In the CFP
- Alabama Crimson Tide (13-0)
This is the easiest decision the committee will have. The Crimson Tide is the only undefeated team from a power five conference and, per 538 sports, might be the greatest college football team of all time. Florida stood no chance in the SEC Championship Game and now Alabama can watch the CFP Selection Show without having to fret. They will be watching for what team comes in fourth for their semi-final match-up.
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- Clemson Tigers (12-1)
Virginia Tech played Clemson tough, but the Tigers prevailed and all but guaranteed their spot in the CFP. The question is if they will jump ahead of Ohio State for the number two seed. Beating Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game gives the committee reason to move Clemson to number two. Wins over Louisville, Florida State and Auburn help the case to move up. Ultimately, moving up to the two seed doesn’t really matter as their opponent will likely be the same whether they finish at two or three.
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- Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1)
With wins over Wisconsin, Michigan, Oklahoma and Nebraska, the Buckeyes may have a better résumé than Alabama. The committee, however, will reward conference championships. There is some doubt for Ohio State because Penn State won the Big Ten Championship Game and beat the Buckeyes head to head. In the end, Ohio State’s case to be in the CFP speaks for itself.
- Washington Huskies (12-1)
As much as I would like to put Michigan here, the committee will not. Washington has a terrible out of conference schedule and has few big wins playing in the Pac-12 this year. They did win the Pac-12 Championship though and finished the season with one loss. That is good enough to get them into the CFP. Now, they are rewarded by having to play Alabama.
First Three Out
- Michigan Wolverines (10-2)
Michigan is one of the best four teams in the country, but the selection committee won’t put the Wolverines in the CFP. Their wins over Penn State, Wisconsin and Colorado are all great wins, and makes their argument to be in the CFP very strong, but Washington will get the nod over the Wolverines. It was a great season, but they can still enjoy a New Year’s Six Bowl Game.
- Penn State Nittany Lions (11-2)
Penn State did just win the toughest conference in college football, but against James Franklin’s wishes, they will be left out of the CFP. Their entire case to be in the CFP is beating Ohio State and Wisconsin and a Big Ten Championship. They will end up right behind Michigan in the rankings, because Michigan absolutely demolished them when they played head to head. The Nittany Lions will settle for playing in the Rose Bowl.
- Oklahoma Sooners (10-2)
Oklahoma should be commended for playing a tough out of conference schedule, but in the end they do not have the wins necessary to being in the CFP. The Big 12 schedule let them down, as their only two quality wins are over West Virginia and Oklahoma State. The Sooners had the grit and toughness to reel off a great nine game win streak and now have earned a spot in a New Year’s Six Bowl Game.