ESPN’s Paul Finebaum: College Football Playoff comes down to one SEC, one Big Ten game

The College Football Playoff rankings came out this week, the first installment of where things stack for the national championship. And for ESPN’s Paul Finebaum, how the four-team field shakes out boils down to one game in the SEC and one game in the Big Ten.

And with all apologies to Copernicus, the college football world revolves around these two games.

Finebaum, the highly-respected ESPN analyst and college football insider, believes that this weekend’s game featuring Tennessee at Georgia is crucial for the College Football Playoff. And then, the regular season Big Ten meeting between Ohio State and Michigan will be for all the marbles.

“Right now the playoff really comes down to several games – TennesseeGeorgia and MichiganOhio State. Those winners are near locks even without having played conference games,” Finebaum told RutgersWire on Friday morning.

“Naturally, Alabama figures into the equation should it win out. Clemson would also be automatic if it finishes undefeated. The school with the biggest issue is Michigan- with a loss. The non -conference schedule will severely hurt. Let’s not forget Illinois. With a win over Michigan and a conference title, the Illini could also punch a ticket. Believe TCU will lose knocking the Big 12 out and the Pac-12 doesn’t have a clear path.”

Earlier this week, Finebaum was surprised that Clemson checked in at fourth in the initial College Football Playoff rankings. Finebaum believed that Michigan had a legitimate claim to that fourth spot and that Clemson as well as the ACC as a whole were longshots for the CFP this year.

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“Michigan has not played a great non-conference schedule but they’ve been very dominating and they’ve also beaten some good teams – not great teams in Penn State – but good teams. They beat Michigan State the other night – not a great team but still a conference foe and a rival,” Finebaum said on ESPN’s First Take this week.

“Michigan is in big trouble if they lose to Ohio State because of their non-conference schedule. I completely agree, they should be a four.”

Michigan plays at Rutgers this weekend at 7:30 PM ET on the Big Ten Network.

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Story originally appeared on Rutgers Wire