Well, this was tough as I thought it would be. I had my mind made up as to how this would look on Saturday night when the games were done. After sleeping on it, and some thought, it changed, as I figured it would. I still may have made a mess of it, so let me know.
Here you go. Here's my College Football Playoff Top Four and New Year's Six projections.
The Top Four
1. Clemson Tigers (9-0)
They got stretched by a strong Florida State team but were able to pull it out to wrap up the ACC Atlantic Division. Fortunately for them, they travel to Syracuse, meet Wake Forest at home and end with South Carolina at home two days after Thanksgiving. Tigers will be 12-0 headed on their way to Charlotte, but might North Carolina (who can clinch the Coastal with a win over Miami (Fla.) next week) be the spoiler in the ACC Championship after they and their better-than-we-thought offense hung 66 on Duke?
2. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-1)
Impressive win over LSU. This team's pretty good, and there's no reason to think why they won't run the table and end up topping Florida in the SEC Championship in Atlanta. Still have to slot them slightly below Clemson, but just barely.
3. Ohio State Buckeyes (9-0)
The Bucks might have flirted with disaster late before putting the nail in the coffin en route to a 28-14 win over Minnesota, but they still get the job done. At the same time, since Alabama and Clemson picked up quality wins over better opponents, I keep OSU where they are.
4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-1)
Time for the Irish to be in the mix. They might get a chance to move up a tick if they win their next three (vs. Wake Forest, @ Boston College, @ Stanford), especially if Stanford is still above water. They're here over Oklahoma State, but just barely.
First Two Out
Oklahoma State (9-0): The Cowboys (#14 last week) jump with a big, big win over TCU. Next three: Iowa State, Baylor, Oklahoma. The door's still wide open for Oklahoma State to get in and make a jump.
Baylor (8-0): Only one Big 12 team will get in if anyone gets in. Right now the Cowboys have the edge thanks to the much bigger win over the Frogs. That's obviously subject to change.
Next Two Out
LSU (7-1): Up until this article was written, I had LSU at #4, but at the last moment had to drop them down a couple of pegs to #7.
Iowa (9-0): Have to move them up a tad after the shakeup below them.
Keep an eye on...
Stanford (8-1): Two winnable games against Oregon and Cal coming up before a huge showdown at The Farm against the Irish and a possible appearance in the Pac-12 Championship looming. No way Florida stays ahead of them after their sluggish performance against Vanderbilt.
New Years' Six and College Football Playoff Projections
|Rose Bowl Game||Stanford (Pac-12 #1)||Iowa (next-highest B1G team due to Ohio State in CFP)|
|Allstate Sugar Bowl||Oklahoma State (Big 12 #1)||LSU (next-highest SEC team due to Alabama in CFP)|
|Capital One Orange Bowl||(1) Clemson||(4) Notre Dame|
|Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic||(2) Alabama||(3) Ohio State|
|Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl||Florida (at-large)||Baylor (at-large)|
|Vizio Fiesta Bowl||Memphis (Group of Five #1)||Utah (at-large)|
|2016 College Football Playoff National Championship||(1) Clemson||(3) Ohio State|