The latest College Football Playoff rankings were hardly surprising, but there’s still room for chaos this weekend.
The Alabama Crimson Tide are virtual locks at No. 1, and the No. 3 Clemson Tigers most likely will make it if they win the Atlantic Coast Conference. But everything else is far from certain, even if it should be.
So here are the teams that very well could be snubbed by the College Football Playoff committee.
No. 2 Ohio State
OK, so this one probably (and shouldn’t) happen, but you never know. TCU was ranked No. 3 in the next-to-last CFP standings in 2014 and won on the final weekend, but it ultimately fell to No. 6 due to its head-to-head loss against Baylor. And the Horned Frogs ended up being Big 12 co-champions with the Bears.
The Buckeyes sort of are in a similar situation, although worse in some circumstances. Ohio State won’t play on the final weekend and can’t win the Big Ten because its loss to Penn State means the Nittany Lions will play Wisconsin in the title game, and conference championships are one of the major things the committee weighs.
OSU still should make it, since nobody in their right minds can say it isn’t a top-four team, but the whole Big Ten situation is a mess right now.
No. 7 Penn State-No. 6 Wisconsin Winner
The Nittany Lions and Badgers both have two losses, and the two best teams in the conference arguably are OSU and Michigan, but Penn State and Wisconsin are the two teams playing for the Big Ten championship.
The loser of the championship has no chance at making the playoff and wouldn’t be a snub with three losses. But the winner, especially if it is Penn State, could make a case to be ranked in the top four. The Badgers lost to the Buckeyes, so it is hard to see them passing OSU even if they win Saturday, although they still could make it as the conference’s second team if chaos happens in front of them. But since the Buckeyes’ only loss is to the Nittany Lions, the committee might have to make a tough choice between Ohio State and Penn State.
No. 4 Washington
The Huskies’ grasp on the No. 4 spot is tenuous. If they beat Colorado in the Pac-12 championship, they probably will make it since No. 5 Michigan won’t have another game to pass them. But what about the Big Ten winner? There certainly is a chance the committee could solve the OSU/Big Ten champion mess by putting both in, especially if Washington looks less than impressive against Colorado.
No. 5 Michigan
In fairness, the Wolverines really only have themselves to blame. They lost to Iowa and blew a double-digit lead against the Buckeyes in “The Game.” But Michigan pretty clearly is one of the best teams in the nation, and if the world were fair it would be facing Ohio State again for the Big Ten title.
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