CFP – Questions Abound

CFP

There are still multiple scenarios surrounding the College Football Playoff (CFP) Top 25. A quick look at the graphic below would seem to indicate we have our top 4 teams in place. Alas, we do not and with one more week of football lets not make any rash assumptions.

When it comes to ACC Nation teams there are two, Clemson and Notre Dame that continue to hold firm in the top 4. The one team that is locked in is Notre Dame. One of the side benefits this year to not being in a conference is the lack of a championship game. Let’s, for speculation purposes replace Pitt with Notre Dame in the ACC Football Championship. Would a loss by either team, considering their records remove them from the top 4? The answer is yes and no. The lower ranked team (Notre Dame) might get bumped while the higher ranked team (Clemson) could slide to #4. The likelihood of either dropping out with one loss is slim and would present a similar scenario where two SEC teams were in the top 4.

Right now, Clemson has the shot at a conference title and will have to face Pitt. The Panthers are late season giant killers. For some reason known only to the higher powers lording over college football Pitt can cobble together amazing one game performances. Unfortunately, they can’t maintain that divine power with any regularity throughout the regular season. So, what happens if a magic sprinkle is bestowed upon Pitt and they defeat Clemson?

CFP – Questions Abound

Let’s ever so briefly look at that scenario. First, sorry Pitt but you wouldn’t be awarded anything other than a spot in the final CFP Top 25. That’s good for a free pass to a better bowl bid, maybe. That converts into, ‘Mo Money, Mo Money, Mo Money’. Second, Clemson could get bumped out of the top 4 but let’s get real here for a moment. Is there a team with a better record in the top 6 that would take their place? Only Pitt delivering Armageddon along with the kitchen sink would take the Tigers out of the running.

So, for all intents and purposes let’s just say that Clemson and Notre Dame are safe. But that doesn’t mean that everyone else in the top 4 would be.

We’ll start with Alabama because that’s our golden calf in college football. The Crimson Tide are in the same boat as Clemson when it comes to losing the SEC Championship. Could Georgia perform that herculean task? The answer is, yes. What would happen? Alabama might lose that top spot but is it in the interests of the CFP to create a playoff game that is a repeat of that game? The shuffle at this point may place Notre Dame at #2 and Alabama at #3 (of vice versa) while Georgia remains at #4 and faces off with #1 Clemson.

CFP

CFP – Questions Abound

But let’s take a more practical approach to the CFP top 4 and project that Georgia loses to Alabama. The Crimson Tide stay at #1, Clemson wins and stays at #2 and Notre Dame remains at #3. What team moves into #4?

For the answer we look to the current #5 and #6 teams, Oklahoma and Ohio State. The two teams still have to make it through their conference championships. The Sooners are about to face off with Texas while the Buckeyes will take on Northwestern. All things being equal a win over Texas trumps a win over Northwestern thus pushing Oklahoma into the CFP top 4.

How would Ohio State get in? We start with Alabama defeating Georgia and then Texas taking down Oklahoma. Texas has already defeated the Sooners this year so let’s not brush aside that possibility. There appears to be too many suspect variables that will need to occur to project Ohio State into the final 4.

The CFP top 4 appears to be –

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Notre Dame
  4. Oklahoma

We’ll find out definitively with the release of the final CFP Top 25 on Sunday, December 2.

Be sure to listen to this week’s episode (Shanked Season) of ACC Nation Podcast and be sure to subscribe.