Alabama and Ohio State will await the CFP decision to see which of those two programs will be at No. 5, positioned to make the field of four should one of the top teams stumble.
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

CFP Picture: Top 4 control destiny, Alabama, Ohio State, Tennessee anxiously await rankings

ATHENS — There were significant developments in the College Football Playoff picture with No. 1 Georgia likely clinching one of the top four spots.

It’s less certain, though still possible, (projected) No. 2 Michigan (12-0) and No. 3 TCU (12-0) could make the four-team CFP field with a loss in their respective conference championship games.

At No. 4, USC (11-1) likely needs to win the Pac-12 Championship Game against Utah to be included in one of the CFP Semifinal Games.

The CFP picture becomes considerably more blurry after that, with a contested race for the No. 5 position — an on-deck circle of sorts — should one of the top teams lose.

Ohio State (11-1), Alabama (10-2) and Tennessee (10-2) will all be glued to watching the CFP Rankings Show at 7 p.m. (ESPN) on Tuesday to see how the 13-member committee has judged them.

Clemson (10-2) and LSU (9-3) were essentially eliminated with their losses on Saturday.

2. Michigan

3. TCU

4. USC

5. Alabama

6. Ohio State

7. Tennessee

Schedule: Big Ten Championship Game vs. Purdue, 8 p.m. Saturday (FOX), Indianapolis

3. TCU (12-0)

The Horned Frogs took care of business by jumping on Iowa State early and often en route to the 62-14 win. TCU, like Michigan, will want to take any decisions out of the committee’s hands by winning the Big 12 Championship Game.

Schedule: Big 12 Championship Game vs. Kansas State, Noon Saturday (ABC), Arlington, TX

4. USC (11-1)

The Trojans got an impressive 38-27 home win over Notre Dame on Saturday night and are firmly in control of their own destiny. Quarterback Caleb Williams also established himself as the clear front-runner for the Heisman Trophy.

Schedule: Pac-12 Championship Game vs. Utah, 8 p.m. Friday (FOX), Las Vegas

5. Alabama (10-2)

The Crimson Tide has come through the back door into the College Football Playoff before, making — and winning — the 2017 CFP despite not playing in the SEC Championship Game.

Alabama has three wins over Power 5 teams with winning records (Texas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss), and their two losses came on the final plays of games (Tennessee, LSU) by a combined four points.

No two-loss team has made the CFP semifinals before, but the “four-best” concept helps the Tide if they are being measured against a non-conference championship game winner, even if it only has one loss, like Ohio State.

6. Ohio State (11-1)

The Buckeyes have wins over Penn State (44-31) and Notre Dame (21-10) among their four Power 5 wins over opponents over .500, with Iowa (54-10) and Maryland (43-30) being the others.

The decisive manner in which Ohio State lost to Michigan (45-23) — at home, outscored 28-3 in the second half — could ultimately be the back-breaker even though it’s the Buckeye’s only loss of the season.

7. Tennessee (10-2)

The Vols are being counted out in many of the projections, but a closer look at their resume suggests they should be under consideration.

Tennessee could start out making the case that it has a head-to-head win over Alabama — the “other” two-loss team still being considered,

The Vols’ “shocking” loss at South Carolina (63-38) doesn’t look quite as bad after the Gamecocks (8-4) scored a Top 10 road win at Clemson.

Also worth noting, the Vols have a road win at the 9-3 LSU team that beat Alabama this season, along with a road win at 8-4 Pitt.

NFF-Super 16 ballot

(Mike Griffith)

1. Georgia 12-0

2. Michigan 12-0

3. TCU 12-0

4. USC 11-1

5. Ohio State 11-1

6. Alabama 10-2

7. Tennessee 10-2

8. Washington 10-2

9. Penn State 10-2

10. Clemson 10-2

11. Florida State 9-3

12. LSU 9-3

13. Kansas State 9-3

14. Oregon State 9-3

15. Oregon 9-3

16. Utah 9-3

NextKirby Smart sounds off on SEC power in wake of South Carolina win at …
Leave a Comment