2018 College Football Playoff Projections Before Week 12: Top 4 Keep Rolling

Nov 12, 2018 7:38 PM EST

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tua Tagovailoa

  • Our 2018 College Football Playoff projections stayed the same after a quiet week.
  • Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan -- our playoff top 4 right now -- all won big to put themselves that much closer to a national semifinal berth.

Every week when I go to write this story, I hope I need to make all kinds of changes to our College Football Playoff projections because the top 10 teams got blown up. We did not get that this week.

The real College Football Playoff contenders all held serve, some in impressive fashion.

Here are our projections with two weeks of the regular season left. We’re not trying to forecast the Top 25 the committee will release on Tuesday. We are painting a picture of the teams that are left.

All playoff odds below courtesy of FiveThirtyEight.

2018 College Football Playoff Rankings, Week 12

1. Alabama

  • Playoff Odds: 77%
  • Record: 10-0

Alabama shut out SEC West contenders in consecutive weeks, so the defense is as scary as ever. Tua Tagovailoa getting knocked around and potentially banging up his knee again is nerve-wracking for Tide fans, but this team continues to roll.

2. Clemson

  • Playoff Odds: 92%
  • Record: 10-0

Clemson took care of business at Boston College on Saturday. It wasn’t beautiful, but a 27-7 win is all the Tigers needed.

Clemson has the best chance of anyone in the country to reach the College Football Playoff based on who’s left on the schedule — Duke, South Carolina, ACC Championship Game against… Pitt? It’s hard to see it tripping up.

3. Notre Dame

  • Playoff Odds: 56%
  • Record: 10-0

The Irish smoked Florida State without starting quarterback Ian Book, which will be great for them in the eyes of the committee, assuming he’s healthy down the stretch. In almost every scenario, they’ll reach the playoff by winning out against Syracuse and USC.

4. Michigan

  • Playoff Odds: 36%
  • Record: 9-1

Michigan rolled Rutgers. It needs to beat Indiana, Ohio State, then Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship to get in.

5. Georgia

  • Playoff Odds: 38%
  • Record: 9-1

Georgia handled Auburn on Saturday, keeping their College Football Playoff hopes alive until Alabama comes knocking in the SEC Championship Game.

6. Oklahoma

  • Playoff Odds: 34%
  • Record: 9-1

No one looks at Oklahoma any differently this week, because the defense is still porous and the Sooners needed a missed extra point and 2-point conversion to beat Oklahoma State 48-47.

Oklahoma’s best win is probably against Iowa State. The Sooners need to win out, and hope someone above them loses.

7. Washington State

  • Playoff Odds: 13%
  • Record: 9-1

It’s seemed all year like Washington State’s reckoning might be coming, but the Cougars continue to impress.

Their playoff hopes are slim, but they’re picking up some decent wins and most importantly, not losing.

8. West Virginia

  • Playoff Odds: 15%
  • Record: 8-1

West Virginia is setting itself up for a run at the Big 12 Championship. And while the Mountaineers are behind Oklahoma for now, that will play itself out, perhaps in consecutive weeks to end the year.

9. Ohio State

  • Playoff Odds: 29%
  • Record: 9-1

It was ugly at times, but Ohio State’s defense finally stepped up in a 26-6 win over Michigan State. The Buckeyes will be an underdog to Michigan in two weeks, but if they win out, they’ll have a good shot at the College Football Playoff.

Ohio State is the last contender on the list, since UCF isn’t getting any serious consideration. Syracuse could work its way into the major longshot conversation with a win over Notre Dame next week.

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