see if the eventual national champion is actually undisputed or if fans are left on a cliffhanger once again.
With that said, who is most likely to contend for the four playoff spots? We learned from week one games that no one is invincible. Alabama, facing high hopes (and high expectations) as usual, escaped a near upset against a disappointing West Virginia squad. Florida State did much the same against Oklahoma State in a highly anticipated matchup. So who looks to be somewhat safe as the season gets underway?
In the SEC, no one shined quite as bright as Georgia. Led by young quarterback Hutson Mason and Heisman Trophy contender Todd Gurley, the Bulldogs routed out-of-conference rival Clemson. The Dawgs looked crisp and free of early season jitters. They are currently the favorite to win the SEC, next to a high-performing Texas A&M squad who iterated that the end of the Manziel era does not mean the end of the Aggies’ relevance.
Outside the SEC, Ohio State and Notre Dame rolled over their lower caliber opponents; both look to do big things this season. It will be tough to make a case for any team outside of the dominant Southeastern Conference. The SEC currently controls the AP poll and things don’t look to be changing. We already saw one key game in establishing the SEC’s dominance with LSU vs. Wisconsin—two top teams with similar hopes of conference and national championships. LSU took a while to get going, but when it did, the Tigers rallied from a 17-point deficit to claim the night in Houston. It was a strong message from SEC nation that this conference is still reigning supreme.