Projected College Football Playoff Rankings, Week 14: So Long, Alabama

Projected College Football Playoff Rankings, Week 14: So Long, Alabama article feature image
Credit:

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Utah’s Cole Fotheringham

Just last week, the national chatter was about Alabama’s path to the College Football Playoff — not about the Tide beating Auburn.

Now we don’t need to speculate about Alabama and whether it deserved a spot. The CFP picture is a little bit clearer.

Utah and Oklahoma both made strong cases in dominant wins on Saturday. But the committee’s decision to drop Oregon from No. 6 to No. 14 and move Baylor from No. 14 to 9 opens the door for Oklahoma to secure the No. 4 spot, assuming the Sooners beat the Bears in the Big 12 Championship Game.

Below we project the College Football Playoff Top 25 for Tuesday, entering championship weekend. There is still so much to be decided, but the scenarios are looking somewhat clear now.

We’re not trying to rank the 25 best teams — that’s what our betting power ratings are for.

Projected Top 25 College Football Playoff Rankings

CFP Scenarios & Breakdown

We’ve broken down each College Football Playoff contender into one of three categories.

  • The elite teams that will be favored in their conference title games.
  • Teams that are guaranteed a spot if they win out (Georgia).
  • Teams that need to pull off upsets and get help elsewhere to guarantee a spot.

We’ve also listed each team’s record, point spreads for their remaining games via our oddsmaker-style power ratings, and FiveThirtyEight.com’s playoff projection chances.

The Real CFP Contenders

Clemson

  • Record: 12-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 93%
  • Remaining Games: vs. Virginia (-28.5)

Clemson is in full Death Star mode, yet Dabo Swinney has somehow convinced his players that no one believes in them.

The Tigers do need to beat Virginia to guarantee a College Football Playoff spot, but they should take care of business and reach their fifth straight CFP.

Ohio State

  • Record: 12-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 87%
  • Remaining Games: vs. Wisconsin (-14)

The Buckeyes could probably still get into the College Football Playoff with a loss to Wisconsin, but 1) they probably won’t lose and 2) don’t want to risk something like that, anyway.

Ohio State will likely remain the No. 1 seed after taking it from LSU last week, which could be a big advantage — it would likely avoid LSU and Clemson in the semifinals.

LSU

  • Record: 12-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 64%
  • Remaining Games: vs. Georgia (-4.5)

LSU just keeps rolling, ending its regular season with a blowout win over Texas A&M.

Most projection models don’t have LSU all the way in, but it’s almost a sure thing at this point, even if the Tigers lose to Georgia. I strongly disagree with 538.com only giving LSU a 64% chance to get in.

Fighting for No. 4

Oklahoma

  • Record: 11-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 56%
  • Remaining Games: vs. Baylor (-9.5)

The College Football Playoff committee will like the end of Oklahoma’s schedule better than Utah’s, but the Sooners have not displayed impressive game control in the second half of the season.

Whoever puts on the better show, assuming both teams win, will have a stronger argument for the College Football Playoff’s No. 4 spot (assuming LSU beats Georgia).

Utah

  • Record: 11-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 27%
  • Remaining Games: vs. Oregon (-4.5)

The Utes’ situation doesn’t really change much with Oregon’s loss, other than make a win over the Ducks slightly less impressive.

But for the most part, things are the same — win out and win the Pac-12, hope LSU, Clemson and Ohio State hold serve, and hope the committee doesn’t fall back in love with Utah.

Still Control Their Own Path, But Need an Upset

Georgia

  • Record: 11-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 46%
  • Remaining Games: LSU (+4.5)

Georgia will likely head to the SEC Championship Game with a CFP berth on the line, but does anyone feel good about the Dawgs’ chances right now?

The defense has been herculean in the last two months, but the offense looks timid and out of sync.

Maybe There’s a Chance?

Baylor

  • Record: 11-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 19%
  • Remaining Games: vs. Oklahoma (+9.5)

Baylor needs to win out, have LSU, Clemson and Ohio State hold serve in their conference title games, and hope Oregon beats Utah.

Wisconsin

  • Record: 10-2
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 8%
  • Remaining Games: vs. Ohio State (+14)

A two-loss team has never reached the College Football Playoff, but there is a path for Wisconsin.

  • Beat Ohio State
  • Hope Oregon beats Utah and Baylor beats Oklahoma
  • LSU, Clemson both win
  • Pray the committee finds you more worthy than one-loss Baylor

It’s possible given the Badgers would have the only win over another playoff team in this instance (since I still think Ohio State would get in), but it will take a lot breaking right for Wisconsin.

Eliminated on Saturday

Alabama

  • Record: 10-2
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 0%
  • Remaining Games: N/A

Right here last week, we were trying to break down the scenarios in which Alabama reached the College Football Playoff. This week, we’re putting the finishing touches on the Tide’s grave after a loss to Auburn.

Minnesota

  • Record: 10-2
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 0%
  • Remaining Games: N/A

Minnesota had a terrific season, but came up short in two of its three tough games — at Iowa and home vs. Wisconsin.

The Gophers won’t get a New Year’s Six bowl out of this season, either, instead likely landing in the Citrus Bowl.

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