There’s just one week left of action of Selection Sunday, by now it seems that three of the four college playoff spots have been settled. Although it is not official, Alabama (-150), Ohio State (+260) and Clemson (+600) have seemingly booked their way to the final four. The run to fill up the fourth spot is on, sports bettors have started to make their predictions on the NCAAF playoffs’ fourth spot. Let’s go through each one of them.
Alabama remains atop the final College Football Playoff rankings prior to championship weekend, but they weren’t without a shakeup, as a new team positioned itself to take part in the CFP. It is truly hitting its stride during a season it has owned since an opening decimation of USC, and that will land it the top seed in the playoff.
The 2016 season hasn’t been a cakewalk for Clemson, as it lost to Pittsburgh and scored tight wins over Auburn, Louisville and Florida State, but it has put itself in position to seize the No. 2 spot in the CFP rankings. It actually sits at No. 3 this week, but since Ohio State is idle, it seems likely that the Tigers would leapfrog them with a win over Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game.
That would put Clemson in position for a potential national-championship-game rematch with Alabama, provided both teams manage to win their semifinal contests.
It presents an interesting dilemma for the CFP committee. Although it is a one-loss team from college football’s best conference, it will not play for the Big Ten championship due to a loss to Penn State.
That could conceivably convince the committee to put the winner of Penn State versus Wisconsin in ahead of the Buckeyes, but that is a tough sell considering OSU has beaten Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Michigan.
Though anything can happen, it appears that the remainder of the field is competing for just one open spot, but who has the best chance of sneaking into the playoffs?
Michigan fell out of the top four by virtue of its loss to Ohio State, which elevated Washington (+1000) into the No. 4 spot. It may have the inside track if the Huskies win the Pac-12 championship against Colorado. They would end the regular season with one loss, against a ranked USC team, and would be conference champions.
It is fair to wonder how good Washington really is and whether it has a legitimate chance to beat Alabama in the College Football Playoff, but if the Huskies beat Colorado to win the Pac-12 championship, keeping them out of the CFP will be a tough sell.
One final thought to remember: in the two years of the college playoff format, there have never been two teams from one conference in the final four. If that trend holds true and the three teams most assume are in the playoffs are correct, it may be worth getting in on a Big 12 or Pac-12 team for the NCAAF playoffs’ fourth spot. Sign up at Heritagesports.eu