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Sports Illustrated Names No. 1 Team Of College Football Playoff Era

A pylon at the CFP National Championship game.

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: A detailed view of the ESPN Pylon Cam during the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

It seems everyone is getting into the Sweet 16 mood, even college football writers.

This morning, Sports Illustrated's Joan Niesen released a post ranking the 16 teams that have participated in a College Football Playoff over the last four years. Fitting, considering the NCAA Tournament is down to 16 teams with the Sweet 16 set to get underway tomorrow.

You can read Niesen's entire post here. She has a lot of chalk in the first round, but does have the No. 10 and 12 seeds winning a game.

Below is her full seed list.

  1. 2016 Clemson
  2. 2015 Alabama
  3. 2014 Ohio State
  4. 2016 Alabama
  5. 2017 Alabama
  6. 2015 Clemson
  7. 2014 Alabama
  8. 2017 Georgia
  9. 2017 Clemson
  10. 2017 Oklahoma
  11. 2014 Oregon
  12. 2014 Florida State
  13. 2015 Oklahoma
  14. 2016 Ohio State
  15. 2016 Washington
  16. 2015 Michigan State

Her title game? 2016 Clemson against 2015 Alabama, with the Tigers winning it all. Below is her reasoning.

After three straight years in which this new rivalry has been at the forefront of college football, it only seems fitting that the best iterations of Clemson and Alabama would face each other in this imaginary title game.

As for who’d win, my educated guess would give Clemson the nod. Even setting aside Watson’s year-over-year growth, Clemson evolved for the better between 2015 and ’16, and it’s hard to envision Jake Coker turning in another spotless performance. That said, as we all learned in January, picking against the Tide doesn’t tend to work out well.

Not picking an Alabama team as the top squad will likely cause some debate, but that 2016 Clemson team was really, really good. The Tigers also beat 2016 Alabama (the No. 4 seed in Niesen's rankings) in the title game that year.

[ Sports Illustrated ]