Wide Open

College Football fans have been complaining for years that the same handful of teams end up winning the national championship. That may change this season as I can count upwards of 10 schools that could win it all.

Why do I think this you ask? Well, Clemson has already dropped two games. Alabama has a loss already. Ohio State cannot beat Michigan anymore. Oklahoma is fading. Defending champions Georgia looks vulnerable. Yes, it is wide open.

Georgia has to be the favorite. But they have a new quarterback. USC is one of the new kids on the block and has to be considered a front runner for a playoff berth though they lack defense. Michigan could cap off its return to glory by making a better playoff run than it did last year when it was upset in the semifinals.

Speaking of returning to glory, Florida State is back. Through four games, FSU already has wins over LSU and at Clemson. The Seminoles schedule gets easier and they have a clear path to the playoffs.

Texas is also back. The Longhorns went to Alabama a few weeks back and took care of the Crimson Tide. Barring an upset or a setback against Oklahoma, Texas could find itself in the playoffs.

Subject change. Remember, this is the last year of the four-team playoff system. Next year, it will be a 12-team field so all the schools I am talking about will likely all make the playoffs and we will have many great matchups in the month of December.

Okay, back to this year’s contenders.

Washington is bulldozing everything in its path right now, averaging 49.8 points per game. Michael Penix Jr. continues to dazzle at quarterback, and his weapons have also flashed through the first four weeks. The Huskies will have their hands full as the PAC 10, in its final year of existence, is loaded this year. With the likes of Oregon, USC, Utah, Washington State and others in the conference, I could see a one-loss team from the PAC 10 making the playoffs.

Utah could be that one loss team that makes it. The Utes, without their star quarterback, Cam Rising, were upset by Florida in Week One. Utah has one thing most teams do not have, a defense. The Utes are giving up less than 10 points a game.

Penn State is off to a nice start and may have the roster to slip in and knock Ohio State and Michigan out of the playoffs. The Nittany Lions are coming off an impressive 31-0 victory over Iowa. Their path includes upcoming games against Northwestern and UMass before traveling to Columbus.

That game, along with a home game against Michigan, will likely tell the story of their playoff fate.

My sleeper team is Washington State. On Saturday, the Cougars took down a very good Oregon State team, 38-35, thanks to an outstanding performance from QB Cameron Ward. Washington State is unbeaten, has a win over Wisconsin, is up to No. 16 in the AP Poll and has a slew of winnable games remaining.

Let me close with Oregon. The Ducks are a popular choice after being the first team to dispose of Deion Sanders and Colorado last week. Oregon won 42-6, and it looked like it could have scored every time it had the ball. Dan Lanning’s team was that dominant on both sides of the ball. Oregon currently has the nation’s No. 2 scoring offense and the No. 17 scoring defense. Behind quarterback Bo Nix, who is having another spectacular season, the Ducks are in the thick of the Pac-12 race and a College Football Playoff run.