The final set of rankings before the final set of rankings have been released for the College Football Playoffs. There are no real surprises with the top four, and really in the top six with Alabama losing. Let’s dive into the Week 15 College Football Playoff rankings and what it all means heading into Championship Weekend.
Two locks, a third likely in, the fourth spot up for grabs
Ohio State and LSU are one and two once again and are virtual locks for the playoffs at this point. Even if they lose on Championship weekend, the Buckeyes and Tigers have beaten enough good teams that the committee won’t leave them out. They just might end up wearing their road jerseys for the semifinals.
Clemson is sitting at number three, as they have for a few weeks now. However, being at three, coming off a weak schedule, and with a solid group of teams sitting behind them, Clemson might be in a win-and-in situation. A loss to Virginia in the ACC Championship could be crushing for their playoff hopes.
Then you have the battle for the fourth spot, which will obviously be all the rage this weekend. Georgia currently holds the fourth spot and can punch their ticket to the dance if they can knock off LSU in the SEC Championship. That would all but secure the four-team field, assuming Clemson also wins. But if they lose, then that final spot is up for grabs.
Utah, Oklahoma, and Baylor eyeing final playoff spot
Realistically, there are three teams sitting outside the top four that can move into the top four with the right combination of results. Utah is in front as the first team out of the playoffs, thanks to Alabama’s tumble to number 12.
Utah also stands to need a top-25 victory the most as they still have none to their name, while Oklahoma currently has two. The Sooners were in danger of losing two of their three top-25 wins after last week, but only Iowa State fell out of the rankings, while Oklahoma State just stayed in at 25. That also means Baylor still has a top-25 win.
Therefore, the Big 12 champion will likely have at least two top-25 wins, assuming Oklahoma State stays in the rankings. Oklahoma would then also have two wins over Baylor.
Utah would finally have a top-25 win again if they beat Oregon since Arizona State fell out of the AP poll quite some time ago. It’s almost a matter of Utah needing to put on an extremely impressive performance against Oregon compared to the Big 12 Championship as well as Georgia losing to LSU, of course.
That would lend some to believe the Big 12 champion would have the edge over Utah if it comes down to those two for the fourth spot in the event of a Georgia loss. Even if Oklahoma State does get knocked out of the rankings Sunday, Baylor would have a win over Oklahoma, while Utah would have a win over Oregon, and the committee clearly favors the Sooners, which would give the edge to Baylor in that situation.
Wisconsin was slotted at number eight, but being behind both teams playing for the Big 12 title probably means the Badgers are unlikely to crash the playoff party, even if they win.
Alabama may miss New Year’s Six bowl
Alabama lost the Iron Bowl against Auburn, 48-45, and their playoff hopes disappeared into thin air. After Tuesday’s rankings, their hopes at a New Year’s Six Bowl May have also evaporated.
The Tide fell to number 12 in the committee rankings and now sits fourth among SEC teams. With most of the non-playoff bowls having certain conferences locked in, there aren’t too many available spots for Alabama. As strange as it sounds, the Citrus Bowl may be in Alabama’s future.
As always, we’ll look at what the bowls would look like with the current rankings, and how they may change after Saturday.
Bowls as of now
Peach: Ohio State vs Georgia
Fiesta: LSU vs Clemson
Rose: Utah vs Wisconsin
Sugar: Oklahoma vs Florida
Orange: Virginia vs Penn State
Cotton: Memphis vs Baylor
Peach: Ohio State vs Oklahoma
Fiesta: LSU vs Clemson
Rose: Penn State vs Oregon
Sugar: Baylor vs Georgia
Orange: Virginia vs Florida
Cotton: Memphis vs Utah