Breaking down the College Football Playoff field | College Football Enquirer

Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Pete Thamel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss the College Football Playoff field of four, and breakdown the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl matchups.

Video Transcript

DAN WETZEL: This is the setup. Seemed pretty simple. As we've said all along, why do they do these rankings so everyone hates them when at the end of the day, there's no controversy, or very little? The big debate was whether you move Bama to number 1 or Michigan to number 1. I kind of liked Michigan's resume but, man, this is not much of a distinction between these two. Certainly, when you hang 41 on this vaunted Georgia defense, as you guys witnessed, there's a strong case for Alabama to be number 1. So it wasn't a big deal.

Georgia only goes to 3. Cincinnati stays at 4. And after that, there was really no co-- I mean, number 5 is Notre Dame. They lost by 13 at home to number 4. So no controversies, really. There's a lot of conspiracies that they didn't want to set up a SEC rematch in the semis or that ESPN is trying to make sure they get an SEC title game or all that. I love a good conspiracy. I'm not really buying that. I think this is pretty reasonable. Pat, your thoughts? Do we have conspiracies or did the playoff committee do a fine job here in the end?

PAT FORDE: The committee, despite itself, did a fine job. Despite its five-week run of slapstick ineptitude television on Tuesday nights, on Sunday at noon or 12:20 or whenever they finally stopped talking on ESPN and got around to the rankings, got it right, I think. Yes, I agree with you that you could-- you could have a debate between Alabama and Michigan for 1, 2. You could have a debate between Georgia and Cincinnati for 3, 4. I think the 3, 4 debate might be stronger than the 1, 2. If you go through game by game, I think Alabama's schedule, they've got better wins.

So I would give them the nod at number 1, starting with the trump card of housing the undisputed number 1 team. Georgia, Cincinnati, it's a little closer because Cincinnati has a better top win and they're undefeated. But after that, the schedule tilts very heavily in favor of Georgia, which played no close games. They destroyed everyone between Clemson and Alabama.

Whereas Cincinnati was life and death to beat Tulsa, was close against Navy. You know, had some scrapes in there. But on the whole, hey, I'm excited. I think this is going to be great. I'm looking forward to both games and the buildup for both of them. The freshness is good. There is no conspiracy.

PETE THAMEL: This was clean and easy, and nobody screwed anything up. So good for-- good for them. They-- they-- they made their three-foot putt and, yeah, took their four-hour, uh, four-hour celebration of it. Um, I-- I like this field. Like, there's-- there's a Cinderella in college football. That's, like, cool. That's fun. That's different. I really like the Georgia, Michigan match-up. That is, like, football from the '70s and smashmouth, old themes.

Yeah. You know, two somewhat limited quarterbacks, two pretty dynamic run games. You know, a couple awesome front sevens that are going to counter each other's-- uh, you know, they're going to really make the ball move. Like, that-- the over-under on that'll be interesting. I'm sure somebody knows what it is. But I-- I wouldn't see a lot of points being scored in-- in that game, even though Michigan [INAUDIBLE] scoring a lot of points, too. So I guess I shouldn't, uh-- shouldn't limit them.

But they rag dolled Iowa pretty good, and they certainly did the same thing to Ohio State's defense marching up and down and up and down the field on-- on that. So it'll be interesting to see how Georgia responds. It had been sort of this season of unbridled optimism and a feeling, at least walking into that Georgia Dome yesterday, of a coronation was coming. You know, they had way more fans there, way more tailgates there. And sure, it's in Atlanta, but they were there for that moment in time.

That, you know, maybe pivot point to where the SEC points towards Athens instead of Tuscaloosa. And boy, did that not happen. Anyway, but on the field, I love the field. I love having an underdog in-- in Cincinnati. I think Cincinnati probably-- and I know these are funny things to say-- matches up with Alabama a little bit better than Georgia. Cincinnati's weakness is its offensive line, especially its exterior tackles. And obviously Will Anderson is going to be a factor, and they're going have to spend a lot of time chipping him and doubling him and doing all those things.

But I think just the blunt force, collectively, of Georgia's front seven, which we're not going to just ignore what they did the first 12 weeks because they got rag dolled on Saturday. I think that would have been a lot for-- for Cincinnati to overcome-- to overcome on offense. And that game has the two best quarterbacks. I mean, those are two best quarterbacks in the field, and it's not really even close.

You know, obviously-- obviously Bryce Young will be the favorite to be the top pick in the '23 draft, and I still think Desmond Ridder could find himself in the first round in this upcoming one. All he's done is win. He's mature. He's football smart. He's not the most accurate quarterback, which would be the knock, but he's-- I mean he's a really-- he's a very good player. So I-- I'm excited. I'm excited--

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

DAN WETZEL: Good-- good field.

PETE THAMEL: --about where we are.

DAN WETZEL: Good field. I agree.

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