Alabama's chances of making the playoff seem bleak at the moment, but crazier things have happened in college football.
Clemson is No. 1, followed by Auburn, Oklahoma and Wisconsin in the last College Football Playoff rankings before the semifinals are set by the selection committee on Sunday. A TCU win over Oklahoma likely would be enough for the Crimson Tide to slide back in. The Hurricanes last won a national title in the 2001 season. But if the Sooners win, it's better to have Ohio State win the Big Ten championship and dare the committee to leap them from No. 8 to No. 4. If Georgia downs Auburn in the SEC championship, would the Bulldogs jump over Alabama? Head-to-head results and conference championships come into play when resumes are relatively even, and, in that case, resumes would be relatively even. TCU would also be 11-2 with a split against the Sooners and a Big 12 championship.
Again, there's one team in the top seven that doesn't play: No. 5 Alabama. The Crimson Tide's resume has no wins against teams now in the top 15 and it is done playing, but the Buckeyes have two losses by double digits, including a 31-point blowout at Iowa.
"Losing to Auburn, as bitter as that is for Alabama fans, is not fatal when looking at the playoff picture". Alabama should root for Wisconsin to win if TCU beats Oklahoma earlier in the day.
Ohio State and Wisconsin met in the 2014 Big Ten Championship, a 59-0 win for the Buckeyes.
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The Tigers (11-1) are coming off a 34-10 win over rival SC.
The College Football Playoff picture for this year is starting to take shape, but what would the rankings look like if the BCS was still in place? They got a lot of flak for it a year ago, especially after Ohio State got crushed by Clemson.
Alabama only has one loss and ended up playing a slightly tougher schedule in a better conference. The other Orange Bowl spot goes to the highest-ranked team from the Southeastern Conference or Big Ten not in the playoff. A win over Stanford would give USC two wins over the Cardinal.
The only way Alabama could get in over Ohio State, because it's not going to on paper, is if the committee just said - the coaches in the room looked around and said, "I wouldn't want to play them".
Clemson (11-1), the defending national champion, moves up to No. 1 in this week's rankings.
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No. 2 Oklahoma (minus 7) vs.
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The Orange Bowl matches the top non-playoff team from the ACC against the top non-playoff team from the Big Ten, SEC and Notre Dame. That said, if one of those teams does slip up, then the Crimson Tide will be sitting in that No. 5 spot in the rankings waiting to stake their claim to move up into the Top 4.
Penn State appears to be safely in the New Year's Six at No. 9.
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