Nothing major came about in the new CFP rankings last night, with the top four of #1 Clemson, #2 Alabama, #3 Oklahoma and #4 Iowa all holding serve from the previous week. The Big 10, in addition to Iowa, grabbed spots 5 and 6 with both one-loss Michigan State and Ohio State respectively. Nothing shocking there either, and we know the Hawkeyes or the Spartans will be in the playoffs following their conference championship game this weekend. The Sooners are sitting pretty as well, done playing and having run the gauntlet of Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State to secure their spot among the chosen ones.
But what I did find interesting is that one-loss North Carolina, preparing to face top-ranked Clemson in the ACC Championship Game on Saturday, only made it up the pole to the #10 spot. That keeps a 2-loss Stanford, Notre Dame and Florida State all ahead of them in the rankings. Now Notre Dame and Florida State are done playing and out of the mix in the #8 and #9 spots, but Stanford at #7 still has the Pac 12 Championship Game against #20 USC on Saturday, and one last chance to impress (and build on last weekend’s thrilling win over the Irish).
So what exactly is the Committee telling the Tar Heels, who are preparing to take on the top-ranked Tigers in the ACC Championship Game Saturday night? Don’t put yourselves out too much, cause “ain’t no way you’re getting in” even with a win, a 12-1 record and a Power 5 Conference Championship? Has the Committee already made up their collective minds and there’s no way an “upstart” Carolina will be allowed to crash the party, similar to how both TCU and Baylor were sent packing last year? Or would they have the “huevos” (my apologies to Condoleezza Rice) to jump them a full six spots and over the more traditional football powerhouses?
And what about those Clemson Tigers? If they lose are they done? Remember they too would still be 12-1, and possess a better record than Stanford would have even with a win against the Trojans – although the Tigers would be lacking a conference championship on their resume. Don’t forget Clemson Athletic Director Dan Radakovich is a Committee member, and thusly has a voice in the “room,” something that can’t be underestimated.
Committee Chair Jeff Long, when asked last night about the importance of a conference championship, skated around the issue (as he is known to do), refusing to specifically answer the question. So could Clemson still have a claim to a playoff spot even with a loss, or would losing the last game of the year be the Tigers’ death knell?
And what about those of the scarlet and grey, sitting at home in Columbus watching the Big 10 Championship on the tube? Could the Buckeyes somehow make it back in the picture if the Tigers fall? Or is it Stanford’s and Stanford’s alone to claim if Clemson rolls out a dog of a game against NC?
There is one other possibility of chaos occurring, and that’s if Florida somehow takes down the mighty Saban and his Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game – but guess what? That ain’t happening. So let’s go Tar Heels – I need me some chaos!