Fatal flaws for playoff contenders

Biggest issue that could hold Ohio State, Clemson, others back

Updated: May 20, 2014, 5:28 PM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider

Braxton MillerAndy Lyons/Getty ImagesHow far can Braxton Miller take the Ohio State Buckeyes this season?
Just being named as one of the teams in ESPN.com's projected 16-team playoff is a positive sign for a team's potential. But to advance beyond the first round of this projected bracket, a team has to be able to emphasize its strengths and hide its weaknesses.

For the eight teams that didn't make the second round, let's examine the fatal flaw that could cause them to potentially miss the real College Football Playoff this coming season.

Georgia Bulldogs

Fatal flaw: Inconsistent secondary play

The Bulldogs are breaking in a new quarterback to replace Aaron Murray, and they have only two returning starters on the offensive line. Those are huge spaces to fill, but the inconsistent secondary is still the most prominent weakness for this club. This group struggled last year, ranking ninth in the SEC in passing yards allowed per game (227.4), and had a horrible spring game. It gave up six pass-interference penalties in this contest, allowed six offensive players to average 15 or more yards per reception, and could have given up even more yardage if not for inaccurate passes.

This roster segment is one of the most inexperienced in college football, as graduation losses and the departures of Shaq Wiggins and Josh Harvey-Clemons leave Damian Swann as the only defensive back on the roster with more than one career start. Linebacker Leonard Floyd will offset some of this with his incredible pass-rushing skills, but it is still looking as though this area of the Georgia defense is going to be every bit the coverage sieve it was last season.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Fatal flaw: Fourth-quarter/overtime performance of Braxton Miller