- The College Football Playoff committee released its final ranking before the playoff teams will be announced on Sunday.
- The big winner was Oklahoma, who is ranked fifth, ahead of Ohio State and in position to move into the top four if Georgia loses to Alabama, as expected.
- In all, eight teams are still alive for a spot in the playoff, including Michigan and UCF.
The penultimate College Football Playoff ranking is out and the Oklahoma Sooners are the big winners.
With one week to go before the committee chooses the four teams for the playoff, Oklahoma moved up to the all-important fifth spot over Ohio State. The Sooners are still not guaranteed a spot in the playoff with a win in the Big 12 championship game, but if it were to come down to OU and Ohio State, the Sooners would have the edge.
In all, eight teams still have a path to the playoff. Below, we ranked the remaining contenders based on who has the best chances to make the playoff.
Last week’s result: Beat USF, 38-10
Playoff ranking: 8
Key games remaining: Unranked Memphis in The Atlantic championship game.
One thing to know: It is clear the committee does not take UCF’s undefeated record seriously. Michigan is still ahead of the Knights and is done with its schedule. UCF adding a win over Memphis is unlikely to impress the committee enough to jump the Wolverines. That means UCF needs at least three teams ahead of them to lose. And then there is the season-ending injury to quarterback McKenzie Milton. It is just another excuse for the committee to leave UCF out if they want one.
Last week’s result: Lost to Ohio State, 62-39
Playoff ranking: 7
Key games remaining: none
One thing to know: Michigan is the big surprise this week as they still have a path to the playoff despite an ugly loss to Ohio State. The Wolverines’ best hope is for Clemson, Oklahoma, and Ohio State to lose their conference title games. There would then be a chaos debate over the fourth spot with 1-loss Clemson, 2-loss Ohio State, 2-loss Michigan, and undefeated UCF all with a strong argument to join Alabama, Notre Dame, and Georgia. But would the committee take Michigan over Ohio State despite the head-to-head result? Michigan would have “stronger” losses.
6. Ohio State
Last week’s result: Beat Michigan, 62-39
Playoff ranking: 6
Key games remaining: No. 21 Northwestern in the Big Ten title game.
One thing to know: Ohio State needs a lot of help. An Oklahoma loss in the Big 12 title game would be the biggest boost. But that might not be enough if Clemson and Georgia win or if the Bulldogs play a close game with Alabama.
Last week’s result: Beat West Virginia, 59-56
Playoff ranking: 5
Key games remaining: No. 14 Texas in the Big 12 title game.
One thing to know: The Sooners were the big winners by staying ahead of Ohio State. If both teams win their conference, OU would be adding the more impressive win and would almost certainly stay ahead of the Buckeyes. Ohio State does have the easier opponent, but both teams are expected to win. The big question comes if OU wins, but their defence gives up another 40+ points. If Georgia loses a close game to Bama, the committee might prefer the Bulldogs.
Last week’s result: Beat Georgia Tech, 45-21
Playoff ranking: 4
Key games remaining: No. 1 Alabama in the SEC championship game.
One thing to know: Georgia is the biggest mystery. They are in with a win. But what if they play Alabama tough and lose? Would Georgia still get into the playoff over Oklahoma if they win the Big 12? That might depend on how the committee judges the Sooners’ porous defence. But what if OU loses and Ohio State wins the Big Ten? Georgia might still get in over the Buckeyes.
Last week’s result: Beat South Carolina, 56-35
Playoff ranking: 2
Key games remaining: Unranked Pitt in the ACC title game.
One thing to know: Clemson is a lock to get in if they win the ACC and have the easiest opponent among the top teams in contention. But if they lose to Pitt, they are almost certainly out.
Last week’s result: Beat Auburn, 52-21
Playoff ranking: 1
Key games remaining: No. 4 Georgia in the SEC title game.
One thing to know: The biggest playoff debate would occur if Alabama lost to Georgia. Would a 1-loss, non-conference-champ Alabama get into the playoff over both Oklahoma and Ohio State if those two win their conferences? The Crimson Tide would have the “best” loss of the group. They would also have two recent wins over teams currently in the top 18 (LSU, Mississippi State) by a combined score of 53-0.
1. Notre Dame
Last week’s result: Beat USC, 24-17.
Playoff ranking: 3
Key games remaining: none.
One thing to know: Notre Dame is in the playoff and all that is left is deciding their final seed.