The College Football Playoff Committee has made pretty clear how they feel about teams like BYU and Cincinnati so far, placing them behind the two one-loss SEC schools. So factoring that in, here’s where we think things will stand tomorrow night on ESPN when the second round of rankings from the College Football Playoff Selection Committee are released on Tuesday, December 1.
1 Alabama 8-0: Won vs. #22 Auburn 42-13
Did the most you could realistically expect against their Iron Bowl rival. They’re a lock for the #1 seed.
2 Notre Dame 9-0: Won at #17 UNC 31-17
It got wonky for a bit and it wasn’t decisive until the end and it was tied at halftime, but pulling away from a ranked conference opponent on the road is likely enough to not lose any ground here for an undefeated team with a win over Clemson already.
3 Clemson 7-1: Won vs. Pitt 52-17
Not just an evisceration, but also showed that Trevor Lawrence is back and fine: He was 26/37 for 403 yards and two touchdown passes. Because injuries are a factor, Lawrence showing he’s healthy and in-form can only help the Tigers.
4 Ohio State 4-0: Game @ Illinois canceled
Now it gets tricky. How do you rate an Ohio State team with only four data points this late in the season? The Buckeyes were 28-point favorites against the Fighting Illini before it was scrubbed,
The pollsters didn’t penalize Ohio State here, as both the AP and the Coaches had them ranked fourth even after the cancelation. Will the smaller committee flag them here?
The Aggies have done things the same way all season, with excellent defense and just grinding it out with a slower tempo to win games. It would be hard to drop them lower than here via performance, especially because they own a head-to-head win over #6 Florida, but they might not have done enough against a bad LSU team to move into the Final Four either.
6 Florida 7-1: Won vs. Kentucky 34-10
Another somewhat as-expected performance. It was 14-10 at halftime, but the Gators separated themselves as the better team, answering some questions about their defense by pitching a shutout in the second half.
So with all of that above, here’s our projections for the College Football Playoff Committee for December 1st:
#2 Notre Dame
#4 Ohio State
#5 Texas A&M
Same as it ever was. Though you can make an argument for flipping #5 Texas A&M with #4 Ohio State, we don’t think the committee has the guts honestly. But unless Ohio State can play both of their last games against Michigan State and Michigan, they won’t be eligible for the Big Ten Championship. And winning the B1G will be a necessity for the Buckeyes if they’re looking to get into the 2020 College Football Playoff.