Posted on November 26, 2017, by Travis Pulver
There was a way the final regular season games could have played out that would have made the CFB Playoff Committee’s job easy this week. But if it was easy then what would fans talk about for the next week? As it turns out, their job is going to be anything but easy this week.
It would not have been too bad had just No. 2 Miami lost. But then No. 1 Alabama had to go and fall 26-14 to Auburn. With both No. 1 and No. 2 falling the Committee could go a number of different ways when they release the new rankings Tuesday night.
Probably the easiest thing to do would be to move No. 3 Clemson up to No. 1. They beat No. 24 South Carolina rather easily Saturday night, 34-10. But to remain in the top slot, they are going to have to beat a very tough Miami team in the ACC Championship game.
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“We’re starting to play our best football,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said following Saturday’s win over South Carolina (ESPN). “You want to have confidence, you want to have depth, you want to have good health, and you want to feel like you have some rhythm and some momentum. It feels that way.”
No. 4 Oklahoma was expected to roll over West Virginia and did just that, 59-31. They are the natural choice to move up to No. 2. But they will need to beat a tough TCU team in the Big 12 Championship game to stay.
Sticking with the easy route, the Committee would then move No. 5 Wisconsin up to No.3 and No. 6 Auburn to No. 4. No one will question Auburn being ahead of Alabama (who would likely fall to No. 5). But does Alabama deserve to fall all the way out of the top four?
Alabama head coach Nick Saban thinks his team still deserves to be in the top four.
“I think this team deserves an opportunity to get in the playoff by what they’ve been able to accomplish and what they’ve been able to do,” he told the media after the loss to Auburn (ESPN). “….I really don’t know what all the scenarios might be where we’d have an opportunity to do it, but I’d certainly like to see this team get an opportunity to do it.”
ESPN has Alabama ranked No. 2 in the strength of record this season. So, it is not hard to see where an argument could be made for them.
Maybe the way to go would be to rank Clemson at No. 1, Oklahoma at No. 2, Auburn at No. 3 (there is no way the Committee can deny a team that has beaten two No. 1 teams), and Alabama at No. 4. Should Wisconsin defeat Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship, then they bump Alabama out and become the No. 4 team.
Of course, the Committee could go another way altogether depending on how it wants to judge all of the factors involved. But this way, Alabama’s overall excellence is still recognized, and Wisconsin is in a position to get in if the Badgers can win one more game.