The College Football Playoff rankings and top four will be out on Sunday. Here’s what’s going to happen and where the teams will go.
College Football Playoff Bracket: What’s Going To Happen
5. What if Oklahoma State won?
Before diving into what’s going to happen …
The college football world was just a few inches away from an all-timer of a debate.
What if Oklahoma State running back Dezmon Jackson was able to turn the corner a little bit sooner and barreled his way into the end zone to win the Big 12 Championship over Baylor? OSU lost 21-16, by the way, after Jackson came up just short.
Who would’ve been left out of the College Football Playoff bracket with five teams that deserved to be in?
The hypothetical best guess is that Cincinnati probably misses out only because the schedule isn’t that great outside of the win over Notre Dame, and Oklahoma State would have two wins over Baylor – a CFP top ten team – and had the win over an Oklahoma team that was CFP No. 10 at the time.
Let’s just say the committee had a much, much easier night than it could’ve been.
4. Really, do Notre Dame or Baylor have any case?
Not really. No two loss team has ever made it into the College Football Playoff, and Baylor has two losses – one against a mediocre TCU squad. However, the Bears did win a Power Five championship.
Notre Dame’s only case is that it had a slew of solid wins over Power Five teams, but it wouldn’t get in over Cincinnati – the Bearcats won the head-to-head meeting – and it wouldn’t have enough to push out Georgia. The Irish will likely end up No. 5 in the final rankings.
3. Remember, the 2 and 3 spots don’t really matter
There’s no advantage to being the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff instead of the 3. Of course it’s a fun destination to be the higher-ranked team, but unless you’re the 1 playing the 4 – or vice versa – it makes no difference.
However, there’s going to be some debate over whether or not the College Football Playoff committee will want an Alabama vs Georgia rematch of the SEC Championship in the semifinal.
The committee ranks the top four based on how good those four teams are, and it doesn’t worry about the matchup, so there’s a wee bit of a shot that Michigan is 1, Alabama is 2, and Georgia is 3, but …
Nah. It’s not going to happen. And that means …
2. Michigan will be a wee bit ticked off
Oh sure, Michigan is living its best life right now with a win over Ohio State and a Big Ten Championship in the span of a week, but after the euphoria settles down, it’ll be mad when it thinks about what might have been.
Had Georgia beaten Alabama and had Oklahoma State been able to get past Baylor, the Wolverines would’ve had a much, much more favorable matchup against Cincinnati or Oklahoma State in the semifinal instead of likely having to play Georgia.
And so …
1. The College Football Playoff bracket will be …
Be absolutely stunned if it’s not …
1. Alabama. It beat the No. 1 team, did it convincingly, and it got through as the champion of the best conference in college football. Again, there’s a slight case for Michigan at the 1, but it’s not going to happen.
Alabama will almost certainly play in the Orange Bowl on the undercard game against …
4. Cincinnati. There’s no disrespect whatsoever by putting the Bearcats in at the 4. Yeah, it’s unbeaten, and yeah, it beat Notre Dame, but there weren’t any truly great wins over anyone else. It’s a joyous moment for college football – a Group of Five program is in for the first time.
2. Michigan. Again, there’s an argument to be had that it should be the 1 seed, but it’s most likely going to be the 2 and playing in the Cotton Bowl in AT&T Stadium. It’s bigger than the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, and the Wolverine fans are going to pack the house with all the tickets that aren’t snapped up by …
3. Georgia. Again, the 2/3 seed doesn’t matter – you don’t get an extra cookie or anything by being the higher seed – and Georgia isn’t going to fall to 4. There’s going to be an energy from the Bulldog fan base that wants another shot at Bama – but don’t be stunned if it gets a rematch of its bowl game last year against Cincinnati.