We have reached the last College Football Playoff rankings of the 2018 season before the real thing is released on Sunday. No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Notre Dame will remain in their familiar spots when ESPN reveals the rankings Tuesday night. The big difference at the top will be Georgia moving into the fourth spot after Ohio State clobbered previous No. 4 Michigan on Saturday.
Most, if not all, assume Alabama will beat Georgia in the SEC title game to knock the Bulldogs out of playoff contention. This would then set up a debate between Ohio State and Oklahoma for the final playoff spot if both were to win their respective conference championship games.
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So who would deserve it more, and what else can we expect from the committee this week?
OHIO STATE VS. OKLAHOMA
Are we underselling the possibility that Georgia upsets Alabama, thus keeping Ohio State and Oklahoma out of the playoff? (Assuming Clemson beats Pitt in the ACC title game, of course.) Perhaps. But how boring would these playoff rankings conversations be if we didn't debate things that aren't here yet or may never arrive?
If all goes according to plan for the Buckeyes and Sooners, they'll be 12–1 conference champions. The Sooners' only blemish would be a close loss against Texas; Ohio State was embarrassed on the road by Purdue for its lone loss. As far as quality wins are concerned, OU would boast victories over Iowa State, West Virginia and Texas (in the Big 12 title game). Meanwhile, Ohio State would have wins over the likes of Penn State, Michigan and Northwestern (in the Big Ten title game). Oklahoma would probably have a slight résumé edge, but it's not like it's running away with it in the eye test department. Either team dominating its conference championship game opponent may prove to be the difference come selection Sunday.
WHAT'S THE MOST CHAOTIC THING THAT COULD HAPPEN?
We've had plenty of fun coming up with downright ridiculous scenarios to get Syracuse, Boston College and LSU into the playoff. Here's what could happen if all the favorites still in playoff contention were to lose this weekend.
Georgia beats Alabama. Pitt beats Clemson. Northwestern beats Ohio State. Texas beats Oklahoma. The final College Football Playoff rankings would probably be:
1. Georgia 12–1
2. Notre Dame 12–0
3. Alabama 12–1
4. Clemson 12–1
(We can't envision a situation where the committee takes undefeated UCF or 10–2 Michigan over 12–1 Clemson at No. 4, and the rest of the top teams have zero shot at it.)