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D1 football teams seek playoff bids

NADER HUSSEIN ’DOAH CONTRIBUTING WRITER

It has finally happened. The long-anticipated transition has begun. Starting this season, the NCAA Division 1 Football Championship contestants will no longer be chosen only by the NCAA Selection Committee. Now, Division 1 college football’s championship will be decided with the use of a playoff, elimination system.

Beginning this season, two of the six annual Bowl Championship Series games will act as semifinal games, on a rotation system, with the winners meeting each other in the College Football Championship Game. This year, the semifinals will be the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl, both to be played on New Year’s Day 2015. The Championship game will take place Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas. Although it is still early in the season, a few teams have been predicted to earn a playoff spot and compete for the National Championship.

One of the favorites to compete for the title is the defending NCAA Champions, Florida State. The Semi- noles are currently undefeated and are ranked second in the nation in both the AP and USA Today polls. They are lead by sophomore quarterback Jameis Winston, who will also be looking to win his second consecutive Heisman Trophy. There are a couple question marks about the Seminoles, mostly revolving around the off-the- field issues Winston has had. Most recently, Winston was suspended for Florida State’s game against Clemson after allegedly yelling a vulgar phrase in the FSU Student Union. Winston is also currently being investigated for possibly being compensated for sign- ing autographs, which is a violation of NCAA rules.

Another team that may make a run for the championship is the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Ranked number one in the AP and USA To- day polls, the Bulldogs come from the most dominant conference in college football, the SEC, who have

had a team in every BCS National Championship Game. Florida States victory over Auburn last year was the first time that a non-SEC team won the championship. This year, Mis- sissippi State University has come out of nowhere to make their case for a playoff berth. They were not ranked in the top 25 in either of the major polls in the preseason but have jumped out to a 6-0 start to the season, including three consecutive wins over ranked teams. The Bulldogs are one of the highest scoring teams in the country, averaging 41.8 points per game, and are also in the top 25 in points against, giving up an average of only 20 per game.

The state of Mississippi has a lot to be happy with, as the University of Mississippi is ranked third in the nation by both the AP and the USA Today, and second in the ESPN Power Rankings. Also coming from the SEC, Ole Miss are coming off of two consecutive wins over ranked oppo- nents and also stand at 6-0. The rebels boast the second-best scoring defense in the nation, conceding an average of 11.8 points per game. They are coached by Mississippi-native Hugh Freeze, who is in his second stint with the Rebels after serving as interim coach following the 2007 season.

Sitting two spots below Ole Miss in the AP and USA Today rankings are the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who are tied with the Rebels at 10/1 odds to win the National championship, according to VegasInsider.com. This season, The Irish are 6-0 and ranked fifth in the country by the AP, USA Today and ESPN. Notre Dame also has one of the top 10 defenses, con- ceding just over 17 points per game. A historic program that have drifted off, the Fighting Irish will surely be looking to restore a tradition of win- ning to the program.

With an exciting college football season already in the works, teams are already looking to build up their credentials for a potential campaign towards the 2015 College Football Championship Game this coming January.

'DOAH PHOTO COURTESY OF BLEACHERREPORT.COM

‘DOAH PHOTO COURTESY OF BLEACHERREPORT.COM

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