Without a doubt, this season has been the most exciting one yet since 2007, filled with crazy upsets and exciting games. Heading into week nine of the 2021 season, there are a lot of unanswered questions. Obviously, it’s too early to see a definite top 4, but we have an idea of a handful teams who can be contenders.
Right now, Georgia looks like the real deal. They are clearly the top contenders so far this season, defeating two AP top 25 teams soundly. Their offense is certainly good, but nowhere near the best in the nation. What makes the Bulldogs so dangerous is their stifling defense, which allows 6.6 points per game, leading the nation. They also finish the season off with a very easy list of opponents. This week, they go into a hostile rivalry game vs Florida, which could make a good upset, but if they take care of business for the rest of the season, they are a 1 or 2 seed.
Despite a rough loss to Texas A&M, Alabama are still contenders. They have a heisman candidate in Bryce Young, who is throwing for 2,453 yards, 26 TDs, and just 3 interceptions. Nick Saban’s coaching style is very rough and unforgiving, so I can’t see this team getting upset again. They have a modest schedule ahead of them with an easy New Mexico State matchup, but then three inter-conference matchups between LSU, Arkansas, and Auburn. As of right now, Bama are my national champions.
The Bearcats are a weird team to predict. They aren’t in a power-five conference, so that makes them a bit overrated. They are coming off a close game against a 1-5 Navy team, which was very unimpressive. Their only impressive win was against Notre Dame, 24-13. Notre Dame has shown some shakiness this season, but remains a top ranked team, so that improves their stock. If Cincy wins out, they will be in the playoffs, but don’t expect to see playoff success.
Ohio State (6-1)
The Buckeyes started the season off very shaky, squeezing out a win vs Minnesota. Then they fell to Oregon. The following week, they found themselves trailing against Tulsa. After halftime of the Tulsa game, Ohio State has looked elite, scoring 50+ points in the next four games. Quarterback CJ Stroud is playing crazy good, and they have two of the best receivers in the nation. The Buckeyes are capable of being a successful playoff team, but their schedule for the rest of the season is what stands in front of them. They play three top 20 teams, Penn State, Michigan State, and Michigan who all can force an upset. Due to the rough schedule, OSU is in between the playoffs and being in a major bowl game.
Sooner fans across the nation have been in for a wild ride all season. From a crazy comeback win vs Texas, pre-season Heisman candidate Spencer Rattler being benched, to almost losing to Kansas, who has one of the worst power-five teams in the country’s history. They have a very rough schedule ahead, having to play Baylor, Iowa State, and Oklahoma State. You can expect an upset in at least one of those games. Oklahoma will either be in the playoffs or on the verge of being unranked.