Are these the four teams you wanted to see in the Semis and if not who do you think should have been there?

Brett McMurphy from Action Network: You know, it depends if you wanted the nation's best four teams or the most deserving. Well, I think this is a fascinating four team field. I don't think the committee got the best four and I don't think they got the most deserving. They got a mixture of both. My biggest frustration with the committee is the most consistent thing about the committee is their inconsistency. They change year to year. What's important to them. If we were going to go with the four best teams based on the power ratings right now, it would be Alabama. Michigan. This may surprise some people. Georgia and Ohio State, those are the four highest rated teams, according to the Vegas power ratings.

Obviously, if it was most deserving, Florida State would have made the playoffs. Fortunately, this is the last year, the four team field. But I do agree with the committee that Florida State without quarterback Jordan Travis is not one of the four best teams. That sucks for Florida State because every year, the previous nine years of the playoff, they would have got in. They didn't get in this year. But ultimately, I wouldn't have had a problem if Florida State would have got in. I'm okay with the field the way it is. I think it sets up. We've got, you know, four teams from, you know, basically four different parts of the country should get monster TV ratings. But look, if Florida State goes undefeated, they can claim a national championship, just like UCF did a few years ago when they went undefeated.

Bama don't line up in playoff games as Underdogs too often - is that a tag Nick Saban will be using in the build up to this semi against Michigan?

BM: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, Nick Saban will will bring up the fact Alabama is an underdog. I, I can literally hear him right now. Nobody believes in us. Nobody is giving us a chance. It's us against the world. Of course, Jim Harbaugh is going to be saying the same thing. But yeah, this is a rare row for Alabama. It's the first time Alabama has been an underdog to a non SEC school since the 2018 Sugar Bowl against Clemson. Alabama won going away in that game, by the way. So be careful if you're back in Michigan and this is only the fifth time Nick Saban has been an underdog as a head coach at Alabama and I've learned a lot of things in my long life and I've forgotten a lot of things.

But one thing I will never forget is you don't want to provide Nick Saban with any motivational edge, so I guarantee you publicly he won't play up the underdog role. But inside the locker room and inside that, the facility in Tuscaloosa, he will be banging the drum about nobody's given us a chance and let's prove them wrong. And if look, if we go back to the start of the season, everybody was doubting Alabama. And they they've surprised everybody. They shocked Georgia. And here they are, two wins away from another national title for for Nick Saban.

This Michigan defense has got it done all year long - what makes them so special and does Bama have enough on offense to break them down?

BM: I mean, Michigan has been able to impose its will on teams with it, with its locked in on defense. The Wolverines had the nation's second best overall defense, their sixth against the run. I'm kind of torn here. Is it because they're that dominant or maybe because they face some suspect offensive teams? Probably a little bit of both. Michigan also runs a pedestrian offense, one of the slower offenses in the country, which limits the number of possessions in the game.

Obviously, that helps Michigan's defense. Alabama, as everyone knows, doesn't have all the all world talent at wide receiver like they have in past seasons. But Jalen Milroe has improved continually all season and his speed and ability to hit the big play has flustered defenses away. Auburn…sorry is that is it too soon to mention Milroe’s big play abilities? What makes Michigan tough on defense? They swarm to the ball. They are one of the best tackling teams in the nation. And this is not a high powered Alabama offense. So I think this this semifinal in the Sugar Bowl will probably be more of a lower scoring game, which actually probably plays into the strength of both teams.

If Michigan go on to win the National Title, does the sign stealing saga tarnish that somewhat?

BM: If you're in Ann Arbor? Absolutely not. They they could care less vacate the wins, take away the title. They don't care. They want it on the field. Everyone else obviously will feel much differently. You know, look, the Big Ten has already had Harbaugh, you know, suspended. He served the three game suspension. You know, the NCAA, they still have to rule on this. They're not going to rule on this this year. In fact, by the time the NCAA gets around to ruling on this, I think Jim Harbaugh will be in his second season coaching in the NFL somewhere.

So, while people outside of Ann Arbor may get fed up with it and up in arms, people inside the borders of Michigan, won't care at all. So, I guess it kind of depends on where you sit, if you're a Michigan fan or not. But they won't…they can't take away the title if Michigan wins it. But yeah, some people want to stick an asterisk on it.

