And here we go. It’s what we’ve all been waiting for. They’ll be the final rankings that will determine the College Football Playoff and the New Year’s Six bowl games.
The College Football Playoff Rankings Final Projection
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And here we go with what the final rankings will probably be, along with the best guess on the College Football Playoff top four.
Remember, now the process comes down to big wins, championships, and one big, giant debate for the No. 4 spot. But remember, finding the teams for the New Year’s Six is a big deal, too.
Based on how the College Football Playoff process goes, here we go …
25. NC State (8-4)
Last Week: 24
That Dave Doeren is staying will actually matter a bit. Remember, the committee cares about all factors based on how good the teams are at the end of the season. There aren’t any amazing wins, but the Pack beat four bowl teams.
24. Mississippi State (8-4)
Last Week: 23
The Nick Fitzgerald injury was already taken into account with last week’s nine-spot drop, but does the loss of Dan Mullen mean another fall? It doesn’t matter except for the final look when it comes to those arguing for Alabama.
23. Memphis (10-2)
Last Week: 20
There should be an interesting fight in the committee room over the Tigers. Just how much do you punish a team for the only two losses coming to UCF, especially in an American Athletic Conference championship like that?
22. Boise State (10-3)
Last Week: NOT ranked
It was a wonderful finish and a dogfight to get past Fresno State for the Mountain West title, and this, along with the win over San Diego State on the road, should mean a solid top 25 finish.
21. Virginia Tech (9-3)
Last Week: 22
The losses to Clemson and Miami are still fine, but that Georgia Tech loss is still a wee bit of an anchor. There aren’t any amazing wins, which is why the Hokies won’t move up at all.
20. Northwestern (9-3)
Last Week: 21
After closing out with seven straight wins, this turned into one of the hottest teams late in the season. There’s a chance it gets a top 20 finish after Memphis lost.
19. Oklahoma State (9-3)
Last Week: 19
The loss to TCU doesn’t help the cause now, and there aren’t enough wins to get excited about. The Cowboys should be hanging around the same zip code as last week.
18. Washington State (9-3)
Last Week: 18
There’s a good chance the Cougars get a nice boost based on the win over USC. Now that the Trojans are the Pac-12 champs, that 30-27 win back in the first half of the season will play a lot bigger now
17. LSU (9-3)
Last Week: 17
You ready for the big problem in the overall formula for Alabama? This was the Tide’s one great win. LSU’s win over Auburn carried a ton of weight, and now, according to the metrics and stats the committee uses, that’s not going to be as strong now.
16. Michigan State (9-3)
Last Week: 16
The Spartans have been a big part of the argument for Ohio State. The Buckeyes’ third-best win was better than Alabama’s best victory. The loss to OSU at the time was ugly – and it still is – but the three losses to Notre Dame, Northwestern and the Buckeyes just aren’t that bad.
15. Notre Dame (9-3)
Last Week: 15
It might have been a tough finish for the Irish, but the blowout win over USC now looks a whole lot stronger – and the blowout loss to Miami looks a whole lot uglier. It’s not going to get close enough to get a New Year’s Six bowl.
14. Stanford (9-4)
Last Week: 12
Just how much does Stanford get punished for losing to USC in a solid Pac-12 Championship? The four losses are big, though – that number alone should be enough to drop the Cardinal behind Washington and UCF, despite the head-to-head win over the Huskies.
13. TCU (10-3)
Last Week: 11
The blowout loss to Oklahoma hurts, but there are two of them – the Horned Frogs shouldn’t get penalized too much for losing to one of the nation’s top teams. The overall resume is fine, but is it good enough to get into a New Year’s Six bowl over Washington?
12. Washington (10-2)
Last Week: 13
Can the Huskies possibly get high enough up to slip into a New Year’s Six bowl? The blowout win over Washington State still lingers, but will Stanford – thanks to its 30-22 win over the Dawgs – be ranked higher despite the four losses?
11. Miami (10-2)
Last Week: 7
It was and is a wonderful season that’s going to close out in the Orange Bowl. It might have been a clunker of an ACC Championship, and the loss to Pitt wasn’t fun, but it’s been a great ride and something to build on. Now it’ll deal with either Alabama or Ohio State.
What The College Football Playoff & New Year’s Six Will Be
College Football Playoff: Sugar Bowl
Clemson vs. Ohio State
College Football Playoff: Rose Bowl
Georgia vs. Oklahoma
New Year’s Six
Orange Bowl: Miami vs. Alabama
Cotton Bowl: Washington vs. Penn State
Fiesta: USC vs. Wisconsin
Peach: Auburn vs. UCF
10. UCF (12-0)
Last Week: 14
There’s not a great win to hang the hat on, and the loss of Scott Frost might matter a wee bit to some in the committee when it comes to the Best Team Now way of ranking things, and others aren’t going to like the problems on defense, but whatever. UCF finished unbeaten, it’s going to the New Year’s Six, and the dream season keeps going.
9. Penn State (10-2)
Last Week: 9
Totally forgotten about late in the process, the Nittany Lions were brutally, brutally close to getting to the Big Ten Championship. They’ll have to settle for a New Year’s Six bowl, most likely the Fiesta against USC if it’s not the Cotton against Washington or TCU.
8. Auburn (10-3)
Last Week: 2
It’s a shame Auburn wasn’t healthier. The team looked like it hit a bit of a wall in the SEC Championship, and now it’ll have to settle for a strong New Year’s Six appearance. It’s disappointing considering the way it played at the end of the year, but it’s still a fantastic run.
7. USC (11-2)
Last Week: 10
The Trojans once again turned into that team that no one wanted to face at the end of the season, but it’s definitely the odd team out of the Power Five champs. It’ll get to the Fiesta Bowl and finish with a nice ranking, but that Notre Dame loss is too big and too ugly to overcome.
6. Wisconsin (12-1)
Last Week: 4
The Badgers did a wonderful job of coming back late to make the Big Ten Championship a thriller. They don’t have the overall resume, and it looked like injuries caught up to them a bit, but they showed that the 12-0 run wasn’t a fluke. Now they’ll likely go to the Cotton or the Fiesta.
5. Alabama (11-1)
Last Week: 5
The committee sort of hinted that there wasn’t much difference between Alabama and Ohio State in last week’s rankings. Now it’ll be a fight to overcome the idea that the Buckeyes have a much, much better resume and a conference championship.
4. Ohio State (11-2)
Last Week: 8
They did it. And now comes the resume argument. The Iowa loss is a brutal drag, but the Buckeyes beat the unbeaten Badgers, have a win over Penn State, and a win over Michigan State. All three are better than what Alabama has done. And there’s that conference championship trophy that the Crimson Tide don’t have.
3. Georgia (12-1)
Last Week: 6
The only question now will be the seeding. Will the committee like the dominant win over the No. 2 team in the country enough to boost the Bulldogs up to No. 1? The committee would LOVE to put Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, but it just might not work out that way. However, one win in Pasadena, and the Dawgs are in Atlanta for the national title.
2. Oklahoma (12-1)
Last Week: 3
Are the Sooners No. 1 or No. 2? It doesn’t matter all that much – unless Alabama gets in at No. 4. Dominant, all that matters is that they’re in the fun – and they’re looking like a true contender to at least get to Atlanta.
1. Clemson (12-1)
Last Week: 1
No. 1 before having to deal with Miami in the ACC Championship, the absolute stomping in the 38-3 win should seal up the No. 1 spot and a trip to New Orleans. Now comes the hard part if you’re the Tigers – do you want to face Alabama or Ohio State?