The committee is going to do as it pleases, but it would still be almost impossible to defend vaulting 11-1 Alabama over Auburn, Clemson, Oklahoma and Wisconsin if those teams all win Saturday. The Tigers, who beat Alabama 26-14 in Saturday's Iron Bowl, are the first two-loss team ever to be ranked in the top four.
Auburn and Georgia will meet in the SEC championship games. Clemson takes on Miami for the ACC crown, Wisconsin faces No. 8 Ohio State for Big-Ten bragging rights and Oklahoma battles No. 10 TCU. Where the committee put Alabama this week would show how far they think the Crimson Tide are ahead of the Buckeyes. The Crimson Tide are the only team to appear in all 3 College Football playoffs. That's somewhat surprising considering that the Buckeyes have two one-sided losses on their record to Oklahoma and Iowa.
The current top four include Clemson, Auburn, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Alabama is ranked No. 5 and could stand to move up should another team in the top four fall this weekend. An Oklahoma loss probably helps the most, since 10-2 TCU is buried in the rankings and probably won't benefit enough from any reassessment to leapfrog Jalen Hurts and Co. Nick Saban's team needs another upset to get in, most likely in the Big 12 Championship Game between Oklahoma and TCU. Ohio State would have a conference championship. "While it would also help Ohio State to have another top-four team go down, don't forget the Buckeyes lost at home to Oklahoma and the committee compares common opponents".
"The Selection Committee had questions as to are they as balanced of a team as some others that are ranked just above them, and we analyzed their schedule, have they really been tested on the defensive side of the ball this year, and if so, by who, and based on that conversation, we ranked them in that 14th spot this week", Hocutt said. The committee does get to decide which teams go where. Miami slipped after taking its first loss of the season last week from No. 2 to seventh, just ahead of Ohio State at eighth.
Where it gets unclear is No. 11 TCU (10-2), No. 13 Washington (10-2) and maybe No. 15 Notre Dame (9-3).
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While the best of the improvements under this system is its valuing of good wins over the punishing of losses, this puzzle might go all the way down to what happened in Iowa City on November 4.
None had more than one loss.
The Nittany Lions are followed by USC, the highest-ranked team from the Pac-12.
The next highest-ranked team available is No. 6 Georgia, which makes sense for the nearby Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta.
Even later in the season, when Alabama played ranked teams, they struggled. Ohio State shored up that weakness with the superior record plus with a mighty set of victims, including No. 6 MI (at home), No. 7 Oklahoma (on the road) and No. 8 Wisconsin (on the road), pushing the Buckeyes into the playoff.
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But this year, Auburn's win over then-No.
Look for Clemson and Auburn to win the ACC and SEC championship games, respectively.
Ohio State, 10-2, is playing the Badgers with a chance to knock off the last unbeaten team among the power conference and burnish its resume.
The decision to play the game in a neutral location displays the timid nature of Saban. In their game against Mississippi State, the Crimson Tide trailed heading into the fourth quarter, and won the game with a late touchdown. The wildcard in this scenario is if Ohio State wins big.
Alabama has made the College Football Playoff all three years since it was created in 2014.
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