There will be a different look in the top 4. Though No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Notre Dame won, No. 10 Ohio State routed No. 4 Michigan 62-39. The debate between Ohio State and Oklahoma has started.
College Football Playoff rankings predictions: Week 14 Top 25
- Alabama (12-0): The Tide returns to Atlanta to play Georgia. It won’t be easy, but Alabama is the strong favorite.
- Clemson (12-0): Only 7-5 Pitt stands in the way of another CFP semifinal appearance.
- Notre Dame (12-0): Without a conference title game, the Irish should be safely into the CFP field.
- Georgia (11-1): The Bulldogs move into the No. 4 spot for now, but they must beat Bama to make the CFP.
- Ohio State (11-1): We think the Buckeyes’ dominant win against then-No. 4 Michigan will be the difference in the end.
- Oklahoma (11-1): The Sooners might need to beat Texas big to feel any kind of confidence.
- Michigan (10-2): Jim Harbaugh is now 0-4 against Ohio State.
- UCF (11-0): The Knights’ star QB McKenzie Milton had surgery on his right knee.
- Florida (9-3): The Gators should feel OK about making a New Year’s Six game, especially if Texas loses to Oklahoma.
- Washington (9-3): The Huskies should be back around the top 10 after winning at rival Washington State.
- LSU (9-3): First the Tigers lost in seven overtimes in the highest-scoring game in FBS history. Now they could miss a New Year’s Six game.
- Washington State (10-2): At 10-2, and with not many 10-win teams available, the Cougars deserve a New Year’s Six game bid.
- Penn State (9-3): The Nittany Lions are right on the edge for getting an at-large spot for a New Year’s Six game
- Texas (9-3): The Longhorns already beat the Sooners once. If they do it again, they’ll ruin their rival’s CFP hopes.
- Kentucky (9-3): The Wildcats must have enjoyed scoring 56 points against struggling Louisville.
- West Virginia (8-3): So close to beating the Sooners. The Mountaineers end the regular season on a two-game slide.
- Utah (9-3): The Utes will be heading to the Rose Bowl if they beat Washington for the Pac-12 crown.
- Texas A&M (8-4): Whew. The Aggies’ first year with Jimbo Fisher looks a lot better after that ridiculous 74-72 win against LSU.
- Mississippi State (8-4): The Bulldogs had an easy time beating rival Ole Miss.
- Northwestern (8-4): All this talk about Ohio State or Oklahoma could be ended if the Wildcats play spoiler vs. the Buckeyes in the Big Ten championship.
- Boise State (10-2): The Broncos will get another showdown against Fresno State on the Blue Turf.
- Syracuse (9-3): So much for letting that Notre Dame loss carry over to the next game. The Orange pushed aside Boston College 42-21.
- Iowa State (7-4): After rallying to beat Kansas State, the Cyclones get FCS opponent Drake.
- Fresno State (10-2): The Bulldogs would love to get revenge on Boise State, this time for the conference title.
- Utah State (10-2): No shame in losing to Boise State on the road.
The top four should be clear this week: Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Georgia. But the Bulldogs will be underdogs to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.
If the Tide beats Georgia, that will lead to an intense debate for No. 4 next week: Ohio State or Oklahoma? This week will be a big glimpse into what the committee is thinking. Because Oklahoma plays Texas this week and Ohio State gets Northwestern, the Sooners have a chance to make a better closing argument (and that’s not even counting the chance for OU to avenge its only loss). So, we think the CFP selection committee might put Ohio State ahead, at least for now, thus giving it a chance to make a switch this week. In other words, it would be hard to have Oklahoma ahead of Ohio State this week and then have the Buckeyes jump the Sooners next week, because Oklahoma has the tougher game. But the committee could surprise.
The other area to watch is the Texas-Florida-Penn State-LSU-Washington State grouping. Those are the teams battling for spots in New Year’s Six Games. The Longhorns might be out if they lose to Oklahoma. So the positioning for those other three will be telling — the Gators, Nittany Lions, Tigers and Cougars don’t play this week. How the committee ranks them this week might mean the same order next week (though the exact numbers could change).
Here’s what matters most for New Year’s Six at-large selections: How far will the committee drop then-No. 7 LSU and then-No. 8 Washington State? No one really knows.
College Football Playoff rankings predictions: Semifinals
Here is how we think the final CFP rankings will look like. Here are our semifinals predictions:
- No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Ohio State
- No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Notre Dame
This assumes Alabama beats Georgia and Ohio State’s dominant win against Michigan, coupled with a prior win against top-15 Penn State, is just enough to hold off Oklahoma in the end.
Of course, Northwestern and Texas could both play spoilers. If that happens, or if Georgia shocks Alabama, we’ll all have headaches trying to sort this one out.
College Football Playoff rankings predictions: New Year’s Six games
Here are our New Year’s Six games predictions.
- Peach Bowl: LSU vs. Washington State
- Fiesta Bowl: UCF vs. Florida
- Rose Bowl: Michigan vs. Washington
- Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs. Oklahoma
- Cotton Bowl (Semifinal): Alabama vs. Ohio State
- Orange Bowl (Semifinal): Clemson vs. Notre Dame
There are so many ways this could go. The picture will get clearer Tuesday night, as we’ll see how the committee ranks the Ohio State-Oklahoma situation for CFP semifinal purposes and the LSU-Florida-Penn State-Washington State group for at-large purposes.