The fourth iteration of the 2018 College Football Playoff Committee Rankings have been released and for the third week in a row the top eight are unchanged. Only chaos on the final weekend of the regular season or conference championship upsets stand in the way of us getting anything other than the playoff we’ve expected since week 9. The committee’s thinking is clear. If the top four win out, they’re in the playoff.
There are teams ready to play spoiler and maybe even sneak into the playoff. Key amongst those is Georgia who will have a very strong case for inclusion should they beat Alabama in next weekend’s SEC Championship game. Barring consecutive losses you have to think Alabama has done enough to get in, even if they lose to Georgia. This leaves the committee with a tough decision to make.
Oklahoma is also lying silent, waiting for a slip from any of the top four. The team in the most danger is Michigan who goes into ‘The Shoe’ to face Ohio State this weekend in a rivalry matchup known simply as ‘The Game’. A win for Ohio State gives them a shot at the playoff, they will have a damaging loss to Purdue and an unimpressive close victory over Maryland on their schedule. This explains their number ten ranking. However if they were to win out and Oklahoma was to lose the BIG12 championship game, they’d have a case for the number four spot.
Who Needs What?
A rundown of all the conference championship permutations from Saturday’s games.
With a huge number of permutations still possible, I’ve attempted to clear up how each conference championship game is affected by this weekend’s games. Let’s hope we see some good old fashioned College
American Athletic Conference
Memphis and Houston face off on Friday with the winner advancing to the AAC Championship game against unbeaten UCF. The Knights face rivals USF later on Friday.
Atlantic Coastal Conference
Clemson and Pitt have already been confirmed for Week 14’s conference Championship game. Clemson hosts South Carolina whilst Pitt is at Miami.
The Texas Longhorns are in the conference championship game if they beat Kansas, which they should do with ease on Friday afternoon. Providing the Longhorns take care of business it sets up a play in game between Oklahoma and West Virginia in the early hours of Sunday morning.
‘The Game’, the annual rivalry game between Michigan and Ohio State headlines the Saturday afternoon slot of games and will decide the B10 East winner and opponent of B10 West winner Northwestern in the BIG10 Championship game. The winner of ‘The Game’ is also in pole position for the #4 spot in the final CFB rankings.
If FIU beat Marshall they are in, however if they slip up on Saturday afternoon, Middle Tennessee can sneak into the Championship game if the beat the West champion UAB. This has the potential to get crazy.
Throwing this here because Notre Dame has the chance to complete a perfect season with a win over rivals USC. A win would also all but confirm their playoff place.
Fresno State is already in the Conference Championship game. Boise State and Utah State meet in a play in game in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Saturday Nights ‘Apple Cup’ between Washington and Washington State will decide the PAC-12 North and decide Utah’s opponent in the Championship Game. It holds the last hope for a West Coast playoff team. Washington State needs two big wins to have any shot at the playoff as teams will lose around them.
Like the Grade A student in school, the SEC is already tied up in a neat little bow. It’s Bama vs Georgia next week for the SEC championship. Just the small matter of two interstate rivalries this weekend first.
Appalachian State faces a Troy side who are unbeaten in conference play for the chance to play in the Sun Belt title game. However, in Group B of this conference three teams have 4-3 conference records. Here are the permutations; Louisiana Monroe and Louisiana Lafayette face off, starting 60 minutes before the other 4-3 team Arkansas State faces North Texas. Therefore, if Arkansas State loses, the winner of UL-Monroe and UL-Lafayette goes to the Conference Championship. However, if Arkansas State wins, they will need UL-Monroe to also win if they hope to qualify. A win for UL-Lafayette sees them qualify. You keep being you Sun Belt!
Guest contributor Alex Chinery @iamalexchinery
Picture Credit – CFB Playoff.