Clemson, Auburn, Oklahoma, Wisconsin top CFP rankings
The Associated Press
Clemson, Auburn, Oklahoma and Wisconsin will enter championship weekend positioned to earn a playoff spot with just one more victory.
But a potential Alabama-Ohio State controversy looms.
Clemson moved up to No. 1 in the final College Football Playoff rankings before the semifinals are set by the selection committee on Sunday.
Alabama fell from No. 1 to fifth in the new rankings Tuesday after losing to Auburn, and Georgia was sixth. Miami slipped after taking its first loss of the season last week from No. 2 to seventh, just ahead of Ohio State at eighth.
“It’s close separation from team No. 5 Alabama, six Georgia, seven Miami, eight Ohio State. Those teams are close,” said committee chairman Kirby Hocutt, the athletic director at Texas Tech. “Very little separation in the committee’s eyes between teams five through eight.”
Each of the top four teams plays a conference title game this Saturday against another highly ranked team, creating potential play-in playoff games. Clemson faces Miami in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship; Auburn and Georgia play for the Southeastern Conference title; Wisconsin faces Ohio State for the Big Ten title; and Oklahoma faces No. 11 TCU for the Big 12 title.
If the top four win out, the semifinals likely would fall into place: Clemson would face Wisconsin in the Sugar Bowl semifinal on New Year’s Day by virtue of giving the top seed a regional advantage, and Auburn and Oklahoma would play in the Rose Bowl semifinal.
It is likely Miami would jump into the top four by beating No. 1 Clemson and winning the ACC and same goes for Georgia if it can win a rematch against Auburn. The intrigue would start if Oklahoma and/or Wisconsin lose.
The selection committee could be faced with a choice between Alabama (11-1) and Ohio State (10-2). The Crimson Tide’s resume has no wins against teams currently in the top 15 and it is done playing, but the Buckeyes have two losses by double digits, including a 31-point blowout at Iowa.
Penn State is ninth and Southern California is the highest ranked Pac-12 team at No. 10.