Aside from Texas A&M, Notre Dame might be the most ho-hum team on this list. Yeah they are 8-0 and they beat Clemson, but does anyone actually believe they are one of the four best teams in college football? Maybe it is the history with Notre Dame making the college football championship field. They’ve been blown out in their last two chances at winning a championship. First, the loss in the 2013 BCS Championship to Alabama football, and then getting obliterated by Clemson in the 2018 playoff semi-final.
In this writer’s humble opinion, this is a different Notre Dame team. Yes, they beat Clemson when the Tigers were without their star QB, but the difference in the game was not QB play. It was Notre Dame’s offense tearing up Clemson’s vaunted defense. Would Trevor Lawrence playing have changed the outcome of the game? As I said before, maybe, but even if Trevor played and they lost a close game that still would not change my opinion that this team is still one of the four best in the nation.
Outside of Clemson, they have mostly dominated their competition, as they should have. Only one other game was even close. Every other team on this list has at least one close win against a team they should have dominated, so I don’t hold that one against them as much.
The Fighting Irish close out their 2020 regular season against North Carolina, Wake Forest, and Syracuse. Needless to say, they should walk into the ACC championship 11-0. A rematch with a fully healthy Clemson looms as the only remaining test for the Irish. Win that game and you prove that you are what you claim to be. Lose, and you will prove all of your critics right.
No surprise here at number one. Alabama football takes the top spot as our unanimous top team in college football. Yes, the defense has struggled at times during the season, but things are starting to look MUCH better on that side of the ball.
Since halftime of the Georgia game, the Alabama football defense has allowed a total of 20 points. That is three and a half games. That comes out to be about 1.5 points per quarter. Granted, these games weren’t exactly against high-powered offenses, but when you hold four SEC teams to less than 1.5 points per quarter that is not something to just shrug off regardless of which teams they were.
Mac Jones has been absolutely incredible in 2020 and he continues to provide exceptional QB play for the Tide. He is no longer the odds on favorite to win the Heisman, but with two more strong showings in 2020 he will give the voters something to think about.
Individual awards aside, this Alabama football team is going to be hard to beat. They still have a rivalry game against Auburn next week that is almost always competitive regardless of team records. They also end the season against the Arkansas Razorbacks, a game that is no longer the gimme game people may have thought it would be prior to the season.
Even if Alabama football loses one of those games they would still win the SEC West and go on to play in the SEC championship. Most likely against Florida. That will be the true test to see if the Alabama football defense has really turned the corner, or if these few games were just a fluke.
It is easy for Alabama, win out and you’re definitely in, and probably the top seed. If they lose one game they are still probably going to get in regardless of who the loss is to. Alabama football is probably the only team on this list that can say that at this point.
Others receiving votes – Northwestern (2 Points), Oregon (2 Points)
The rest of the field still needs to be considered, especially with the PAC-12 having just started their season. If Oregon goes undefeated, they will be considered. If Northwestern wins out in the regular season and has a close loss to Ohio State during Champions Week then they might still get consideration with one loss. Other teams to look out for are USC if they go undefeated, Wisconsin if they can find a way to make the BIG-10 championship and beat Ohio State, and Indiana if they win out and Ohio State loses in the BIG-10 championship.
Speaking of the Alabama football defense improvements, check out what Ron Evans has to say about Alabama’s recent success on that side of the ball. Are they “good enough” to win a championship? Time will tell, but keep an eye out here as we talk about the College Football Playoff field for the next several weeks until the teams are selected.