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College Football; Playoffs on the horizon for top four teams in the nation

As it is week 13 of the 2019 college football season, the top four seeds of the College Football Playoffs are starting to become clearly defined. Currently sitting in the second seed is the Ohio State Buckeyes, who are off to a 10-0 start to the season and seem to be a lock to secure a spot in the playoffs. 

After beating the No. 8 seed Pennsylvania State Nittany Lions, 28-17, their smallest margin of victory this season, the Buckeyes seem keen to continue rolling. Pennsylvania State had a spot in the season’s first voting by the College Football Playoff selection committee until they lost at the hands of Minnesota, who was also undefeated at the time. Ohio State is first in collegiate football in points scored, averaging 51.5 points per game, and has completely rolled over every team they have faced. Aside from their 11-point victory over the Nittany Lions, the smallest margin of victory for Ohio State was 24 points against Michigan State, with an end score of 34-10. After shutting down a high powered Pennsylvania State offense that was averaging 36.8 points per game, the Buckeyes pivot to their next contest against Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines. Ohio State has had Harbaugh’s number since he accepted the coaching job at Michigan but ever since has been unable to deliver big wins in big games. 

Ohio State was the winner of the first College Football Playoffs in 2014, the year after the format was changed from the  No. 1 and No. 2 teams facing off in the National Championship to a duel between the top four seeds in a bracket. The Buckeyes have failed to qualify for the tournament ever since. Even last year after having a terrific season led by Dwayne Haskins, their ballot was shot after a shocking blowout loss to unranked Maryland.

The fourth-seeded Georgia Bulldogs took a 19-13 victory over the Texas A&M Aggies, shutting down the Aggies’ previously dominant offense and attacking a very soft secondary. Texas A&M’s biggest challenge this weekend was slowing down running back D’Andre Swift, who added to his already strong season with 19 carries for 103 yards, pacing the Bulldogs’ offense. Georgia has an easy home state game against unranked Georgia Tech before pivoting to a highly anticipated matchup against the first-seeded Louisiana State University Tigers.

After Georgia’s nail-biting 21-14 win over Auburn, they have secured an appearance for the Southeastern Conference (SEC) championship where they will more than likely have a rematch against the Tigers. For Georgia, it is much more crucial for them to pull out the win, as they have already lost a game this season while Louisiana State University remains undefeated. A second loss is essentially a death sentence in college football, as no team with two losses has qualified for the College Football Playoffs since the new format was created. Louisiana State University, on the other hand, could afford a loss in the SEC championship and more than likely still qualify for the College Football Playoff as the No. 4 seed. Other teams that are on the outside looking in, such as Alabama or Oregon, will be pulling for Louisiana State University to come away with a win over Georgia as that is essentially the only way a playoff spot could open up for one of those two teams.

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