Rivalry weekend did not disappoint in the world of college football, providing fans, pundits and the College Football Playoff committee alike plenty to think about heading into conference championship games.
Of the four teams ranked in the last Playoff top four, two were defeated in upset losses.
On the day after Thanksgiving, Pitt was anything but thankful to be matched up with No. 2 Miami, handing the No. 2 Hurricanes a 24-14 loss. The day after, Auburn matched up with No. 1 Alabama in the Iron Bowl and kept its hot streak alive, upsetting the Crimson Tide, 26-14, in route to an SEC title game matchup with Georgia.
Those were two huge upsets to the two top teams in last weekend’s Playoff rankings, and ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit believes both games will have huge ramifications. In fact, he kept Alabama, Wisconsin, and Miami out of his newly released Playoff top four, but he doesn’t seem to think these rankings will be final.
Alabama will still have a shot, as will currently undefeated Wisconsin, per Herbstreit.
Here’s what he had to say:
“Don’t get bent out of shape if you’re at five, or you’re at six or you’re at seven. If you’re playing in your championship game and you win — unless you’re Ohio State, you might need some help — I’m talking about these other teams that think they should be in the top four. If you find yourself out of the four, don’t worry.
Miami if you win, you’re going to be in. Wisconsin if you win, you’re going to be in. Auburn and Georgia, somebody is going to lose that game and be out. So, things are going to happen in that top four, so everybody can relax just a little bit.”
Herbstreit is correct in his analysis that championship weekend is really going to rock the boat in terms of Playoff rankings.
In the SEC, Auburn looks like it could be a Playoff team but a loss to Georgia would give the Tigers three losses, thus they’d be out. For the Bulldogs, a loss to the Tigers would give them two losses, both to Auburn, which would likely kill their Playoff bid.
The Big Ten championship game will feature No. 9 Ohio State with two losses and undefeated Wisconsin, with both teams having a tremendous claim to the Playoff depending on how that game in Indianapolis shakes out. Miami or Clemson is sure to come out of the ACC as one-loss conference champions and in the Big 12, Oklahoma seems like a lock to make the Playoff if the Sooners can beat TCU.
That’s not even mentioning one-loss Alabama or the Pac-12 with USC and Washington, though of those three teams mentioned only Alabama has a solid shot at getting a Playoff berth.
Either way, there are plenty of ways the College Football Playoff could shake out, so don’t hold your breath, because this is about to get crazy.