Georgia will make the College Football Playoff for the first time when the four-team field is announced on Sunday. But the No. 4 spot is the most tightly contested and debated.
Ohio State and Alabama are the two likely suitors after the Buckeyes won the Big Ten Championship Game over previously unbeaten Wisconsin. The Tide were idle this weekend.
Alabama has one loss, at Auburn, but no high-quality wins. Its best are LSU and Mississippi State. Ohio State has quality wins over Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan State, but two blowout losses to Oklahoma and Iowa.
College Football Playoff projections
There will be a raging debate when it comes to the No. 4 seed. Should one-loss Alabama get into the playoff, or two-loss Ohio State? The Crimson Tide were nearly unbeatable, but the Buckeyes have a stronger set of wins. The committee could be scared off by OSU’s ugly loss at Iowa and beatdown at the hands of Oklahoma — not to mention a horrible performance vs. Clemson in the CFP semifinals last season, which isn’t supposed to matter but might.
Clemson hammered Miami for the ACC title Saturday night and its spot as the likely No. 1 seed is secure. Oklahoma blew out TCU in the Big 12 title game to seal a spot in the final four. Ditto for Georgia after its win over Auburn in the SEC Championship Game.
Georgia certainly won’t be No. 1 after Clemson’s performance, meaning the Bulldogs will probably be No. 2 or No. 3 and play in the Rose Bowl. It’s unlikely they fall to No. 4. The Tigers get the Sugar Bowl because its closer to Clemson, South Carolina, and they’re the higher seed.
Here’s our projected final College Football Playoff rankings for the 2017 season.
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Notre Dame
- Michigan State
- Washington State
- Oklahoma State
- Virginia Tech
- Mississippi State
- N.C. State
- Boise State
2017 college football bowl projections
- Sugar: No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Ohio State
- Rose: No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3Georgia
New Year’s Six projections
- Orange (ACC vs. top non-champ from SEC/Big Ten/Notre Dame) — Miami vs. Alabama
- Cotton (At-large vs. At-large) — USC vs. Wisconsin
- Fiesta (At-large vs. At-large) — Washington vs. Penn State
- Peach (At-large vs. At-large/Top Group of 5 champ) — Auburn vs. UCF
Power 5 projections
- Taxslayer (ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC) — Virginia Tech vs. Texas A&M
- Belk (ACC vs. SEC) — N.C. State vs. Missouri
- Citrus (Big Ten vs. SEC) — Michigan State vs. LSU
- Outback (Big Ten vs. SEC) — Michigan vs. South Carolina
- Holiday (Big Ten vs. Pac-12) — Northwestern vs. Stanford
- Music City (Big Ten/ACC vs. SEC) — Iowa vs. Kentucky
- Pinstripe (Big Ten vs. ACC) — Purdue vs. Boston College
- Texas (SEC vs. Big 12) — Mississippi State vs. Texas
- Liberty (SEC vs. Big 12) — Memphis vs. Iowa State
- Birmingham (SEC vs. AAC) — West Virginia (SEC replacement) vs. South Florida
- Independence (SEC vs. ACC) — Western Michigan (SEC replacement) vs. Wake Forest
- Alamo (Big 12 vs. Pac-12) — TCU vs. Washington State
- Russell Athletic (ACC/Notre Dame vs. Big 12) — Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma State
- Sun (ACC vs. Pac-12) — Louisville vs. Arizona State
- Las Vegas (Pac-12 vs. MWC) — Oregon vs. Boise State
- Military (ACC vs. AAC) — Virginia vs. Navy
- Cactus (Pac-12 vs. Big 12) — UCLA vs. Kansas State
- Heart of Dallas (Big Ten vs. Big 12) — Utah (Big Ten replacement) vs. Texas Tech
- Foster Farms (Big Ten vs. Pac-12) — San Diego State State (Big Ten replacement) vs. Arizona
- Quick Lane (Big Ten vs. ACC) — Central Michigan (Big Ten replacement) vs. Duke