The College Football Playoff Committee has its work cut out for it this week after two of the top 4 teams and four of the Top 10 suffered losses this past week. With Georgia and Notre Dame both going down, they will fall out of the top four. But who will take their spots? Many teams can make a case to be in the top 4 of the playoff rankings, but there are five teams who stand out and appear to be vying for one of the four spots.
The Alabama Crimson Tide enjoyed the No. 1 spot for much of the season until Georgia overtook them in the first College Football Playoff Rankings. They are certainly contenders to retake that top position since they remain undefeated after surviving Mississippi State this past weekend. Despite struggling against the Bulldogs, the Tide had previously defeated their first eight unranked opponents by an average of 33 points. Alabama also leads the SEC in scoring offense, scoring defense, rushing offense, and rushing defense.
The Sooners are coming off a 38-20 win over a sixth-ranked TCU team. Oklahoma suffered a loss to Iowa State earlier in the season, but their resume also includes three wins over Top 25 teams. They have been led by their quarterback and emerging Heisman favorite Baker Mayfield who has thrown for 31 touchdowns and just five interceptions throughout the season.
The defending national champions will likely remain in the top four after defeating the Florida State Seminoles this past weekend. Although the final was 31-14, the Seminoles had an opportunity to take the lead in the closing minutes had it not been for an interception. Syracuse has been the only team to hand the Tigers a loss this season, but they did so after Clemson’s quarterback Kelly Bryant was injured in the game. Clemson has three wins over Top 25 teams, including a win over Auburn that looks more and more impressive after each passing week.
After defeating No. 3 Notre Dame in a blowout victory last week, “The U” appears to be back. The Hurricanes are one of the last remaining undefeated teams in the nation. Everything seems to be working for them right now, including the incentive of the turnover chain. Miami has the best turnover differential (+15) among Power 5 Conference teams, and only Wyoming (+17) is better in all of FBS.
The Badgers seem to be the team on the outside looking in, according to most experts. Despite an undefeated record and already clinching the Big Ten’s West Division, their strength of schedule is hurting them. Their only wins over Top 25 teams so far are against No. 25 Northwestern and No. 20 Iowa, who they defeated this past weekend.
ESPN’s College Football Analyst Brad Edwards predicts Alabama will take the top spot when the poll is released tonight at 9 p.m. between the Duke-Michigan State and Kentucky-Kansas basketball games live from the Champions Classic doubleheader in Chicago.