After a weekend filled with losses for top-ranked teams, this week’s College Football Playoff rankings have plenty of changes.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is seeing Clemson moving up from No. 4 to No. 2 and Miami sliding in at No. 3. Although, we probably shouldn’t be all that surprised. The Tigers had been sitting at the four spot in each of the first two rankings before Tuesday and Miami’s emphatic win over Notre Dame had us thinking the Canes would find themselves at two. Instead of falling for that recency bias, however, the selection committee valued Clemson’s top-25 wins vs. Auburn and NC State over Miami’s lone top-25 win vs. the Irish.
With that out of the way, let’s figure out what these new rankings mean as we approach the final few weeks of the regular season.
HOW ABOUT MIAMI AND CLEMSON IN THE PLAYOFF?
Two weeks ago we were discussing Alabama and Georgia meeting in both the SEC title and national title games. We were also discussing how the other Power 5 conferences were going to complain about two SEC schools making the playoff. Whether it’s Auburn continuing to tear everything apart, Georgia recovering in time to win the conference, or Alabama winning out, that’s probably not going to happen.
Instead, the ACC could get two teams in the final four. Clemson and Miami will meet in the conference title game. Let’s say 11-1 Clemson beats 12-0 Miami in a close, thrilling game giving both teams one loss on the season. If most of the favorites around the country win out and the ACC Championship Game ends like we’ve laid out above, the ACC will have a genuine case to make for taking up half the playoff spots.
OKLAHOMA AND THE BIG 12 MAY GET HOSED
Sitting at No. 4 is NEVER a good thing. It’s why we were looking at Clemson and thinking it may tumble prior to the ACC title game. Now the Sooners, despite just joining the top four, could end up in such a scenario.
As you’ve just read, two ACC teams in the playoff isn’t an outlandish idea. Assuming the SEC champ gets a third playoff spot—and it will—the final slot would be a fight between the Big 12 and Big Ten champions. If it comes down to this, Oklahoma must root for Ohio State to take down Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. OU already beat the Buckeyes in Columbus earlier this season. If the Badgers win out, there’s simply no way the committee would leave out a 13-0 power conference champion.
The part of college football where you have to root for your opponents never gets old.
Here are the third full College Football Playoff rankings of the 2017 season:
1. Alabama (10-0, SEC)
2. Clemson (9-1, ACC)
3. Miami (9-0, ACC)
4. Oklahoma (9-1, Big 12)
5. Wisconsin (9-0, Big Ten)
6. Auburn (8-2, SEC)
7. Georgia (9-1, SEC)
8. Notre Dame (8-2, Independent)
9. Ohio State (8-2, Big Ten)
10. Penn State (8-2, Big Ten)
11. USC (9-2, Pac 12)
12. TCU (8-2, Big 12)
13. Oklahoma State (8-2, Big 12)
14. Washington State (9-2, Pac 12)
15. UCF (9-0, AAC)
16. Mississippi State (7-3, SEC)
17. Michigan State (7-3, Big Ten)
18. Washington (8-2, Pac 12)
19. NC State (7-3, ACC)
20. LSU (7-3, SEC)
21. Memphis (8-1, AAC)
22. Stanford (7-3, Pac 12)
23. Northwestern (7-3, Big Ten)
24. Michigan (8-2, Big Ten)
25. Boise State (8-2, MWC)