After No.1 Georgia and No.3 Notre Dame, both were blown out this past weekend, at least two new teams will slide into the Top 4. The committee will say the margin is slim between the four that they choose, however when you dig deep I think it is obvious how this week’s ranking of those four will play out.
Alabama: The committee will slide their No.2 team to No. 1 despite the fact that the undefeated Crimson Tide barely escaped with a victory against No. 16 Mississippi State. However, it was a top 25 opponent on the road in an environment that grew hostile throughout the game. Alabama was able to pull off the victory with an injured linebacker group, something the committee takes into account.
Clemson: The fact Tigers will move up two spots in this ranking will cause many arguments for at least the next few weeks. You could ask, why is Clemson ranked ahead of undefeated Miami? The Tigers lone loss was against Syracuse whom the Hurricanes beat. However, the committee has given the Tigers a mulligan of sorts for that loss since they played the second half without starting quarterback Kelly Bryant. I believe the committee will use the logic that Clemson beat Auburn, who crushed Georgia, who beat Notre Dame on the road. Even though Miami also beat ND convincingly at home this weekend I believe Clemson’s victory over Auburn and will outweigh Miami’s victory over the Irish in the eyes of the selection committee.
Miami: The Hurricanes will jump into the Top 4 just not as high as many thought or hoped. Despite the performance, The U put on Saturday night they will not rise above Clemson and Alabama. The good news is that it will be all sorted out on the field when the ‘Canes and Clemson face off in the ACC Championship with will be essentially be a CFP play-in game.
Oklahoma: The Sooners boosted their resume with victory over No. 6 TCU giving them four wins against teams in last week’s Top 25. They will have a chance to increase that number to five in the Big 12 championship game. OU also boasts the top offense in the nation and their defense finally made a statement holding TCU to 20 points. As long as they win out Oklahoma will make the second appearance in the semifinals.
Wisconsin: As the lone undefeated team in the B1G, and no other team has less than two losses, Wisconsin is the conference’s only hope to make the playoff. With a decisive win over No. 20 Iowa, the Badgers finally gave their resume the boost it needed. The question is whether they will be able to move into the Top 4. I believe as long as they win out and beat a ranked team in the B1G Championship game, and should Miami beat Clemson, they will get in.
Georgia: Even though they were trounced by Auburn, and their victory over Notre Dame no longer looks as illustrious as it once did, the Bulldogs will still be ranked above the Tigers. Georgia will have a shot to get in the semifinals if it wins out and beats Alabama or Auburn in the SEC Championship game.
Auburn: All last week it was talked about how the Tigers had a great shot at becoming the first two-loss team to make the CFP semifinals. They took care of the first step by beating Georgia. Now, they just need a win against Alabama in the Iron Bowl and beat the Bulldogs for the second time in the conference championship. That is easier said than done. For now, their two losses (Clemson and LSU) are what holds them back.
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish remain in top 10 despite their loss to Miami thanks to a resume that still boasts two victories over ranked teams, USC and NC State. As well, as four more wins against teams with .500 or better records. They won’t see the Top 4 again, however, as possible victories over Navy and Stanford in the final two weeks of the season won’t be enough.
Ohio State: After losing to Iowa last week, the Buckeyes took their frustration out on No. 12 Michigan State who was ranked one spot ahead of them last week. The victory coupled with the losses by other teams ahead of them puts Ohio State back in the top ten. However, they only have two more wins against teams with a .500 record or better and just do not boost the resume to crack the Top 4 even if they win the B1G Championship. The most they can do is knock Wisconsin out of the picture.
USC: The Trojans best victory is over Stanford. However, I think Arizona moves back into the Top 25 this week giving them two wins against ranked opponents. What places USC in the Top 10 is their seven victories over teams with a .500 or better winning percentage. They have an opportunity to boost their resume with a PAC 12 crown and a chance avenge their loss to Washington State.
That is how I think the committee will sort out the Top 10. What it comes down to in the final three weeks before the finals rankings are released on Dec. 3. is that only the top seven that have a realistic shot at the CFP semifinals. The dark horse is UCF I believe they will be ranked at No. 13 behind Oklahoma State and TCU in this week’s ranking. However. the only chance the undefeated Knights have as a Group of Five team is if there are multiple major upsets within the top ten.
The College Football Playoff Committee will release their third Top 25 tonight, Tuesday, Nov. 14, at 9:00 p.m. EST.