Take Two: Will Alabama back its way into the CFB Playoff?

Take Two: Will Alabama back its way into the CFB Playoff?

Should the No. 8 Buckeyes beat No. 4 Wisconsin to win the Big Ten title, the committee would have to decide whether their résumé - with a conference title and two losses, including to Iowa - is enough to catapult them ahead of one-loss Alabama.

Auburn and No. 6 Georgia will square off Saturday in the SEC championship game, with the victor assured a spot in the playoff. The Sooners have wins over No. 8 Ohio State, No. 11 TCU and No. 19 Oklahoma State, but the committee has been reluctant to show the Sooners - and their mediocre defense - total respect, clearly preferring Clemson ... and now a two-loss Auburn.

Would Alabama (11-1), or even Wisconsin (12-1 if the Badgers lose Saturday), deserve a spot over the potential two-loss conference champions?

Rounding out the top 10 in this week's College Football Playoff poll are No. 7 Clemson, No. 8 Ohio State, No. 9 Penn State and No. 10 USC.

In 2016, this Oklahoma team would be in the playoff, no questions asked.

All that could change with Auburn and Georgia playing Saturday for the SEC championship and Wisconsin and Ohio State playing Saturday for the Big 10 title. If TCU beats Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game, it's almost unfathomable that the Horned Frogs move all the way up from No. 11.

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The final CFP rankings will be released 11:30 a.m. CT Sunday. The Hurricanes' resume has holes, especially after the loss to Pitt, but if they beat Clemson, they'd have wins over three top-25 teams (Clemson, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech) and an ACC championship. 1 team in a span of three weeks as well as the conference championship. Oklahoma and Wisconsin round out the top four.

The SEC Championship and the ACC Championship games essentially are play-in games. The Pac-12 is not going to get a team in the playoff, and with the Rose Bowl reserved as a semifinal game, the Pac-12 champ has to go somewhere else; the Fiesta Bowl feels like the best fit to me. Wisconsin at No. 4 slightly improves the odds for Ohio State if they take down the Badgers.

If Ohio State and/or TCU win, then the final spot - or spots - gets tricky. Oklahoma has won seven straight and moved up to No. 3. Michigan State (9-3), 17.

"The Selection Committee had questions as to are they as balanced of a team as some others that are ranked just above them, and we analyzed their schedule, have they really been tested on the defensive side of the ball this year, and if so, by who, and based on that conversation, we ranked them in that 14th spot this week", Hocutt said. The Huskies entered last week's Apple Cup ranked 17th, four spots behind rival Washington State, but Washington's decisive 41-14 victory lifted the Huskies to No. 13 and dropped the Cougars to No. 18. The goal for UCF is clear right now, because the victor of the AAC title game against Memphis will secure a New Year's Six bowl spot.

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The next highest-ranked team available is No. 6 Georgia, which makes sense for the nearby Peach Bowl in Atlanta.

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