Deciphering The College Football Playoff Rankings Ahead Of Conference Championship Weekend

PANDEMONIUM. It’s been the flavour of the 2017 College Football season and last weekend was no different. With five teams inside the top 15 losing, including the previously invincible Alabama Crimson Tide and Miami Hurricanes, the committee faces the near impossible task of deciding where to ranks the teams in the running for the coveted top four Playoff spots. With conference championship weekend fast approaching, how will the CFP take shape over the rest of the season?

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This Week’s Top Four

1. Clemson (11-1)
2. Oklahoma (11-1)
3. Wisconsin (12-0)
4. Auburn (10-2)
YOU could be forgiven for reordering the top two. Clemson and Oklahoma are sitting atop the throne in a class of their own at the moment after they both recorded 20+ point wins over the weekend. They may appear the same, but if I was a betting man I would have my money on Baker Mayfield and OU to win it all at this point in time.

WISCONSIN’S first 12-0 season in over 100 years sees them crack the top four for the first time this season and they deserve it despite the lack of ranked opponents they faced. Auburn joins the party after dethroning Bama in the Iron Bowl giving them two wins over No. 1 ranked squads this year.

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Next In Line

5. Alabama (11-1)
6. Georgia (11-1)
7. Miami (10-1)
8. Ohio State (10-2)
TWO previously undefeated squads Alabama and Miami dropped out of the race after their miserable Week 13 performances. As mentioned above the Crimson Tide lost to a fired up Tigers outfit, but the Hurricanes loss to unranked Pitt wasn’t as excusable with Miami’s offense failed miserably.

THE 11-1 Georgia Bulldogs kept themselves in the playoff mix by crushing their interstate rivals Georgia Tech. Their only loss remains their Week 11 hiccup against Auburn and they will have a chance to get their revenge in the SEC Championship this weekend. It might be curtains for the two-loss Buckeyes outfit even though they claimed a sixth straight win against Michigan in their storied rivalry.

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The Field

IT’S almost impossible for anyone outside of the top eight to sneak into the playoff given the way the field is structured now. Almost impossible, but not out of the realm of possibility. The undefeated UCF Knights (12-0) stand a chance and a big win in the AAC title game over 20th ranked Memphis gives them a solid resume. No. 10 TCU have their fate in their own hands as they square off against Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship match. Beat OU and they are well and truly in the mix. If more carnage ensues and the favourites all fall on the weekend then, USC who is 11th at 10-2, can throw their name in the hat if they FLOG Stanford in their PAC 12 championship decider.

How Things Can Change

WITH the rankings looking the way they are right now the biggest question remains what will happen to Alabama after they have been forced to watch the SEC championship game from their couch. If both Auburn and Georgia look unimpressive in that game then Bama can keep their streak alive as the only school to appear in every playoff so far (the CFP began in 2014).

WHILE that game will be a must watch, don’t forget to see how things unfold when Clemson and Miami clash in the ACC title game. If Clemson wins, they will likely sew up the top seed in this year’s playoff. If Miami wins, however, then it’s not crazy to see Clemson miss the championship hunt altogether. A lot of other teams on the outside looking in will be hoping that the Tigers can beat ‘The U’ to improve their chances.

ONE of those such teams is the 10-2 Buckeyes, who face the undefeated Wisconsin Badgers in the BIG Ten championship game. The formula is simple for Ohio State, if they lose, they’re goners. Much like Miami though if they can upset Wisconsin, who haven’t lost all year they can leapfrog the Badgers and potentially take their spot in the final four.

Looking Into The Future

HERE’S a quick snapshot of how I expect the weekend’s games to unfold.

USC beats Stanford
Ohio State beats Wisconsin
UCF beats Memphis
Oklahoma beats TCU
Auburn beats Georgia
Clemson beats Miami

IF the results pan out this way then chances are that Wisconsin misses out, opening the door for either Alabama, UCF, Ohio State or a severe long shot Georgia. Considering that the Crimson Tide’s only loss came at the hands of another playoff team, the committee could choose them. Although the Buckeyes faced a much tougher schedule and have more noteworthy wins than Nick Saban’s squad do. It could come down to a flip of the coin between those two.

OF course, if my predictions are wrong (highly likely) there are 1001 different ways that things will pan out but I expect No. 1 Clemson and No. 4 Alabama to play a rematch of the last two national championships in one semifinal while No. 2 Oklahoma will battle No. 3 Auburn for a spot in the title decider. These may be the results I am expecting, but by no means does that mean they will pan out this way. Besides nothing goes the way we expect in college football, and that’s why we love it. Keep the pandemonium rolling!

Peace ✌️

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