College Football Playoffs: Who Is Getting In and Who Is Going Home
by Jarvis Mahogany Scores & Statson
Well the most recent top 4 playoff rankings were released by the CFP committee and most cannot argue they got it correct (sorry Wisconsin fans). And what's almost as much fun as watching the weekend’s games to see how things play out? It's talking about the games and scenarios of what can or has to happen for whatever team to get one of the four spots. Let's take a quick look breaking down the top 4 teams and what they have to do to keep their spot in the playoffs.
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide: Current Odds to Win Championship -120 The Tide currently are the overwhelming favorites to raise the trophy at the season's end. They survived a tougher than expected Mississippi State squad winning 31-24 and their path is pretty clear. Continue to win and they are obviously in the playoff.
That should be easy this weekend hosting Mercer in a "thanks for showing up game" against the Bears but will get substantially tougher the following week against Auburn in the Iron Bowl. Win the Iron Bowl and a date with Georgia in the SEC Championship game awaits. Alabama is one of the few teams that could potentially survive losing another game and still make it to the end.
#2 Clemson Tigers: Current Odds to Win Championship +600 Same holds true for the Clemson Tigers where they obviously are in winning out. They host the Citadel this weekend in a breather game before finishing the regular season with South Carolina. It won't show on paper but the Gamecocks could give the Tigers more than they bargained for to end the season. The Gamecocks would like nothing more than to put a dent in rival Clemson's season and they have been playing decent ball lately.
After the Gamecocks a heavyweight showdown awaits for the ACC title with the #3 Miami Hurricanes. Win this and not only are the Tigers in but they potentially could be the #1 seed as well if Alabama was to slip.
What a change two weeks can make. Couple weeks ago and Miami was dismissed in every meaningful conversation as nothing more than a product of a weak schedule. The Hurricanes would obviously lose when they started playing legit competition.
Well, Coach Richt and the Canes put those theories to rest dominating Virginia Tech two weeks ago 28-10 and then humiliating Notre Dame 41-8 last weekend to plant their flag. Their recent showing vaulted the Canes from the 7-9 range in most people's ranking all the way to #3 in the latest CFP rating.
Miami's path obviously gets them in by continuing to win but the real debate will begin if they lose a close game to Clemson in the ACC title game. Will the Canes have the best 1 loss profile if they are unable to defeat the Tigers? Their remaining regular season games are hosting Virginia this weekend and traveling to Pittsburgh to close out. They will be heavily favored in both remaining contests setting up the showdown in Charlotte in December.
After defeating Oklahoma State 62-52 and TCU 38-20 in back to back weeks the Sooners have a strong resume and claimed the #4 spot over undefeated Wisconsin. Can't see anything Wisconsin can do that vaults them over Oklahoma as things stand now.
Winning out solidifies their current position and almost assuredly guarantees them a spot in the final four. They finish the regular season at Kansas and then host West Virginia in the finale. They will be heavily favored in both games. A rematch with TCU in the Big 12 title game appears the most likely scenario at this point but there is still a lot to decide in the conference.
Plenty of football left to play and of course, these things generally tend to work themselves out but the fun will always be in talking about the what-ifs. And there are still plenty of what-ifs to decide. Wisconsin, Auburn, and Georgia all still have reasonably realistic paths to crash the party and it should be exciting watching them try.