Harbaugh's Michigan Legacy needs a title?

BM: You know, I can see where where some people may look at it that way. But ultimately he has flipped this series with Ohio State and that's more important to Michigan people than probably winning the national title if you gave them truth serum. And believe me, I've tried kicking and screaming, and they refuse to take it. But I think they would value beating Ohio State over winning a national title because that's something they live 365 days a year. Certainly, Michigan in the playoff has not been very impressive.

Will this finally be the year that they breakthrough? They were, you know, they were outclassed by Georgia. They lost to a TCU team that turned around and, you know, lost by 100 to Georgia. You know how disappointing that loss must have been. So, yeah, this is this is a big playoff for Harbaugh. I don't think it necessarily would be fair to call it a disappointment because he has the equity of those wins against Ohio State, especially because the way this series had gone with Ohio State until Michigan flipped the script on that the last three or four years.

The second semi features two outstanding young QB's who have stepped up in big games multiple times already in their college careers - is it Ewers or Penix Jr that you expect to do that again here?

BM: Yeah, I think it's pretty simple. I mean, for Washington to have any chance to win, Michael Penix must have his a-plus game. I don't think that's the case for Quinn Ewers of Texas. I don't believe Texas is as reliant or dependent on Ewers as Washington is with with Penix.

I think Texas is more balanced. I think teams have given Washington problems. Yeah, they're undefeated. But I think people have kind of given a glimpse at their kryptonite. If you can kind of play eight back in coverage and kind of make Penix have to kind of move methodically, move the ball down the field, that gives Washington some issues. So, if Penix is off his game, I don't think Washington stands a chance. If Ewers is off his game. I still think Texas can win this game.

You touched on it there with what Texas might need to do in order to slow Washington and penix down. Elaborate on that a bit more. What what are these two defenses going to have to do to slow down these QB?

What do Texas and Washington have to do to slow down the other offense?

BM: I think specifically what I would do if I'm Texas is rush only three. You've got T’Vondre Sweat you know clogging up the middle arguably the best defensive lineman in the country when he's not catching touchdown passes and doing Heisman poses in the Big 12 title game. But I think Texas will drop eight. They'll dare the Huskies to run against the Longhorns and that's what several PAC-12 teams did against Washington earlier this season. They kind of showed how you can slow them down, which was kind of weird because Oregon got away from that in the PAC-12 title game. But after Washington beat Oregon in the middle of the season, in that regular season classic game, Washington's next six games, they won them all by less than ten points.

They struggled against some teams and almost lost to some teams. They had no business of even being in close games with Stanford, Arizona State, those teams forced Washington to kind of drive it down the field, which we talked about a little bit earlier. And Penix struggled in those contests. He really struggled. And then something just clicked in that Oregon game.

I think Texas does the same. And that's why I think it gives Texas the advantage. For Washington's defense, I don't think they can be that. They have to be more balanced because you've got to respect the run with Texas. You know, Ewers obviously can beat you, you know, through the air, but they're not as dependent on Ewers as Penix is passing the ball. So, I think that makes it probably harder for Washington to kind of defend Texas then vice versa.

2023 College Football Playoffs Predictions and Picks

Who wins the College Football Semi-finals and what's your predicted score for each game?

BM: In the Rose Bowl semifinal…I give Michigan the slightest of edges. I think the players, whether they want to admit it or not, probably think this is Jim Harbaugh’s final year before heading to the NFL with what is going on with the sign stealing allegations. The NCAA investigations. You know, is he finally just been fed up with the college model dealing with NIL and all that all that that surrounds that. And certainly they want to send him out with the national title. Look, it's never a smart decision to bet against Nick Saban. And maybe I should know better. But for some reason, I think Michigan wins this game. I'll take Michigan 27-24. Yeah, in the Sugar Bowl semifinal, look, I see Texas winning by double digits.

I just feel Texas is the most underrated team in the field because they were in the Big 12 and I believe they were somewhat forgotten after the mid-season loss to Oklahoma. And I also think it's funny, when we were kind of projecting who was going to get in the playoff, people were kind of wanting to dismiss Texas' win against Alabama. About how long ago in the season that happened…almost like, well, it happened two months ago, so it shouldn't count.

