Friday, 15 December, 2017

Clemson, Auburn move into the top two

New College Football Playoff rankings released following losses from Alabama Miami Clippit Screenshot
Spencer Simpson | 30 November, 2017, 12:52

On Tuesday night, the selection committee released its final incomplete top 25 of the season, with necessary reshuffling after last week's top two teams, Alabama and Miami, lost.

Nevertheless, the second-to-last rankings were revealed Tuesday, with Georgia checking in at No. 6.

The Crimson Tide is coming off a 26-14 loss at Auburn on Saturday.

The wild card is Ohio State. At least one team ranked above Alabama tonight will need to lose this weekend.

Are the Oklahoma Sooners now the team to beat in college football? The series was dominated by the SEC as the conference racked up nine National Championships in that time frame.

Normally, a win by Auburn over No. 1 Georgia would have been good for Alabama no matter what happened in the Iron Bowl. Those three wins - plus a conference championship - would all be better than anything that current No. 5 Alabama has accomplished. That's your current top four. Alabama's nine Power Five victims are 53-54 this season, set against numbers such as that of Clemson (a marvelous 67-39), Auburn (54-30, with just seven Power Five victims but two top-tier ones in Georgia and Alabama), Oklahoma (57-51) and Georgia (57-49).

Each of the top four teams plays a conference title game this Saturday against another highly ranked team, creating potential play-in playoff games. The Buckeyes' two losses would be against playoff-bound Oklahoma and an embarrassing, inexplicable dud at Iowa, compared with wins over bowl teams Army, Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Alabama football needs help to make the Playoff field for the fourth straight season. Auburn beating Georgia to reach the playoff would boost Bama's case for a No. 4 spot in this scenario. Clemson faces Miami in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship; Auburn and Georgia play for the Southeastern Conference title; Wisconsin faces Ohio State for the Big Ten title; and Oklahoma faces No. 11 TCU for the Big 12 title. A win by TCU may not have a similar outcome, however, and the Horned Frogs may be lined up for a spot in the Fiesta Bowl as the Big 12 champion to take on the Pac-12 champion. The Sooners and Buckeyes would both be 11-2 with a loss to a top-10 team and a loss to a 7-5 team.

The possibility of Clemson losing to Miami but getting into the playoff anyway is on the table.

No. 5 Alabama will sit home and watch this weekend, as will No. 9 Penn State.

That ranking prompted this tweet from UCF athletic director Danny White: "You've got to be kidding me!" Georgia checked in at No. 6. Additionally, a few more upsets on Saturday could result in this week's No. 1 team not falling as far in the final rankings with a loss and possibly sliding into the playoff as a No. 4 seed.

Maybe they were just words and not a warning.

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