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College Football Playoff Takeaways



Credit: ESPN Twitter

This past weekend marked an exhilarating time for College Football fans as the 2024 college football playoffs commenced. In a thrilling Rose Bowl, Michigan triumphed over Alabama with a 27-20 overtime victory, marking a significant milestone in Jim Harbaugh’s tenure as the coach of Michigan. This win propels Michigan into the National Championship game for the first time since their 1997 triumph.

The second matchup, which featured Texas against Washington, was a high-scoring affair. Washington, maintaining their undefeated status, overcame Texas 37-31 in the Sugar Bowl, securing their first National Championship game appearance since 1991, when they shared the title with Miami. These two gripping games led to several key observations from the College Football Playoff weekend:

CFP Committee’s Decision Vindicated

The game between Alabama and Michigan was nothing short of spectacular. Demonstrating physicality and strength at the line of scrimmage, both teams delivered an outstanding performance. Michigan’s defense was particularly effective, restricting Alabama to just 288 yards of total offense and holding Alabama’s quarterback Jalen Milroe to a mere 116 passing yards. In another noteworthy game, Georgia set a college football record by defeating Florida State by 60 points. Despite missing several key players due to injuries, the NFL draft, and other factors, Georgia dominated. Florida State’s decision to sit out key players in protest did not alter the outcome, as Georgia’s substitutes still managed to increase the score. Clearly, the four best teams made it into the playoffs, with Florida State not even ranking as the fifth-best team nationally.

The Importance of the Line of Scrimmage (LOS)

A common thread among all four College Football Playoff teams is their dominance at the line of scrimmage, highlighting the emphasis on both offensive and defensive lines. Alabama, Michigan, and Texas boast physically imposing lines. Georgia’s advantage in this area was evident in their overpowering of Florida State. Washington’s offensive line, recognized with the Joe Moore award, also proved its dominance. The recruitment and transfer portal strategies, which focus on top-tier talents for these lines, are crucial for playoff contention. A review of the past ten National Champions further underscores the significance of strong line play:

2022: Georgia (CFP)
2021: Georgia (CFP)
2020: Alabama (CFP)
2019: LSU (CFP)
2018: Clemson (CFP)
2017: Alabama (CFP)
2016: Clemson (CFP)
2015: Alabama (CFP)
2014: Ohio State (CFP)
2013: Florida State (BCS)
2012: Alabama (BCS)
2011: Alabama (BCS)

Quarterback: The Premier Position

Michael Penix Jr.’s performance against Texas was exceptional, with 430 passing yards and two touchdowns. His season statistics are impressive, with 4,648 passing yards, 35 touchdowns, only nine interceptions, and three rushing touchdowns. Penix Jr.’s ability to impact the game’s outcome, akin to Vince Young, highlights the critical role of a quarterback in a team’s success.

Kalen DeBoer: Best Coach in the Nation

Kalen DeBoer’s coaching prowess is evident despite his lack of resources comparable to programs like Alabama or Georgia. With a remarkable coaching record of 104-11, DeBoer has led the Huskies to significant victories, including defeating Texas in both the previous year’s Alamo Bowl and this year’s Sugar Bowl. His innovative offensive strategies have been pivotal in Penix Jr.’s rise as one of the nation’s top quarterbacks and his innovative offense helped the Huskies average 37.6 points per game while amassing 6,630 yards of total offense. At this pace, DeBoer’s success might soon attract interest from the NFL. His ability to do more with less, and develop lesser-known talent, has allowed Washington to consistently defeat traditional powerhouse teams like Oregon, Texas, and USC.

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