- The College Football Playoff selection committee's second-to-last rankings set up an intriguing championship weekend with four matchups featuring teams ranked in the top 11.
The new rankings set up the following matchups this weekend:
ACC Championship — No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 7 Miami
SEC Championship — No. 2 Auburn vs. No. 6 Georgia
Big 12 Championship — No. 3 Oklahoma vs. No. 11 TCU
Big Ten Championship — No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Ohio State
As we explained earlier, the ACC and SEC title games act as play-in games, while Oklahoma and Wisconsin are in win-and-you're-in situations. Having already addressed the big issues we expected to arise from this week's rankings, here are some other things to consider.
Can Clemson Stay in the Rankings With a Loss?
It's not out of the question. Let's say Miami knocks off Clemson in a close thriller for the ACC title, and then Auburn and Oklahoma win their conference championships, but Wisconsin loses. The fourth and final playoff spot would come down to Clemson or Alabama.
Clemson would finish 11-2 as ACC runner-up with wins over playoff-bound Auburn and bowl teams Louisville, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, NC State, South Carolina and maybe Florida State. The Tigers' losses would've come at the hands of playoff-bound Miami and lowly Syracuse.
The case for Alabama includes an 11-1 record with its only loss against playoff-bound Auburn. The Tide's wins over bowl-bound teams would include LSU, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Colorado State, Fresno State and maybe Florida State.
Alabama's only case for being ahead of Clemson in this situation would be having one less loss, as the Tigers have a much better resume and a win over common opponent Auburn.
Bama sits at No. 5 this week because when you lose to a good team like Auburn you're not going to drop a whole lot from the No. 1 spot. Clemson would absolutely benefit from the same circumstances this week.
Pecking Order for No. 1
If the top four teams win this weekend, they'll stay in their current spots. If any of them lose, a winning team within the top four would jump into that vacated spot, i.e. Clemson loses and Auburn wins to put Auburn at No. 1. Those scenarios are obvious.
However, placing Georgia at No. 6 and Miami at No. 7 in all likelihood means the committee would keep the Dawgs ahead of the Canes if we get chaos this weekend. We're talking the highly unlikely scenario where the entire top four loses and therefore SEC Champion Georgia finishes No. 1.
Crazy? Sure, but still worth mentioning.
These are the full College Football Playoff rankings heading into championship weekend:
8. Ohio State
9. Penn State
15. Notre Dame
16. Michigan State
19. OK State
22. Virginia Tech
23. Mississippi State
24. NC State
25. Fresno State