Four Playoff Teams
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (12-0)
This is the obvious choice yet again for the CFP committee. They haven’t lost and won a big rivalry game against No. 13 Auburn on Saturday. Alabama is most likely in the CFP even if they lose in the SEC Championship Game.
This Week: vs. Florida Gators (Atlanta, GA)
2. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1)
A lot will be made of the fact that the Buckeyes aren’t conference champions, but they have the best case for the committee to include them in the playoff, as of now, other than Alabama. Ohio State beat the No. 3 team in the country this weekend, the Michigan Wolverines, but also have wins against Wisconsin (No. 6), Oklahoma (No. 8) and Nebraska (No. 16). If Penn State wins the Big Ten Championship, there will be some doubt about Penn State vs. Ohio State, which may happen even if Wisconsin wins the Big Ten Championship, but for now the Buckeyes are the number two team in the rankings.
This Week: N/A
3. Clemson Tigers (11-1)
Clemson moves back up to third after the Michigan loss. If they win the ACC Championship game, they will make the playoff. Their wins over Louisville, Florida State and Auburn are all solid enough that they only need to worry about winning their last game.
This Week: vs. Virginia Tech (Orlando, FL)
4. Washington Huskies (11-1)
Their out of conference schedule is really holding Washington back. Rutgers, Idaho and Portland State are all cake-walks, which will cost them. Washington’s wins aren’t that great either. The only team that they have beaten who will be ranked in the committee’s top 25 will be Stanford. They will come in at four in these rankings, but may be jumped by a Big Ten Champ for the CFP.
This Week: vs. Colorado (Santa Clara, CA)
First Four Out
5. Michigan Wolverines (10-2)
With wins over Penn State and Wisconsin, it would be hard to put Michigan behind those teams in the rankings. The Wolverines are a long shot to make the CFP with the loss to Ohio State, but it is still possible. They need Clemson and Washington to lose and need the committee to value their win over the eventual Big Ten Champion.
This Week: N/A
6. Wisconsin Badgers (10-2)
The Badgers have only lost to Ohio State and Michigan, and now find themselves in the Big Ten Championship Game against another Eastern Division power. Wisconsin’s victories over LSU and Nebraska are both solid. Winning the Big Ten Championship Game may not get the Badgers into the playoff, but they need to take care of business in case it does get them into the CFP.
This Week: vs. Penn State (Indianapolis, IN)
7. Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2)
Penn State’s win over Ohio State won them the Big Ten East and has them in playoff contention. Their next best win is Iowa, which doesn’t help them that much. They are in the same situation as Wisconsin and need to win and hope what they have done is good enough for the committee.
8. Oklahoma Sooners (9-2)
The Sooners may get jumped by Colorado, but they hold position and have the best win out of the two with their victory over West Virginia. They also scheduled tough out of conference games, and even though they lost, it will look good in the eyes of the committee. Oklahoma has a chance to become Big 12 Champions with a win this weekend. For the Sooners to make the CFP, they will need to have a lot of teams lose who are ahead of them and need the committee to value a conference championship
This Week: vs. Oklahoma (Home game)
Next Two Out
9. Colorado Buffaloes (10-2)
Colorado has had a surprising season and now finds itself in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Their best win was over Stanford, but they have some solid wins over Utah and Washington State also. The Buffaloes will face their biggest test in the Pac-12 Championship Game against No. 5 Washington. If they win they will likely need Oklahoma and Clemson to lose as well to have a chance at the CFP.
This Week: vs. Washington (Santa Clara, CA)
10. Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-2)
Oklahoma State lost to Central Michigan with the referees making mistakes, costing the Cowboys the game. That extra loss on the season is really holding the Cowboys’ CFP chances back. Wins over Pitt and West Virginia are good notches for the committee to look at. They need to beat Oklahoma and get the same type of help and generosity from the committee as the teams ahead of them in the rankings.
This Week: at Oklahoma (Away game)