College Football Playoff projection
College Football Playoff projection (updated 12/4/2016)
The race for the College Football Playoff is on! Who will make the top four and who will be left on the outside looking in? Here's a projection of who will reach the playoff, who is in the thick of the hunt and some long shots.
The top four
Which teams will be the four left standing at season's end?
No. 1 Alabama
Alabama is the undisputed No. 1 team in the country and it's been that way all season.
No. 2 Ohio State
Ohio State doesn't have a conference championship to hang its hat on, but they can certainly make the case that they are "unequivocally" one of the four best teams in the country.
No. 3 Clemson
Wins over Louisville, at Auburn and at Florida State to go with their ACC Championship should be enough to make up for the loss to Pitt.
No. 4 Washington
The fact that Washington was still in the top four of the committee's rankings last week means the Huskies should be in. They did nothing to lose that spot this week with a 31-point win over No. 8 Colorado and a Pac-12 Championship.
In the hunt
What teams can still catch the leaders of the pack?
Penn State is the trickiest team when it comes to evaluating the playoff. They have the head-to-head win over Ohio State, a division crown and a conference championship over what was the best conference in the nation this season. But, they also have two losses and one of them was a blowout. It's hard to leave the Nittany Lions out if Ohio State is in, but at the same time, it's still hard to put them in over any of the other four teams.
When it comes to college football, you should expect the unexpected. You never know exactly what the selection committee is going to do. Who are the teams that could sneak their way into the playoff?
Oklahoma has a few things working against them that will keep them out of the playoff. Having two losses hurts. Having only 12 games because the Big 12 doesn't have a championship game really puts them behind other teams like Washington and Penn State who added a 13th game and a quality win to their resumes in the season finale.
Ranked No. 5 heading into this week, Michigan was already on the outside looking in. Considering three of the four teams in front of them won conference championships and the only team that didn't, Ohio State, has a head-to-head win over the Wolverines. It's hard to imagine any scenario in which Michigan would still be able to sneak into the top four.