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CN Roundtable: Which Power Five Conference Gets Left Out Of the College Football Playoff?

Which Power Five conference will get left out of the College Football Playoff? The CN Staff offers their predictions.

CFP National Championship Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It’s never too early to look ahead at the College Football Playoff. You know, that extravaganza with four teams dueling to be the national champs. Given that there are five “Power” conferences in college football, that means someone is going to get left out. In 2014, it was the Big 12. In 2015, the Pac12 had to sit at the kiddie table and in 2016, it was again the Big 12 who missed out on selection day.

The CN Staff put their collective wisdom together, brought out the crystal ball (honest, we told Cobby to go get the crystal BALL), and tried to predict which conference will be the unlucky have-not in 2017.

Salt Creek and Stadium:

If I had to take a stab, I’m going with what I suspect will be a popular choice of the Big 12. (I see you, Oklahoma fan angrily typing out a screed about how Lincoln Riley is the next Bobby Stoops. He’s not, but it’s cute that you think so.) I am also 100% sure that their reinstatement of the Big 12 Championship game is going to backfire, again a popular opinion.

As I see it, Oklahoma State and Texas/Oklahoma will meet, and the lower ranked program will win, resulting in exactly the same scenario as we saw when TCU and Baylor were effectively tied and got left out of the CFP.

I see this year’s playoffs involving the four other P5 conferences (Seeds 1: SEC, 2: Big Ten, 3/4: Pac-12/ACC), but if I had to pick a conference to luck into two teams in the CFP, I’d go with the SEC. I believe the Big Ten will have a strong argument between Ohio State and Penn State, but the state of the bottom third of the conference will drag down the loser of two. Meanwhile, despite most of the SEC being mediocre, their lack of Purdues or Rutgers will mean the No. 2 team in the SEC West will likely get a 3 seed, pairing with the Big Ten champ at No. 2. (To avoid the SEC-SEC rematch, the CFP would assign the Pac-12 champ the No 4 seed.)

Yes, I know I just wrote off Nebraska, but I personally think we should avoid a 2001 situation. We can win the whole thing in 2018 instead.

Nate M:

With everything I’ve heard about this Tanner Lee guy, I assume the Big Ten will get only one in the playoff. The rest of the conferences will get zero as they will be too scared to go up against the number one pick in the 2018 draft running Mike Riley’s offense. Tanner Lee then goes on to win eight Super Bowl’s with the New York Jets and retires at 45. Immediately runs for President of the United States where he wins all 52 states. Yes, there will be 52 states at that point. Then after two successful terms he retires to a small house on the corner of 48th and Greenwood in Lincoln, NE with his family, two dogs and a goldfish.

Assuming that does not happen, which seems unlikely, I am going to do my best and not pick the Big 12 being left out of the playoff as that seems like the easiest choice.

I am going to go with the Pac-12. I believe this upcoming college football regular season and conference championship games could be illustrated in the following way.

Everybody agrees to meet at a house for the pre-party. Everybody is getting along playing drinking games upstairs in the kitchen and living room. After a couple games of quarters, Stanford, Washington State, Washington, USC, UCLA and Oregon decide it’s time to take “pulls” from a cheap bottle of vodka. Afterwards they head down into the basement. Nobody remembers who had the original idea, but they started playing the game where they take turns punching each other in the face.

Utah and Colorado head down into the basement a few minutes after the game started even though they weren’t originally invited. They regret it the next morning.

At the end of the game all the teams were bloodied and bruised. This however didn’t stop UCLA and Washington from having a laugh at the expense of USC. Everybody stood around USC as he laid unconscious on the floor. Still breathing but not conscious. That’s because Washington State laid the most efficient punch of the bunch, and USC was not expecting it.

However, they were so focused on each other that they didn’t notice a Cadillac pull up to the front of the house. Four teams promptly left the house and headed toward the vehicle.

The Cadillac quietly idled out front as one team from the SEC, one team from the Big Ten and two teams from the ACC each climbed into the vehicle.

The Big 12 teams also didn’t notice the Cadillac out front. They were too busy arguing with each other because they could not figure out how to make a whiskey and coke.

Yep, I guess the Big 12 still loses. Sounds good to me.

Huskrboneyard: $EC gets left out this year. You heard it here first. The South Eastern Conference beats themselves up, and the winner of championship has at least two loses. Ole Miss shocks the world and wins it all guaranteeing the fourth spot to a team in the Big 12.


It sure as heck won’t be the SEC. That would cause riots across the nation (a line that certainly isn’t as funny as it might have been a couple weeks ago). You can just pencil Alabama in as long as Saban is there. It’d be nice to see them get knocked out for once, and maybe they’ll take a big hit in status when they open the season by losing to Florida State.

Look at the teams that should be great going into this season, the SEC has Alabama and....???? Florida? Auburn? Which is why Alabama will make the playoff again. The Big Ten has Ohio State and Penn State (not Michigan, too much to replace), ACC has Florida State and Clemson. The Pac-12 has USC and...??? Washington? Stanford?

The Big 12 has... Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, really. I know Tom Herman is supposed to perform miracles at Texas and be their savior. Lincoln Riley is supposed to do the same at Oklahoma (despite a schedule that starts with Ohio State) and being a first-year head coach. At least Riley has some known quantities as players and coaches.

Oklahoma State seems to be a “close but no cigar” team on a yearly basis. Let’s say for argument sake they break through. What’s going to cost them a shot? Their schedule. Their non-conference schedule includes Tulsa, South Alabama and Pitt. Let’s say they’re up against USC as the fourth team. USC plays Western Michigan, Texas, and Notre Dame.

Which one of those do you think a playoff committee will favor? Probably not Oklahoma State. You’d think that the Cowboys would have figured out that they need to play a marquee opponent for at least one non-conference game, but apparently not.

It’s really hard to argue that it’s the Big 12 that won’t be left out. It’s a dumbly run conference.


I doubt the SEC gets left out. The real question there is if someone besides Alabama will get that spot.

I want to pick the Big 12 because I don’t honestly see any potential competitors emerging. OK, I’m going to pick the Big 12, but let me make an argument for the B1G getting left out.

Ohio State barely snuck into the playoff in 2014 but ended up shocking everyone and winning it all. 2015 and 16 haven’t been very kind to our Midwestern brethren as OSU and Michigan State were collectively outscored 69-0 in their most recent appearances. If it ends up being a close decision by the committee, will those two shutout stinkers by the B1G cause them to hesitate? Let’s hope not.

Back to pointing and laughing at the Big 12 as the conference collectively looks toward Austin and cries “Help us Obi Wan Herman, you’re our only hope!”