Defending champ Clemson atop CFP rankings, followed by Auburn, Oklahoma, Wisconsin

Defending champ Clemson atop CFP rankings, followed by Auburn, Oklahoma, Wisconsin

The Crimson Tide (11-1) fell to No. 5 after suffering their first loss of the season.

The ACC and SEC are the only two games that appear to guarantee the champion will be going to the playoff regardless of the outcome. Alabama football needs an Oklahoma loss to make the field if Wisconsin wins.

The problem with the committee dropping Alabama football to No. 6 is it would indicate a pre-formed final opinion.

Wisconsin's schedule is actually a case worse than Alabama's, with zero Power Five nonconference wins and a Power Five set of victims who have gone 50-58, but the Badgers are expected to ride their distinction as the lone unbeaten into the magic four of the penultimate playoff rankings.

Georgia then dropped to No. 7, which is where it was until this week. Miami: Win and you're in 8.

In 2016, this Oklahoma team would be in the playoff, no questions asked. No one else seems to have a realistic chance.

It is likely Miami would jump into the top four by beating No. 1 Clemson and winning the ACC and same goes for Georgia if it can win a rematch against Auburn.

At No. 2, Auburn makes its debut in the top four after knocking off its second top-ranked team of the season.

No. 11 Southern California (minus 4) vs. But that is largely based on Ohio State having two double-digit losses including one at home to the probable Big 12 champion and a blowout loss on the road against Iowa.

With that established, here's what we'll be talking about after Tuesday's reveal. U-M (8-4, 5-4 Big Ten) will learn its bowl game fate on Sunday. Could two make it?

Kelvin Kuo  USA TODAY Sports
Kelvin Kuo USA TODAY Sports

Clemson is now No. 1 in all three polls.

In this less likely scenario, it does not matter if Clemson or Oklahoma is No. 1. Not only did the Tigers have a compelling stash of wins already, but they added to it last weekend with their 34-10 nonconference blasting of SC, which had debuted in the rankings last week at No. 24. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Ohio State football, recruiting, basketball and more.

This debate has stakes, too.

We're getting into some very tall weeds that probably won't have to be whacked, but that's why we watch this silly sport. Those results leave the final playoff spot as a contest between the Tide and Buckeyes.

The Badgers opened at No. 9, moved up to No. 8 in Week 2, moved up to No. 5 in Week 3, stayed at No. 5 in Week 4 and moved up this week thanks to losses by then-No. The Tigers are viewed as a more complete team than Oklahoma, they beat Auburn and the committee has partially excused the loss to Syracuse because of the injury to QB Kelly Bryant. A Tigers loss in the SEC title game makes things more hard, but doesn't automatically knock Alabama out of the running. Miami (10-1) slipped after taking its first loss of the season last week from No. 2 to seventh, just ahead of Ohio State (10-2) at eighth.

"I think this team deserves the opportunity to get in the playoff by what they've been able to accomplish and what they've been able to do", Saban said postgame.

The basic theme of this weekend's conference championship games?

One of those teams is not like the others in a potentially significant way.

The educated guess here is the committee would go with the Tide, not unlike its choice of the one-loss Buckeyes last season when Penn State beat Wisconsin for the Big Ten title.

The wild card is Ohio State.

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