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College Football Playoff projections: Ohio State moves to top 4; Alabama, Clemson, Michigan stay put

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Urban and the Buckeyes beat Nebraska into oblivion, and should be in the Top Four as a result.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Ohio State Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The College Football Playoff rankings should see a shakeup as the second rankings are released tomorrow. Texas A&M’s loss will equal a change in the Top Four and will help Auburn’s cause - pushing them further up the ladder - while losses by Florida and Nebraska should open the door for Penn State to jump into major bowl consideration. Ohio State helped its cause big-time with a massive win over Nebraska. I was tempted to slot the Huskers in the Cotton Bowl against Western Michigan, but I think that their blowout loss to the Buckeyes will look even worse to the committee given the fact that they were a Top 10 team losing in such a fashion.

New Years’ Six and College Football Playoff Projections

Here are my projections (as always, not necessarily the views/opinions of the GABA staff):

Rose Bowl Game Penn State (B1G) Washington (Pac-12)
Sugar Bowl Oklahoma (Big 12) Auburn (SEC)
Orange Bowl Louisville (ACC) Wisconsin (B1G)
Cotton Bowl Western Michigan (Mid-American; Group of Five AQ) LSU (SEC; at-large selection)
Peach Bowl (Atlanta, GA; CFP semifinal) (1) Alabama (4) Ohio State
Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, AZ; CFP semifinal) (2) Clemson (3) Michigan
CFP National Championship (Tampa, FL) (1) Alabama (3) Michigan

The Top 4

1. Alabama (9-0)
Last week: W #13 LSU 10-0
Remaining schedule: Mississippi State (11/12); Chattanooga (11/19); Auburn (11/26)

Alabama’s going to stay at #1 as long as they keep winning. They take on Mississippi State (who ruined A&M’s playoff chances) next week, follow that up with FCS Chattanooga, and then wrap up with the Iron Bowl at home. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens if both Alabama and Auburn run the table and the Tigers end up beating the Tide in the final game of the regular season (!).

2. Clemson (9-0)
Last week: W Syracuse 54-0
Remaining schedule: Pitt (11/12); at Wake Forest (11/19); South Carolina (11/26)

Deshaun Watson went down with a shoulder injury against Syracuse, but the Tigers were cruising anyway and ended up blowing the Orange out of Memorial Stadium. I feel that the only way Clemson will end up in the #1 spot is if Alabama slips up, and they could even end up surrendering a spot or two to Michigan if the Wolverines end up running the table, but they’ll be safely in the Playoff if they take care of business.

3. Michigan (9-0)
Last week: W Maryland 59-3
Remaining schedule: at Iowa (11/12); Indiana (11/19); at Ohio State (11/26)

The Game is going to be a lot of fun this year, isn’t it? It’s hard to picture the Wolverines losing to Iowa or Indiana, which should set up one of the most important Michigan-Ohio State matchups in some time. Maybe not on the level of 2006, but pretty close.

4. Ohio State (8-1)
Last week: W #10 Nebraska 62-3
Remaining schedule: at Maryland (11/12); at Michigan State (11/19); Michigan (11/26)

Not only did the Buckeyes beat the #10 team in the rankings in the Horseshoe, they absolutely demolished them. And that’s why I have them as the #4 team over Washington after Texas A&M’s loss. Urban Meyer sent a loud and clear message to the rest of the country that his team isn’t to be ignored, and I think the committee will take note.