Which four teams will be in the College Football Playoff next year?
Yes, it's February, and we're just a few weeks removed from seeing Alabama take down Georgia in overtime during the national title game. But it's never too early to take a look at some predictions for next year's event. In fact, ESPN's Mark Schlabach did so just a few days after the Crimson Tide prevailed.
It won't shock you to hear that Schlabach believes the defending champs will be back to defend their title. Alabama, as we've noted, will be loaded again next year with a relatively easy schedule to navigate. So yeah, Alabama getting back in the playoff wouldn't shock anymore.
Schlabach's other three teams won't really shock anyone either. He believes that Clemson, after deciding to go with freshman signal-caller Trevor Lawrence over last year's starter Kelly Bryant, will be in the field.
He also believes that Ohio State and Oklahoma, behind new quarterbacks, will be back too. The Buckeyes, of course, lose quarterback J.T. Barrett to graduation. Ditto on the Sooners with Baker Mayfield.
Here's what Schlabach had to say:
"Bryant, a rising senior, will have a difficult time holding off Lawrence, an incoming freshman and early enrollee, who is ranked the No. 1 pocket passer and No. 2 player overall in the ESPN 300. Lawrence, from Cartersville, Georgia, is 6-foot-6 and 209 pounds. He has been described as a "once-in-a-generation kind of player," kind of like the last Clemson quarterback from Georgia: Deshaun Watson.
Even with a freshman quarterback, Clemson will join Alabama in the CFP. Two other teams with first-year quarterbacks -- Oklahoma and Ohio State -- will also make the four-team field."
No, a College Football Playoff field with Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma wouldn't surprise anyone. That being said, it would nice to have some new blood in the group. All four of those teams have played in the event at least twice since it started.