The College Football Playoff committee is facing some brutally difficult decisions in compiling their final playoff rankings.
Top-four teams Clemson and Oklahoma took care of business with convincing victories in their respective conference championships, while No. 6 Georgia guaranteed themselves a spot in the four-team field with a multi-score win of their own. With those three teams comfortably in the playoff, who is the fourth?
Here are playoff predictions from the HERO Sports staff, followed by brief explanations below.
|A. Coffaro||A. Doughty||J. Oxley|
|1. Clemson||1. Clemson||1. Clemson|
|2. Oklahoma||2. Oklahoma||2. Oklahoma|
|3. Georgia||3. Georgia||3. Georgia|
|4. Alabama||4. Ohio State||4. Alabama|
|5. Ohio State||5. Alabama||5. Ohio State|
|6. Auburn||6. Auburn||6. Auburn|
|7. Wisconsin||7. Wisconsin||7. USC|
|8. USC||8. USC||8. Wisconsin|
|9. UCF||9. Penn State||9. Miami (FL)|
|10. Penn State||10. UCF||10. UCF|
Andy Coffaro: Clemson will be the top seed in the College Football Playoff. They've been on a tear since that weird Syracuse loss and wrapped up No. 1 by crushing Miami. Oklahoma and Georgia are next after winning their title games.
I don't want to be on the playoff committee this week. They'll be crushed either way by picking Alabama or Ohio State. Two-loss team who lost to Iowa by 31 points or a one-loss team who beat nobody? I think they take Alabama but wouldn't bet anything on it. Why can't we just take UCF instead?
Andrew Doughty: The top three teams are easy. Clemson is the clear No. 1 after the Tigers embarrassment of Miami, and they're followed by Oklahoma and Georgia. There is no doubt in my mind that's the top-three order.
If anyone tells you they unequivocally know who gets No. 4, don't listen to them. They're lying. Alabama and Ohio State have such different résumés that the teams are not easily comparable. I believe they'll reward the Buckeyes for a conference championship.
Jim Oxley: The committee finally has to make the big decision — does a two-loss conference champion deserve a spot in the playoff field over a one-loss non-conference champion?
Obviously I'm alluding to the Ohio State-Alabama conundrum. Ohio State, a two-loss Big Ten champ, has a bad loss to Iowa and a "good" loss to Oklahoma, who will be in the playoff. Alabama, meanwhile, has a loss to Auburn, who will still be a top-10 team, but doesn't have many "good" wins on their resume.
I believe that fourth spot belongs to Ohio State, but I think the committee will give it to Alabama based on their prior rankings and not having a ton of examples to work from on this committee.