The Ducks and Sooners are two teams in the past few years who have looked really good during the season, but fell to a higher bowl game short of the national title. The question is, will those teams be taking advantage of the two extra teams involved? How tough will it be to make those final two spots? Will it be as tough as it was to move in to the top 2 the last few years? So are the 4 teams selected in the top 4 now favorites to stay there? Or will this playoff make the ranking more fun to watch from week to week? Those are questions to be answered throughout the season.
Other teams that may take advantage of the playoff are two top Big Ten teams in Ohio State and Michigan State. OSU was not allowed in a bowl game last year, but looked as if they would've contended for the national title until their Big Ten title game loss. They are outside of the top 4 to start the season in the AP rankings. Michigan State has played in a couple Rose Bowls the past few years, winning last year's. They climbed all the way to the top 10 after that win over OSU last December. The Rose Bowl is a part of the playoffs, so the Spartans just need to make it back to Pasadena. But will it be that easy?
There are a few teams who are at question to stay in contention, or at least ranked due to them missing key players. Alabama has been a powerhouse the last few years, but lost a good amount of those key contributors to the draft the last couple years. That's including last year's starting QB A.J McCarron. They are projected to be in the national title picture (No. 2 in the Top 25) but will they have enough to stay there? And how will the South Carolina defense look without Jadeveon Clowney? They are in the Top 10, but will their defense keep the there? We get a first glimpse at that tonight.
QB seems to be the big question heading in to the season for a number of teams. How will Texas A&M fare without Johnny Football running their offense. They have named Kenny Hill the starter, which has them at No. 21. Are some possibly underestimating Hill running the Aggies offense? He has a chance to prove himself Thursday night against South Carolina. Possibly the biggest blow is to Ohio State. They did not lose too many players to the draft, and after last season's success, was the favorite in the Big Ten conference. They were also a favorite to enter the playoffs, but lost star QB Braxton Miller after re-injuring his knee in practice. How will they overcome that tough blow?
This college football season is filled with plenty of questions due to the new format, and which teams it favors. Questions that begin to be answered tonight.