Rivalry week separates contenders from pretenders


By JD McKay

This weekend we saw one and two lose for the first time since 2012. Alabama lost at Auburn in the Iron Bowl, and Miami lost to Pitt, who was a 12-point underdog. Clemson and Oklahoma proved why they are ranked in the top four with big wins over rivals.

We learned that Auburn is legit. Two weeks ago Auburn took on Georgia, who was ranked first at the time, at home and won by 23 points. Then on Saturday, Auburn played Alabama at home and won by 12 points. I expect Auburn to be ranked third Tuesday, and if they beat Georgia again in the SEC Championship they should head into the playoff ranked and be number one.

The ACC championship game will determine another playoff team. While Miami’s loss to Pitt looked bad, they thumped Notre Dame and Virginia Tech. Plus, beating Clemson adds one more solid win to an already good schedule. Clemson is already in the top four, so a win for Clemson guarantees a spot in the playoff.

Oklahoma has dominated every team except Iowa State, and this week’s game against TCU will be no exception. Oklahoma will be the two seed if Auburn loses or the three seed if Auburn wins.

The real drama comes up for the fourth seed. I believe the deciding factor will be a combination of the Big Ten, SEC, ACC, and Big 12 Conference championships. If Wisconsin wins the Big Ten they will be in as the fourth seed.

The image looks murkier if Wisconsin loses, though. Wisconsin already had a weak schedule, so losing to Ohio State makes them look like an average team that got through the regular season because of a weak schedule. That puts Wisconsin out. Wisconsin out makes room for Georgia, Alabama, Miami, or Ohio State. That spot probably would go to Alabama. However, if Georgia plays Auburn close or wins, they would be in. Miami could get in with a close game against Clemson, and Ohio State would be Big Ten champions. The Playoff Committee likes confrence champions. However, losing to Iowa by 31 points probably won’t be overlooked by the selectors. If Oklahoma somehow loses, then the Big 12’s spot will be open for another of those four teams.

Top 8 and how to get in:

  1. Clemson: Beat Miami in the ACC Championship
  2. Auburn: Beat Georgia in the SEC Championship
  3. Oklahoma: Beat TCU in the Big 12 Championship
  4. Wisconsin: Beat Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship
  5. Alabama: Wisconsin loses to Ohio State, and/or Oklahoma losses to TCU, and/or Auburn loses to Georgia
  6. Georgia: Beat Auburn in the SEC Championship and hope the Committee likes their resume over Alabama’s
  7. Miami: Beat Clemson in the ACC Championship and Oklahoma loses, Wisconsin loses, and Auburn beats Georgia
  8. Ohio State: Beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship and hope the Committee overlooks their loss to Iowa

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