Now, the College Football Playoff selection panel will make the final call. It will not be difficult to decide on the top four for this year.
After Saturday’s conference championships, it’ll likely be Alabama, Georgia, Georgia, and Cincinnati. This simplifies a playoff chase that appeared to have been in chaos since late November.
Filling out the New Year’s 6 slate will be the most difficult. This is influenced by the ranking of teams in the bottom four.
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WHO IS IN:College Football Playoff Field is formed
BOWL PROJECTIONSAre Alabama and Michigan the top two seeds? 1 seed?
This is how the playoff top rankings should appear:
1. Alabama (12-1)
After a loss to the Bulldogs in the SEC championship match, the Crimson Tide has taken over Georgia’s top spot. This win has reshaped our expectations about what we can expect from the playoff, and will make Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide clubhouse favourite to claim another championship.
2. Michigan (12-11)
Michigan could be No. 1. But don’t forget to consider how the committee will approach seeding this group of top four. Putting Alabama No. Georgia would have to fall at No. 2 in order for Alabama to be ranked no. To avoid a semifinal rematch, Georgia would need to be ranked No. It’s possible but unlikely. The committee still wants to honor the SEC winner with a trophy, particularly after securing the best victory for any team in the season.
3. Georgia (12-1)
JT Danis will continue to be the voice of reason for Stetson Bennett’s passing average of 7.1 yards and two interceptions during their loss to the Bulldogs. It’s too late for a change. It seems unlikely that Kirby Smart will make a move after playing with Bennett for the entire regular season. If Daniels is well, this option could be considered.
4. Cincinnati (13-0)
At halftime, it was 13-13. The Bearcats pulled away from Houston by scoring three quick touchdowns. Houston’s Clayton Tune intercepted the Bearcats deep within their territory and gave the Bearcats the second touchdown. Cincinnati’s win of 35-20 makes it easy for the selection committee to place Cincinnati in the top 4.
5. Notre Dame (11-1)
Although the Fighting Irish were close to making it into the playoffs, they just missed out on their third in four years. This is due to the Bearcats’ loss to Cincinnati which boosted their Notre Dame hopes. In November, the Irish had a great season and were energized when Brian Kelly was fired. Marcus Freeman will now be the new head coach. He’ll face an intimidating opponent in a New Years Six bowl.
6. Baylor (11-2)
Baylor’s title in conference is more surprising than the win by Pittsburgh in the ACC. The Bears had a difficult time during the pandemic, but they rallied around second-year coach Dave Aranda. His stoic stability has evidently impacted a team that never lost its cool, even when Oklahoma State took a charge in the second half.
7. Ohio State (10-2)
Ohio State’s victory over Michigan will see it return to the Rose Bowl, for the first time in its history since the 2018 season. Utah is expected to win, although the Buckeyes are favorites against the Buckeyes. The Utes style of play appears to be the Achilles heel to a defense that has been weakened by the Wolverines’ avalanche of runs in November’s rivalry game.
8. Ole Miss (10-22)
A spot in the New Years Six will be given to the winner of one the most successful regular seasons in program history. This will be Matt Corral’s last season as a star quarterback. Corral was a potential Heisman Trophy finalist and had already said that this would be Corral’s final year in Oxford. Coach Lane Kiffin will still be in the mix for Power Five jobs. He was inked on Saturday to a contract extension.
9. Oklahoma State (11-2)
No team in playoff history had come this close to the semifinals only to come up short — in the Cowboys’ case, a matter of inches meant the difference. While the fourth-down play is what will be replayed throughout the offseason (but the larger play might have been made one snap earlier): Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders found a teammate in the endzone but was too late to throw. This allowed a Baylor defensive back to narrow the distance and stop the pass.
10. Michigan State (10)
A slight disappointment may set in when the chance to win the Big Ten title slips away in November. The Spartans are still enjoying a successful regular season. Second-year coach Mel Tucker secured a $95 million contract to quickly reverse the recent decline.
11. Utah (10-3)
After sweeping Oregon, the Utes will be able to jump six places. The 38-7 victory Friday night gives Utah its first Pac-12 title since it joined the conference. It also sends them to the Rose Bowl. Getting there after a brutal September will go down as one of the remarkable accomplishments of coach Kyle Whittingham’s career.
12. Pittsburgh (1-2)
Pittsburgh existed independently for the first 100 years of its existence. This explains why it is only the third conference title in program history. This is also the unshared victory; in 2004, and 2010, teams won by tiebreakers. Beating Wake Forest in order to win the ACC will move the Panthers up a couple of spots in final playoff rankings. It also helps quarterback Kenny Pickett get his Heisman vote.