NCAA football season heating up as temperatures wind down

OLIVIA KOTLAREK / AGGIE

Final stretch of college football season is here, Aggies keep surging

As the old proverb goes: “The bigger, the better.” But is that really true? With the college football playoff system, it absolutely is. Although the attention of the masses is mainly directed at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), or D1-A football, it is the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), or D1-AA football, that has the much larger playoff football format.

Essentially, in FBS college football, a group of football experts, known as the selection committee, decides the fate of the two-game playoff by choosing who they consider to be the best four teams in the country. The criteria for ranking is based on an evaluation of the teams’ performance on the field, using conference championships won, strength of schedule, head-to-head results and comparison of results against common opponents to decide between comparable teams..

This sounds fair and legitimate, until the 2017 University of Central Florida football team, the only undefeated team in the country at the time, was not selected for one of the two semi-final playoff games. The fact that UCF did not earn a chance to compete in the playoffs has caused many analysts to criticize the flawed system.

Luckily for teams in the FCS, there is a 24 team, single elimination tournament that allows for a wider variety of teams to compete for glory. The 24 teams are comprised of 10 conference champions and 14 at-large bids given out by the Football Championship Committee, giving all the top teams in the FCS a chance to take home the crown.

Now that college football teams are trying to settle into a top spot in the rankings, the weather’s rapidly getting colder, and the thought of finals are entering many students’ minds. For avid college football fans, this can only mean one thing: playoffs are around the corner.

Leading into the last stretch of the FCS season, UC Davis continues to leave an unlikely impression on its fanbase, winning each of its last four games after a tough loss at Stanford. The team’s efforts have certainly been noticed after recently being ranked the sixth best team in the country, according to the STATS FCS poll. This is the highest ranking the UC Davis football program has achieved in school history.

The Aggies are representing the Big Sky in the top ten alongside teams that consistently dominate the FCS, such as North Dakota State, who remains undefeated, and other Big Sky contenders like Weber State and Eastern Washington. The Aggies boast a high octane offense which has averaged 42.5 points per game. This is the fifth highest total in all of the FCS, and with only four games remaining, the Aggies hope to keep surging straight into one of the 24 playoff spots.

On the other end of the college football spectrum, there are 130 FBS teams vying for the four spots in the playoff. Given that the first set of games are semifinals, it is clear that teams must play perfectly to get there. Through week nine (out of 15), the rankings are led by perennial powerhouse Alabama, followed by undefeated Clemson and Notre Dame, and topped  by LSU and their lockdown defense. Last week, Ohio State suffered a devastating loss to Purdue, dropping the program from No. 2 to No. 11. This is now the second week in a row that a second ranked team has lost, after Georgia lost to LSU the previous week.

This is probably just the beginning of the shake ups, as many key matchups have yet to take place, including Alabama playing both LSU and Georgia in weeks 10 and 14 respectively and a full week of gritty rivalry matches in week 14. Although the rankings still have much uncertainty to them, one thing fans can surely anticipate is an exciting end to the college football season.

Written by AJ SEYMOUR sports@theaggie.org