With Alabama out of the race, who’s in and who’s out?
The latest College Football Playoff rankings showed no movement inside the top four. Ohio State stayed a one, with LSU, Clemson and Georgia rounding out the top four. With Conference championship games yet to be played, the playoff is far from set.
If Ohio State takes care of business in the Big Ten championship game against Wisconsin, they should stay at number one regardless of the outcome of the SEC championship game. Even with a loss, it is hard to see Ohio State dropping out of the top four.
LSU should be safe even if they lose to Georgia in the SEC championship game, while Georgia needs a win against the Tigers to claim their spot in the playoff. If Georgia loses, they are out.
Clemson needs a win against Virginia in the ACC championship game to solidify their spot in the playoff as a loss may drop them out of the top four.
All of these scenarios are assuming that Utah and Oklahoma both win their conference championship games.
The biggest surprise in these rankings has been that the committee has consistently ranked Utah over Oklahoma. Oklahoma has the worse loss of the two teams, but Utah has not really beaten anybody. If Utah beats Oregon in the PAC 12 championship game that will be by far their best win of the year. But if Oklahoma beats Baylor in the BIG 12 championship game, can the committee really pass them up after beating Baylor twice and winning on the road against Oklahoma State?
There are only six teams with a legitimate shot at reaching the playoff as 7th ranked Baylor and 8th ranked Wisconsin will need to root for chaos if they win their respective championship games.
Of the two teams, Wisconsin has a better chance of getting in as they would have beaten the 1st ranked team in the country along with wins against Minnesota, Penn State and Michigan. As we have seen, the committee doesn’t value Oklahoma the same way I see them, so Baylor would need a lot of help to sneak into that 4th ranked spot.
The likeliest scenario going into this weekend is Ohio State, LSU and Clemson will all win their championship games and the committee will have to decide between Utah and Oklahoma on who gets that last spot. I think Oklahoma has been the better team all season long, but they might need a convincing win over Baylor to jump Utah at this point.
As the college football season is wrapping up, the chaos is just getting started.