That was arguably the most impressive win of the season by anybody they won in Tuscaloosa. I think they're the most balanced team. Kind of what I talked about earlier. I think defensively they lay back and make Penix beat them, throw underneath. Ultimately, I think Texas’ defense will be the difference. I think it's a much higher scoring game than the Rose Bowl, I like Texas to beat Washington 37-24.

So you've got a Michigan Texas national title game right now. As it stands, a lot of things can happen, obviously. But as it stands right now, who would you be leaning towards?

2023 College Football National Championship Prediction and Pick 

Who wins the 2023 National Championship Title?

BM: I'm going to stick with Texas. I think Texas, if they get to this point, and I think they will. They'll have a quasi home field advantage with the national title game being played in Houston. And of the four playoff teams, I think Texas is the most balanced offensively. Defensively, they've got the rushing defense with Sweat in the middle to stifle Alabama or Michigan, whoever they favor. And ultimately, I like the Longhorns to win its first national title since 2005. And then they'll dance off to the riches of the SEC next season.

What should I we'll start with this What should college football fans know about with the realignment of the multiple conferences next season? And do you think this is this is is this the end of the realignment or are we going to see things change over the next few seasons?

Conference Realignment 2024

What should college football fans know about the realignment of the multiple conferences next season? Do you think this is the end of the realignment or are we going to see things change over the next few seasons?

Next year we've got the SEC, you know, going to 16, we've got the Big Ten going to 18, we've got the Big 12 going to 16, we've got the ACC going to 17. I think I've got all those right. We've got the PAC-12 going down to 2. So yeah, musical chairs and you're right about, you know, is this the end of it. I don't think the music stopped. I think it will slow down for a little bit, but I think ultimately the Big Ten is going to get even bigger. I think the teams in the ACC, why they added Stanford, Cal and SMU is because they know they're going to lose some teams.

They know Florida State is not long for the ACC, they know Clemson is not long for the ACC. North Carolina and Virginia would be the top two targets if the SEC decides to go beyond 16. And I hate this for college football. I think it sucks. I hate that there's no Southwest conference anymore. There's no WAC. But that's the way of the world. That's the way we're headed. I think something to keep your eye on when you're looking towards next year is if you're playing win totals.

I think a lot of these teams in the mid-tier of these power conferences should have a lower win total because their schedule is going to get tougher. When you're adding an Oklahoma or Texas to the SEC, when you're adding USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington into the Big Ten, those teams are going to beat up on each other. So you're going to have a lot more teams that are…it's going to look like the NFL. You're gonna have a lot of teams hovering around .500 except for the, you know, the top of each conference. So that's something to keep an eye on. And if you don't like the conference your favorite team is in, well, don't worry, just wait a few years because it'll probably change again. But as long as you're in the SEC or in the Big Ten, that's the place to be because they are King Kong and Godzilla as far as the college football pecking order.

NCAAF The 12 Team Playoff Format 

I think the biggest change with the new 12 team playoff is that you'll have more teams in contention. I mean, going into the last month of the season, you'll have anywhere from 25 to 30 teams with a legitimate chance to get into the 12 team playoff.

Now, I'm not saying if you're ranked 30th, you can get up to the top 12, but if you're ranked 30th, you're probably competing for your conference title, whether it's, you know, in one of the smaller group, group of five conferences. And if you win that conference, you will go to the College Football Playoff. The downside of it, some people have brought up and I agree with it, is, you know, we had the Ohio State-Michigan game, we had the Colorado, excuse me, the Oregon-Washington game.

Those were basically winner advance to the College Football Playoff. Well, now the loser of those games will still get into the College football playoff they just won't get a first-round bye. So now you're going to be playing for a first round bye as opposed to whether you can get in or not. And then the the thing I am most excited about is the first round of the playoffs in 2024 will be on campus sites. So that will be so electrifying, and I guarantee it, 2 seconds into the first game we see a game on campus, you're going to see everybody on Twitter, and by everybody I mean me, saying, why don't we play all the playoff games on campus except for the National Title game? Rotate that around like the Super Bowl, but it will be fascinating. And then as soon as a top four team, they've got a bye, into the quarterfinal round and loses that game at a bowl site, then their coach will complain about them not having a home field advantage. And then there will be a push to put all the playoff games on campus or at least I can only hope so.

