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College Football Playoff Poll Watch: The Scenarios are Set


Last night, the College Football Playoff Selection Committee released its final rankings before Championship Weekend. The rankings seemingly played off of this weekend's matchups, and have set the stage for a handful of scenarios to decide which four teams will get the chance to play for a national championship. Eight and only eight teams have a shot to get into the College Football Playoff. Here is how it works out:

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The winner of Miami and Clemson is in

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Clemson
College Football Top 25 Rankings: Miami

Both teams have only one loss. A Clemson win keeps them at No. 1. A Miami win lifts the Hurricanes from the No. 7 spot into the top 4, replacing the Tigers. 

The winner of Auburn and Georgia is in

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Georgia
College Football Top 25 Rankings: Auburn

An Auburn win keeps the Tigers at No. 2. A Georgia win lifts the Bulldogs from the No. 6 spot into the Top 4, replacing Auburn.

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If Wisconsin wins, the Badgers are in

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Wisconsin

Say what you will about strength of schedule, the fact remains that the Badgers would be the last remaining unbeaten Power 5 team. There's no way the committee leaves out an undefeated Power 5 champion.

If Oklahoma wins, the Sooners are in

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Oklahoma

The Sooners would — at the very least — maintain their No. 3 ranking with a win. The committee won't allow an idle Alabama to jump a one-loss conference champion.

If Oklahoma or Wisconsin lose, Alabama gets in

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Alabama

The committee strategically placed the Crimson Tide at No. 5 just so they could easily slide them up one spot if the Sooners or Badgers lose.

If Oklahoma and Wisconsin lose, Ohio State gets in

Ohio State won't jump Alabama in this scenario, but the Buckeyes would certainly jump Wisconsin due to having just beaten the previously undefeated Badgers for the Big Ten title. You would also see the committee drop every team that lost its conference title game below the Buckeyes.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Ohio State

And let's not forget UCF

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The Knights will square off with Memphis in a top-20 showdown for the AAC title. Based on how the rest of the teams above them are ranked and the games those teams are playing in, there's a real good chance that we wind up with an unbeaten top-10 team on the outside looking in. That would be awkward. If an unbeaten team is good enough for the top 10, why aren't they good enough for the top four? You'll have to ask the committee.

— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He also covers the Big Ten for Black Heart Gold Pants, Iowa's SB Nation blog. His work has appeared on,, Yahoo! and Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.