The season is over and all that is left is for the committee selecting the teams for the College Football Playoff (CFP). Here is how the committee should rank the teams in their final rankings of the season:
In the playoff:
1. Clemson Tigers (13-0)
The Tigers won the ACC yet again. This time they beat Miami to secure the ACC crown. They were ranked first last week by the committee and that shouldn’t change in the final rankings.
Clemson has a great resume and beat nine teams who are playing in bowls this winter. The loss to Syracuse happened when Kelly Bryant wasn’t healthy and didn’t play the full game. If the Tigers aren’t ranked first by the committee it would be a surprise.
2. Oklahoma Sooners (12-1)
Oklahoma locked up a spot in the CFP with their 41-17 win over TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game. Winning would’ve been enough, but they really put their stamp on this game and proved to the committee that they belong in the CFP.
The Sooners have the one blemish on their record that came at the hands of Iowa State. Their resume is great outside the loss. They beat Ohio State, Oklahoma State and TCU twice. With the second best strength of record at the completion of their game, Oklahoma doesn’t have much to worry about.
Can the Sooners’ defense step up in the College Football Playoff?
3. Georgia Bulldogs (12-1)
Georgia avenged their only loss of the season with a big win in the SEC Championship over Auburn. This was a play-in game for the CFP, so Georgia is in.
The Bulldogs tested themselves with a game at Notre Dame and passed the test. Adding that game to their wins over Mississipi State and Auburn, along with the fact that they are the SEC Champions, puts them in the CFP.
Georgia finally has the chance to play for a national title, but what can they do now that they have the chance?
4. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2)
Ohio State was able to hold on in the Big Ten Championship and beat Wisconsin 27-21. The Buckeyes will now be hoping their resume looks better to the committee than Alabama’s does.
The Buckeyes have a lot of solid wins, which puts them in the conversation to be in the CFP. They beat Penn State, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Michigan. Three of these teams will be in or around the top 15 in the CFP committee’s final rankings. Alabama will have one team beat near the top 15, being LSU. I’ll take Ohio State beating three top 15 teams over, Albama’s possible one.
A Big Ten Championship is nice, but the Buckeyes feel they deserve to make the CFP.
First four out:
5. Auburn Tigers (10-3)
The Tigers lost in the SEC Championship Game. They would have been in had they won, but since they didn’t they will have to settle for a New Year’s Six bowl game.
Auburn lost three games, all coming to good teams, but was the only team to beat Alabama. They also beat Mississippi State and Auburn in their first meeting. At the end of the day, Auburn was in the position they wanted to be in at the end of the season, but failed to execute.
6. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1)
Alabama was the only team with realistic CFP chances that was idle this weekend. The Crimson Tide will be hoping that their metrics and resume can get them into the playoff.
The strength of record was sixth in the country heading into the weekend, but likely will drop when all the metrics are updated. They beat LSU, Mississippi State and Fresno State for solid wins, but other than that their resume isn’t great. They failed to beat an elite team all season (unless LSU is considered elite) and are paying for it now.
Had Florida State been as good as expected the resume might have had the necessary boost to get Alabama in the CFP.
7. Wisconsin Badgers (12-1)
Wisconsin lost in the Big Ten Championship and lost their chance to play in the CFP. It was a well fought game, but they ultimately fell short.
The Badgers didn’t play a great schedule, which meant they had no room for error this year. Wins over Northwestern and Michigan are nice, but won’t get anyone in the playoff without a conference championship.
It isn’t what Wisconsin fans wanted, but the team will still get to play in a big time bowl game.
8. USC Trojans (11-2)
USC won the Pac-12 Championship over Stanford in a 31-28 win. It’s a too little too late for the Trojans, but they have secured a second straight New Year’s Six bowl.
The Trojans beat Stanford twice and Arizona for their best wins of the season. Their losses to Washington State and Notre Dame aren’t bad, but they haven’t beaten enough good teams to warrant a higher ranking than this.
Next four out:
9. Miami Hurricanes (10-2)
Miami got off to a slow start against Clemson and were never able to recover in the ACC Championship Game. They had a great season, but came up just short of the CFP. A New Year’s Six Bowl game is not a bad result for Mark Richt in his second season.
The Hurricanes successfully beat Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, but were unable to accrue any other great victories. The loss at Pittsburgh, who didn’t qualify for a bowl game, really hurt Miami’s chances. If they were undefeated heading into the ACC Championship Game, they may have been able to afford a loss.
Mark Richt has started to bring the “U” back, but they haven’t gotten all the way back.
10. UCF Golden Knights (12-0)
UCF completed the undefeated record heading into the bowl games. They beat Memphis in a double overtime thriller 62-55 to win the AAC Championship.
It’s a shame that UCF, isn’t getting more recognition for the CFP, but they did lock up a chance to play in a New Year’s Six bowl game. Their two wins over Memphis are great and they also beat a Power 5 conference team in Maryland. If their game against Georgia Tech wasn’t cancelled due to a hurricane, they would’ve gotten much more love from the committee.
Scott Frost is reportedly out, so how will UCF respond in their big bowl game?
11. Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2)
Penn State did not play this weekend, but drop in the rankings as a result of other teams winning conference championships.
The Nittany Lions only have two solid wins, one over Michigan and one coming at the expense of Northwestern. They lost in both games in which they had a chance to really impress the committee. Had they beaten Ohio State and/or Michigan State, they would rightfully be in the CFP talk. They’ll have to settle for a New Year’s Six bowl.
Might we see another Penn State vs. USC matchup?
12. Washington Huskies (10-2)
Like Penn State, the Huskies didn’t play anyone this week. They benefit from teams losing in conference championship games though.
The Huskies couldn’t put it all together this season against good competition. Their best wins were over Fresno State and Washington State, but had a horrid schedule outside of those games.
Washington will also have to settle for a New Year’s Six bowl game.
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