We would love to give you multiple championship plot lines for the season. You know, the endless possibilities for upsets, dark horses, chaos!
We would love to. We can’t. The 2017 season is shaping up to be chalk. Same names, same powers, same bat time, same bat channel. Take a top 10, any top 10. Throw a blanket over it. Mostly likely, this season’s four College Football Playoff teams are underneath it.
To that point: It’s possible Alabama-Florida State this week is for CFP seeding. You’ve probably read —— the FSU-Bama loser can easily get back to the CFP Football Four. Why not? The game is already being called the . You put that much talent on one field, how can there be an elimination in Week 1?
This is exactly what the commissioners didn’t want when they cobbled together the CFP. Remember “Every Game Matters” and all that? Well, if the Tide and Noles rematch in the CFP … the regular season, in fact, doesn’t matter as much. Don’t forget: A big reason we’re here is most folks didn’t want to see Alabama and LSU play twice in 2011.
The only thing college football dislikes more than Cinderellas is rematches. (Just don’t tell the Big 12, which is guaranteed to have one each season in its championship game.)
Back to the chalk: The same teams have dominated since the dawn of college football time. Only 30 teams have won national championships in the wire service era (since 1936). Only 16 teams have played for a national championship since the BCS started in 1998. Only 12 have won it.
That chalk enough for you?
The top five in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 (Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, Southern California and Clemson) have won nine of the past 14 national championships.
In the interest of inclusion, below we list 17 teams who have the best chance to win the national championship this season. Yes, that’s a lot considering what I just wrote. It’s also the fewest in the three years we’ve been doing this. Stow your chaos. Eleven of the 17 have already won a national championship.
American — South Florida: Even if the Bulls run the table, their nonconference schedule stinks (San Jose State, Stony Brook, Illinois, Massachusetts). I’m telling you as a friend, the CFP Selection Committee isn’t going to award South Florida a spot with its only Power Five win over Illinois.
Basically, every Power Five champ would have to end with two losses for USF to even be considered. However, a 14-0 season allows coach Charlie Strong to bounce after one season.
ACC — Florida State, Clemson, Louisville: We already told you about the Noles. Clemson is probably overrated just a bit at No. 5, mainly because you’re asking Kelly Bryant to do what Deshaun Watson just did — lead the Tigers to a 14-1 championship season. Oh wait, Watson actually got the Tigers to the title game in consecutive seasons.
We’ll know real quick about Clemson. It plays Auburn, at Louisville and at Virginia Tech before Oct. 1. Louisville is a legit playoff dark horse. Heisman winner Lamar Jackson is a singular talent. Nine guys come back on defense. Clemson has to come to Louisville in Week 3.
The Cardinals have a…