It happened. It actually happened. No one thought it was even a possibility, but here we are: Alabama will not be in the SEC conference championship. After starting the season 11-0, they had to face a red-hot Auburn team at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn. Two weeks prior, the Tigers had beaten the #1 Georgia Bulldogs 40-17 to end Georgia’s brief time on top of the rankings. This moved Alabama to the #1 spot and Auburn proved that they wanted to play spoiler once more. Alabama made crucial mistakes down the stretch, including bad snaps and penalties. The weak offense led by Jalen Hurts couldn’t get past the tough Auburn defense and Auburn was able to win 26-14 to end Alabama’s reign at #1.
Chaos has broken out in the College Football Playoff Rankings. Usually, it is decently obvious what the committee is thinking, but most people have no idea what the rankings could look like when they come out tomorrow night. Clemson is the favorite to be the new #1 and they will have to face Miami in the ACC championship this Saturday. Miami was ranked #2 in the last CFP poll, but will most likely drop several spots after losing to an unranked Pitt team that will not even be eligible for a bowl. Whoever wins this game will have a great chance of earning one of the four spots for the playoffs.
Oklahoma could lock up a position for the playoffs with a win over TCU this weekend in the Big 12 championship game. Oklahoma has been unstoppable since being upset at home by an unranked Iowa State team. Baker Mayfield has been playing out of this world and into being a Heisman finalist. Oklahoma beat this TCU team a few weeks ago 38-20. If Oklahoma loses this game, the Big 12 will most likely not have a team in the playoffs, but if Oklahoma wins, they will be guaranteed a playoff spot.
The Big 10 championship has massive playoff implications as well. Wisconsin and UCF are the only two undefeated teams remaining in the FBS. Wisconsin will have to face their toughest test of the season this week against Ohio State who has looked dominant since their shocking loss to an unranked Iowa team. If Wisconsin wins to remain undefeated, they will be playing in the CFP in several weeks. However, if Ohio State wins, the entire playoff rankings will be thrown into chaos once again. The committee has always loved Ohio State, but a head-to-head loss to Oklahoma and the loss to Iowa might ruin their chances. In my opinion, the Buckeyes will need a 2014-esque 59-0 blowout of the Badgers to earn a spot in the playoffs.
The SEC will definitely have one team in the playoffs, but is also in great position to have two teams. The winner of Auburn-Georgia will no doubt be in the Top 4 come Sunday, but we can’t forget about Alabama. Although they only have 1 loss, the question is whether their weak schedule is good enough to earn a spot. Their win against Florida State looks very unimpressive now as Florida State will finish their season 5-6 and not in a bowl game. They played Mercer, Fresno State, and Colorado State in their other non-conference games. Their other games included Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Tennessee, LSU (who lost to Troy), and Mississippi State. Most of these teams have fired or lost their coaches due to terrible seasons and Alabama obviously cruised through this weak schedule. The one time they had to face a top-10 team, they got dominated. This lack of a quality win could be the only thing stopping Alabama from reaching their 4th straight playoffs.
This Saturday is my favorite day of college football of the year because it’s conference championship week. Playoff hopes for several teams hang in the balance as they need to win in order to be a playoff hopeful. A week from today, I will break down the playoff matchups, but until then have fun watching some of the greatest college football you will see all year.