Playoff top 4 might not stay as is


Clemson took over the No. 1 spot in the rankings released on Tuesday.

The next two teams are No. 5 Alabama (11-1) and No. 6 Georgia (11-1).

Those games appear to be win-and-you're-in situations.

Looks like it, especially if Auburn wins the SEC, but it likely will require a loss by either Wisconsin or Oklahoma. Auburn: Win and you're in 4.

Jonathan Taylor #23 and A.J. Taylor #4 of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrate a touchdown against the Minnesota Golden Gophers by Taylor during the fourth quarter of the game on November 25, 2017 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Alabama: Needs a little help while it watches from home this week 6. Miami dropped to No. 7 in the rankings after said loss, and it's not scripture that they would leapfrog the Tide.

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

It is likely Miami would jump into the top four by beating No. 1 Clemson and winning the ACC and same goes for Georgia if it can win a rematch against Auburn.

A loss to Auburn in the SEC Championship would prevent the Bulldogs from reaching the playoff. Southern California (10-2), 11.

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

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UCF, a victor over in-state rival USF in a high-scoring thriller Saturday, is the highest-ranked Group of 5 school and sits at No. 14 with designs on a New Year's Day bowl game. The winners of those two games are virtually guaranteed to make up half of this year's playoff. Alabama also will sit out conference championship weekend for the first time since 2013.

Clemson climbed to No. 1.

This debate has stakes, too. Quarterback J.T. Barrett, center Billy Price and left tackle Jamarco Jones were first-team selections from both the coaches and media.

Clemson would go to New Orleans because, as the No. 1 team, it would get the most favorable geographic position.

Are there solid arguments for why the Tide should make the final Playoff field? Clemson faces Miami in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship; Auburn and Georgia play for the Southeastern Conference title; Wisconsin faces Ohio State for the Big Ten title; and Oklahoma faces No. 11 TCU for the Big 12 title. The victor will nearly assuredly clinch a spot in the playoff, while the loser will likely be left out.

The Badgers opened at No. 9, moved up to No. 8 in Week 2, moved up to No. 5 in Week 3, stayed at No. 5 in Week 4 and moved up this week thanks to losses by then-No. That could give the Tigers a trump card on Alabama, which just lost to Auburn. Alabama easily has the best loss compared to Miami and Ohio State. The next best result for the Tide would be a Wisconsin loss to Ohio State.

"I think this team deserves the opportunity to get in the playoff by what they've been able to accomplish and what they've been able to do", Saban said postgame. The two teams meet in the AAC championship game, with the victor likely playing in the Peach Bowl.

At No. 9, Penn State is probably the highest-ranked team that is without any possible path into the CFP top four. Last year, Clemson was never No. 1 in the CFP Poll, then defeated No. 1 Alabama in the National Championship game.

But what if Ohio State wins?