Well, what have we talked about all season this year. This is how the 12 team playoff what it look like next year. Like nobody's talking, yeah we're talking about the four team playoff, but you know every major media outlet has done their graphic or the little Twitter tweet or or their story about, well, if the 12 team playoff was in place this year, this is who would be in it. And look at all these matchups. Yeah, it'll be incredible. It'll be incredible TV and that's what's most important to the College Football Playoff, you know, bean counters because they're going to get monster ratings and yeah, it'll be great. It will diminish the regular season somewhat. I'm not going to say it's going to kill it, but yeah, the playoff will be unbelievable.

NCAA Transfer Portal Effect 

Do you expect to see some big moves over the next few weeks?

Yeah, I mean, it would actually be quicker to list the players that are not in the transfer portal then compared to the players in the transfer portal. 247Sports has a list of all the players in the portal. I glanced at it the other day so it may not be updated. There's 133 FBS teams. Obviously you've got starters, backups, third stringers or whatever. There are 120 quarterbacks in the portal right now, but there aren't enough places for these guys to go, but they're going to continue to move around. They're going to try to find a home. They want to go somewhere where they can play right away. I think that's, 1a1b is to get the most lucrative NIL deal. But yeah, we're going to see continual movement of quarterbacks to these different teams and it's basically, it's like the NFL model except the NFL model actually has rules. College model does not have rules. The payment to the players and I think they should be compensated. There are no restrictions to that, and you know, to steal a line I've probably, an analogy I probably used way too many times…It's college football right now is like the wild, wild West. But I don't want to insult the wild, wild West.

Colorado Football 2024 Predictions 

What do you expect to see from them moving forward into next season?

They will be vastly improved. And you're right, at the start of the season, Colorado got off to a, you know, fascinating start. You know, they beat TCU, they beat Nebraska, that thrilling overtime win against Colorado State. I didn't, but everybody else lost their mind. I mean, they're like, more money was bet on Colorado to win the national title, or at least they were one of the top three or four teams. If you want to bet Colorado to win the national title, you can find my email online. Email me. I'll book the bet. Okay, I'll give you. What do you want? 50-to-1. You got it locked in. And then what happened?

Well, we fast forward to the end of the season. Colorado went 4-8. What were they projected before the season three, four or five wins? They were what we thought they were. So, Deion did a tremendous job in creating, you know, attention to that program. Look, they were the third most watched program in college football this year behind only Alabama and Ohio State. That is remarkable for a team that's 4-8. So what does it look like going forward?

He will be and has been in the portal. I think they've already got their entire offensive line brought in from the portal, which is obviously they need that to protect Shedeur Sanders, but I think they will be vastly improved. Are they going to win the Big 12? No, I wouldn't expect them to win the Big 12, but certainly I do think they will get to a bowl game, and I think they'll continue improving. But certainly they caught the attention of everybody last year. But you're not going to sneak up on everybody. And certainly, we saw the pre-game speech by Dan Lanning against Oregon.

A lot of teams are going to make that speech before they play Colorado. So Colorado is definitely the hunted. And, you know, we'll we'll find out, you know, how good of a coach Deion is in the coming years, but certainly he made just an unbelievable splash in year one in Boulder.

2024 CFB Teams to Watch 

Is there a team moving into next year that you saw improvement in this year and that you can see as a sleeper pick into next season?

I really like, I talked about Arizona in the Alamo Bowl against Oklahoma. I really like Arizona and what Jedd Fisch is doing there. He's got an NFL background and he's come in there, they lost their starting quarterback to an injury. They put a freshman in there and they didn't miss a beat. You know, the PAC-12 did away with divisions this year. If they would have still had the North and South divisions, Arizona would have won the South and played for the PAC-12 title. You know, potentially, maybe not this year, but next year, have a shot at getting in the playoff. I like the trajectory for the Wildcats and they move into the Big 12. And so, you know, the good news is anybody will be able to win the big 12. And if you win the Big 12, you're in the playoff. I think Arizona is somebody you look at. But you know I do my my way too early preseason rankings those come out usually the first week of January. I'll be smarter, or dumb enough depending on your viewpoint, I'll probably have Arizona in my top ten. Will they live up to that? We'll have to find out. But I really like the pieces they've got in place there and in Tucson.

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