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  • Writer's pictureChase Gibson

College Football Playoff Chaos Timeline

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The College Football Playoff has been a precedent set in college football for eight years, but this four team playoff has been dominated by the same teams over and over again. Alabama, Clemson, and Oklahoma have controlled the playoff in the past, with Alabama appearing seven times, Clemson appearing six times, and Oklahoma bringing up the rear with four appearances.

But this year, chaos ensued throughout the season leading up to the playoff. The preseason top four teams consisted of Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia and Clemson. By the time the end of the regular season rolled around, the new top 4 contained Georgia, Michigan, TCU, and Ohio State. The chaos that ensued between those rankings was a lot to take in, so today, I will recap the pandemonium that took place this college football season.

Alabama running back Najee Harris dives into the end zone during the 2021 National Championship. Alalbama was expected to contend for another title in 2022-23, but the chaos of college football stopped them from reaching that goal.

At the start of the year, it looked like things were going according to plan, as Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio State dominated early. But around weeks 3 and 4, the expected powerhouses started to collapse. Oklahoma fell to Kansas State 41-34 at home, which started a 3 game losing streak eliminating them from the playoff race. Notre Dame fell to Marshall at home in an enormous upset, and then lost to Stanford four weeks later eliminating them from playoff contention. That same weekend, Tennessee emerged as contenders after they took down Alabama in one of the best games of the year.

It looked as if Clemson and Tennessee would still stay in power, and Bama looked like they still had a chance, but on November 5th, the college football world was turned upside down. Notre Dame demolished Clemson at home, giving the Tigers their first loss. Georgia upended Tennessee, handing them their first loss, and Alabama fell to LSU, eliminating the Crimson Tide from a chance at the playoff for the first time since 2019.

But the chaos didn’t stop there. While TCU continued to climb up the radar behind their undefeated season and Heisman finalist quarterback Max Duggan, Tennessee eliminated themselves from a playoff spot in Week 12, when they gave up 63 points and 606 total yards in a 25 point loss on the road at South Carolina.

The biggest game of the season rolled around when #2 Ohio State hosted #4 Michigan in Ohio Stadium for the Big Ten East title, and most likely, a berth in the College Football Playoff. Michigan dominated the Buckeyes 45-23 and won the Big Ten title the next week, securing their spot.

USC had been rolling all year, coming into the Pac-12 Championship with an 11-1 record and looking to get revenge over Utah. However, the Utes steamrolled USC 47-24, and their playoff hopes came to an end as well.

Georgia won out easily, capping it off with a 20 point win over LSU in the SEC championship game, and finishing 13-0. TCU kept winning, until they ran into Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship and lost, finishing the season 12-1. Despite their lack of a conference championship, the Horned Frogs were able to sneak into the playoff because of their quality wins and strength of record. Ohio State was also able to sneak in without a conference championship and settled in at 4.

This year was one of the most chaotic college football seasons we have ever seen, and with the 12 team playoff approaching, there is even more chaos to come.

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