Clemson, Auburn, Oklahoma, Wisconsin are playoff top 4

Posted November 30, 2017

Alabama (11-1) dropped to number-5.

Rose Bowl (CFP semifinal): No. 3 Oklahoma vs. Auburn: Win and you're in 4.

At this point, Alabama needs chaos on championship Saturday. Georgia: Win and you're in 7.

No. 7 Miami is close to a lock with a win.

In 2016, this Oklahoma team would be in the playoff, no questions asked.

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Even though they'd have the Big 12 championship, it's hard to envision a scenario where a two-loss TCU team gets in over Alabama. While a few things would have to fall just right, the latest Playoff Top 25 seems to indicate that there is still a possibility of two SEC teams making the final four this year.

A two-loss Auburn is two spots ahead of undefeated Wisconsin.

With that established, here's what we'll be talking about after Tuesday's reveal.

Auburn (No. 2) and Georgia (No. 6) will play in the SEC Championship Game this weekend where the victor will likely make the Playoff. The winners of those two games are virtually guaranteed to make up half of this year's playoff.

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Clemson is now No. 1 in all three polls.

Will Clemson or Oklahoma take Alabama's place atop the rankings? The committee does get to decide which teams go where. Following a 24-10 win over the Gamecocks, the Bulldogs stayed at No. 1 and then lost 40-17 to Auburn. They got a lot of flak for it past year, especially after Ohio State got crushed by Clemson.

This debate has stakes, too. Not very many teams are able to do that. The Big 12 championship game could join that group if the selection committee's rankings on Tuesday night elevate TCU into the top 10 as the AP top 25 did this week. Those results leave the final playoff spot as a contest between the Tide and Buckeyes.

The Tigers (9-3) have moved up steadily in the rankings since the loss November 4 at Alabama by beating Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas A&M. Auburn beating Georgia to reach the playoff would boost Bama's case for a No. 4 spot in this scenario.

No. 5 Alabama will sit home and watch this weekend, as will No. 9 Penn State.

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Despite the loss, Miami will have a shot at redemption against No. 1 Clemson (11-1, 7-1) in the ACC Championship game Saturday. They're followed by Oklahoma and Wisconsin as the other two teams would be in if the playoffs began today.

The only thing the other potential two-loss contenders, such as Ohio State, TCU or Southern California, would have on Clemson is a conference title.

"The committee continues to be impressed with how balanced the Tigers are on both sides of the ball and how that's translated into an impressive season-long body of work", said committee chairman Kirby Hocutt of Clemson (11-1), the defending national champion.

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