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College Football Playoff projections: Playoff picture still remains murky

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USA TODAY Sports

College Football Playoff projections: Playoff picture still remains murky

With only one week remaining in the season, there remains little clarity in the race for the College Football Playoff.

It seems reasonably safe to assume that Alabama and Clemson will both be in with a win in their conference championship games. Ohio State is most likely in, but you can’t be sure because they will not be playing for the Big Ten championship. Let’s not forget, TCU fell from No. 3 to No. 6 after championship week because of their “shared” title with Baylor.

Do I think it Ohio State will drop out of the top four? No, but there is at least some precedent that shows it could happen.

SEE THIS WEEK’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PROJECTIONS

And what happens with the Big Ten winner? That’s the biggest question mark heading into the final week.

In the previous rankings, Wisconsin was ranked No. 5. A win over Penn State will give them a top ten win and a championship over what has clearly been the best conference in the nation this season. The same goes for Penn State, except the Nittany Lions will also have a win over Ohio State. I’m not sure how the committee could leave them out at this point if they beat the Badgers.

But what about Washington? Coming into rivalry week, the Huskies were ranked No. 4. Will their strength of schedule bump them out of the final four in the final rankings? And is there any hope for Oklahoma?

Find out where all the teams stand and what’s at stake in the final week of the season here in this week’s College Football Playoff projections.

NCAA president Mark Emmert says fall championships can't happen at this time

NCAA president Mark Emmert says fall championships can't happen at this time

While conferences and schools across the nation are withdrawing from the 2020 fall sports season due to the coronavirus pandemic, others remain adamant that games and seasons can be played.

However, for those who are planning on having a fall campaign, their hopes of competing for a championship could still be derailed. According to NCAA president Mark Emmert, all Division I sports besides football --- which operates on the bowl schedule -- are in jeopardy of losing a title season due to the lack of teams involved.

“We cannot, now at this point, have fall NCAA Championships because there’s not enough schools participating," Emmert said during the NCAA Social Series on Thursday. "The Board of Governors also said, ‘look if you don’t have half the schools playing the sport you can’t have a legitimate championship.’”

Emmert noted that the fall can still be beneficial to universities as programs can put all their focus into safety protocols and maintaining the health of players. Additionally, players can still remain on campus and prepare for the spring season.

As for actual competition in the coming months, Emmert has begun to look ahead to 2021 with the hope that teams have the opportunity to compete when the spring comes around. Specifically, he wants to make sure that winter and spring sports -- who already lost a season in 2020 -- are not forced to suffer through the same fate again.

In order to do that, he's considering numerous altercations to sports such as modified bubbles and smaller brackets for postseason play. The procedures will become clearer in the coming months as more questions about the virus and its impact are answered.

For now, Emmert is optimistic that the NCAA has the capability to bring sports back in a safe way. But to do so, a lot of work still needs to be done.

“There’s a way to do it. Will it be normal? Of course not, you’ll be playing fall sports in the spring. Will it create other challenges? Of course. But is it doable? Yeah, it is doable and we want to do that," Emmert said. "We want to, again, make it work for these students.”

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Report: Big 12 planning to play football this fall

Report: Big 12 planning to play football this fall

Despite growing momentum to cancel the fall football season, the Big 12 reportedly is moving forward with their plans to play.

ESPN reporter Sam Khan Jr. reported on Wednesday morning that the Big 12's board of directors met for over an hour yesterday to discuss the fallout of decisions made to postpone the fall season from conferences like the Big Ten and Pac-12. 

Following days of speculation the Big Ten would cancel fall sports, the conference officially pulled the plug Tuesday citing concerns of the myriad of complications that come along with playing a season during a pandemic. 

The Big 12, however, is leading the charge in trying to set up safe way to play the fall season. ESPN reported there will be revised conference-only schedules coming out shortly after the season was again pushed back to Sept. 26. Stadium reported the Big 12 may have more news. 

The decision also comes on the back of growing support from athletes to find a solution in making sure this season gets played. The face of college football, Trevor Lawrence, has repeatedly tweeted his stance that going forward with a season will actually be safer for the athletes

Whether or not more Power 5 sides like the SEC and ACC follow suit remains to be seen, but it is widely speculated that these football-crazed conferences are determined to find a way. 

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