Iowa, Clemson shouldn't be in Top 4

By Steve Sell
December 01, 2015

I prefer to pick college football’s Final Four by using the old-fashioned eye test — even with these tired, old four eyes.

There’s no way Clemson is the No. 1 team in the country, but when the latest playoff poll is released tonight that’s where the Tigers will be.

Right now, in my mind, the top four teams are Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Michigan State.

I’m sorry, Iowa, but your 12-0 record in a year where you haven't played Ohio State or Michigan State in the Big 10 doesn’t pass the eye test. However, it does play Sparty in the Big 10 championship game this weekend, at which time I expect the Hawkeyes to be exposed. They don’t have a signature win this year and have scuffled against teams like Pitt (27-24), Wisconsin (10-6), Indiana (35-27), Minnesota (40-35) and Nebraska (28-20).

Clemson doesn’t pass my test, either. It has that 24-22 win over Notre Dame in its back pocket for its gold star on the resume, but other than its 23-13 victory over Florida State, the rest of the results are underwhelming. A 58-0 rout of “The U” doesn’t resonate as it did back when the Hurricanes were the intimidating force of college football.

Alabama, to me, is the best team because of its physicality on both sides of the ball and can ride Derrick Henry like it did the 46 times on Saturday. Oklahoma has a galaxy of offensive stars, but at times its defense has been soft. Ohio State, for the first time this year on Saturday against Michigan, finally looked like the Buckeyes team everybody anticipated. Michigan State, remember, would be No. 1 had it not lost to Nebraska on a phantom call, as that's the only blemish on its record — and it went into Ohio State and knocked off the Buckeyes without star quarterback Connor Cook.

I would like to see the semifinal pairings as Alabama vs. Michigan State and Oklahoma against Ohio State. If the teams play to their capabilities, I think we would have an Alabama-Ohio State final.

College football has been good, but not great this year. Maybe the Final Four will change all that.