We still have a long way to go, but these are my 4 playoff teams for the 2016 season as of this moment.
1. Alabama: The Tide is the defending champion and nobody has beaten them as of yet. They do have some weaknesses, but they have not been exposed. They lack a top game breaker at Running Back as in year’s past and a true freshman is their best back, so far. Their Quarterback is a true freshman and we have not seen him get flustered by a top defense and don’t give me that Ole Miss has a top defense nonsense. The SEC is way overrated other than Alabama and they should win it
without a blemish. I still believe they don’t use Tight End OJ Howard as much as needed, but they are unbeaten. I think most underclassmen should stay in school, but Howard should have left for the NFL. He is so talented, but still seldom used compared to a Jake Butt at Michigan who is also awesome.
The Bama defense even though I think their Defensive Coordinator is overrated, is as good as it gets. Their front 7 is tough and hard to penetrate and this makes up for any weakness elsewhere.
2. Clemson: So many people have told me that the Tigers are overrated and I am not buying it. Deshaun Watson turned the ball over often against Louisville and they still won the game in a wild and great game. The reasons I won’t buy into it is mainly the line of scrimmage. The Tigers are big, tough and talented on both the Offensive and Defensive lines. Mitch Hyatt and Jay Guillermo on Offense and true freshman Dexter Lawrence, Christian Wilkins, Carlos Watkins, Clelin Ferrell and
Albert Huggins on Defense are as good as it gets. Plus, Austin Bryant should be returning at Defensive End soon. Their Wide Receivers are as good as it gets, and that’s with Hunter Renfrow out temporarily. Running Back Wayne Gallman is underrated and Tight End Jordan Leggett is top 5 at his position. The Linebackers are mean and make play after play and the Defensive Backs are mostly new other than Cordrea Tankersley, but they came up big against Louisville.
This team is used to the spotlight after last year.
3. Ohio State: Was losing a bunch of stars a good thing for the Buckeyes? They have only been tested by Oklahoma, but they passed that exam with an A+. Some of the biggest losses were in the secondary and Ezekiel Elliott. But, the young Defensive Backs are proven play makers already and Mike Weber at Running Back is looking great and should surpass 1,000 yards easily. Noah Brown at Wide Receiver has only 10 receptions this season, so far, but 5 of them have been for Touchdowns. JT Barrett is not flashy at Quarterback, but he is steady and he can come up with the big play when
needed. Their Defensive Line is not as impressive as Clemson or Alabama, but they can get heat on the Quarterback even without Joey Bosa. Their biggest challenge would be Michigan, but they have owned the Wolverines in recent seasons and this year the game is in Columbus. I would be shocked if this team lost a game in the regular season.
4. Louisville: Yes, the Cardinals did lose to Clemson. But, they have only one really big test remaining and that is with the Houston Cougars in Houston. The Cougars beat Louisville last season in game two when Houston surprised the nation and then Florida State in the Peach Bowl. Louisville is a great team and Lamar Jackson is the main reason. Clemson Defensive Coordinator Brent
Venables had a great game plan for Jackson in their game, but it only worked for part of the game as Jackson threw for 295 yards and he fan for 162 yards and 2 Touchdowns. The game lived up to billing and so did the Quarterbacks. As long as Jackson is healthy, the Cardinals should have a chance against any non NFL team.
The Cardinal Wide Receivers are fast and talented as well and they also have a good Tight End.
I like Louisville’s chances against any of the teams above and in a rematch with Clemson on a neutral site.
If these teams win out, they are definitely my playoff picks for 2016. If Ohio State loses one game but still wins the Big 10, they still have a good shot. The same may be true of Alabama, but I don’t see them losing to anyone on their schedule.