College Football Playoff 2018: Five scenarios sure to make everyone mad

Here are five sure-fire College Football Playoff scenarios to make football fans everywhere angry.

With the Final Four in the rear-view mirror, college football is back on the brain heading into spring games on campuses throughout the month of April.

We're a long way off from this year's College Football Playoff, which will have the semifinals at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic and Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 29. The College Football Playoff championship game is scheduled for Jan. 7 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

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That said, Michigan basketball's run to the national championship game drew some criticism because the Wolverines played double-digits seeds until running into Villanova in the championship game. That would be considered a low-grade controversy on the College Football Playoff scale, which has at least one heated debate every November.

We see a few that could be on tap for the 2018 college football season. Be ready to argue if — more likely, when — these Playoff scenarios unfold.

Alabama vs. Georgia — again

The all-SEC championship title game between Alabama and Georgia drew a lot of criticism in 2017. Here's the bad news. It could totally happen again. The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs will be heavy favorites to win their respective divisions, and the possibility for a No. 1-vs.-No. 2 showdown in Atlanta for the SEC championship exists.

What if both teams were 12-0 or 11-1 with the drop on the rest of the Playoff field? It's entirely possible for both to get back in. After all, this was a scenario in 2017. Georgia and Alabama were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 the first two weeks of the CFP rankings before Auburn beat both in November. The Tigers must travel to Athens and Tuscaloosa this year, too. The all-SEC championship rematch is entirely possible.

No unbeaten UCF

UCF isn't going away. The Knights have the nation's longest win streak at 13 games and a chance to pile on nonconference victories against North Carolina, FAU and Pitt. If UCF gets to the first Playoff rankings unbeaten, it stands to reason they'll open at much-higher starting point than No. 18.

The Knights closed at No. 12 and the uproar started when they claimed a national championship. If UCF goes unbeaten again amid the same chaos at 2017, would that be enough to get in? Even better, what if the committee's final decision were between a one- or two-loss Alabama and UCF? Everybody would have an opinion on that.

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Another B1G controversy

The Big Ten seems to be at the center of a Playoff controversy every year. In 2014, Ohio State leapfrogged TCU. In 2015, Michigan State made it and one-loss Ohio State had a decent case. In 2016, Penn State won the Big Ten but one-loss Ohio State got in. In 2017, Ohio State didn't get in and Alabama did.

In other words, how will the Buckeyes be involved this season? The catch with the Big Ten is it's the nation's deepest conference when it comes to Playoff contenders, but the team that won the Big Ten championship didn't make the field the last two seasons.

Where will the drama come from this year? Could two Big Ten teams get in the Playoff this time, perhaps with Ohio State and Michigan? Don't rule it out.

Conference championship game loser

This happened in the BCS era. Oklahoma (2003) made the BCS championship game despite suffering a 35-7 blowout loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 championship. Would that scenario be possible in the Playoff era? Clemson and Miami were close to that in 2017, before the Hurricanes dropped the regular-season finale to Pitt. Wisconsin finished 12-0 in the regular season last year before a 27-21 loss to Ohio State.

This scenario seems unlikely, given 14 of the 16 playoff spots have been given to teams that won their conference championship game. Ohio State (2016) and Alabama (2017) are the only exceptions, and neither of those teams even played in their respective conference title games. They are probably among the few schools that could lose a conference championship and still get in.

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Notre Dame

Will Notre Dame ever throw that wrench into the conversation by becoming the first independent team to crack the Playoff?

The Irish should know the requirements by now: Without a conference championship game, the Irish can't lose two during the regular season. A one-loss Notre Dame team, however, would be real close to bumping out another Power 5 conference. The Irish were No. 6 in 2015 before losing to Stanford in the regular-season finale. Had they won that game, it would have been an interesting head-to-head argument with Michigan State.

Notre Dame was ranked No. 3 in last year's rankings and seemingly controlled its own destiny before a loss to Miami. The point was made. The Irish have a chance if they finish 11-1, and that's going to be a launching point for expanding the Playoff because it means two — or maybe three — Power 5 conferences sit out.