The first 2017 College Football Playoff rankings are out. If the season ended today, the playoff field would be Georgia at number one. Alabama at number two. Notre Dame at number three and Clemson at number four. That leaves a trio of strong programs on the outside looking in.
Oklahoma is number five. Ohio State is number six and Penn State is number seven.
This is the fourth season of the Playoff. It is becoming commonplace for the committee to have two SEC schools in the top four. But don’t fret. The committee has never sent two SEC Schools into the playoffs. Not yet anyway.
So far, the Big Ten and the Pac 12 are out of the playoffs. No. 6 Ohio State beat Penn State but lost big to fifth ranked Oklahoma earlier this season. But the Sooners have two games remaining against highly ranked schools, Oklahoma State and TCU. If Oklahoma win these games, the Buckeyes and Penn State will not pass the Sooners.
If you are wondering how Georgia topped Alabama, it comes down to scheduling. Georgia has played a tougher schedule so far with wins over No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 16 Mississippi State. But the Tide still have quality games left against No. 19 LSU, Mississippi State and No. 14 Auburn. Personally, I think Bama will pass the Bulldogs in November.
We already have two one loss teams in the playoffs. Look for more surprises as the season winds down.
The Cleveland Browns are still winless in 2017 so we know they are bad on Sundays. They even had a bad Tuesday this week. Actually, an embarrassing Tuesday. On Tuesday just before the NFL’s trade deadline, the Browns reportedly agreed to a deal to acquire quarterback A.J. McCarron from the Cincinnati Bengals. Then, through incompetence, they screwed it up. The deal was reportedly consummated at 3:55 p.m. ET, just five minutes before the deadline.
The Bengals called the deal into the NFL to approve it. The Browns did not. They forgot to call the deal into the league before the deadline, which nullified it.
How do you explain the incompetence to your fans?
Panthers Move Benjamin
In a move that caught most by surprise, the Carolina Panthers traded former first round draft pick, Kelvin Benjamin, to the Buffalo Bills.
Benjamin, the team’s top receiver, did not bring much back in return as the Bills parted ways with a third- and seventh-round draft picks in 2018.
One has to ask why this move was made since Carolina is struggling of late on offense. Here are some of my thoughts.
I think the Panthers want to get some speed on the field. And that means getting rookie Curtis Samuel on the field. Carolina needs to stretch the field with some speed and Benjamin is not that type of receiver. Over the past three weeks, the Panthers combined for only two plays over 20 yards. That is not Cam Newton football.
Devin Funchess is now the team’s top receiver. He is basically a clone to Benjamin. The Michigan product is also a tall physical receiver. Funchess should prosper now that he can run the routes Benjamin has ran the past three seasons. He was at his best in 2015 when Benjamin was sidelined with an injury. Reality has hit since Benjamin’s return. The duo never produced together as wide receiver pairing. There was only room for one.
Photo: Devin Funchess