Winners And Losers From Week 7 In College Football Include Georgia, LSU And Iowa

With just the conference championship games left, it seems like we are realistically down to six teams that can make the College Football Playoff with two others way outside the cut line that would only be considered if there is a total meltdown of historic proportions.

We’re at the point where only Georgia is safely in, with two teams that control their destiny in Alabama and Michigan. The third tier of teams includes Oklahoma State and Cincinnati, which must win their conference championship games and root for Georgia to beat Alabama. That’s by far the most likely composition of the four-team playoff.

But what happens if Iowa beats Michigan, Houston beats Cincinnati and Baylor beats Oklahoma State? In that case, one of those open spots would likely go to Notre Dame, whose work is already done at 11-1. That would leave the committee to choose between several two-loss teams for the final two spots. Could Ohio State sneak back in, or would Michigan get in anyway because of the head-to-head victory last week? Would Baylor jump back up into the mix? Would defending champion Alabama be the default team for the final spot?

That’s probably the only intrigue left in this deal, but if the favorites win Saturday it seems we’re going to get a final four with three teams that have never been to the playoff before and Georgia, which has only been once. That’s an exciting proposition for an event that has seen a lot of the same programs make it over and over again.

Here are the winners and losers from this week’s final CFP rankings before the decisions are made for real Sunday.

WINNERS

Georgia

Georgia Bulldogs running back Kenny McIntosh (6) runs past Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive back Miles Brooks (20) to score a touchdown during the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Georgia Bulldogs running back Kenny McIntosh (6) runs past Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive back Miles Brooks (20) to score a touchdown during the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

The Bulldogs’ work is (mostly) done. After finishing off a 12-0 regular season, they are going to be in the playoff regardless of what happens in the SEC championship game. Of course, Georgia has plenty of incentive to go ahead and win the game. First and foremost, Georgia can deliver the final knockout blow to Alabama and not have to worry about facing the Crimson Tide again. But there’s also a lot of value for Georgia in making sure it gets the No. 1 seed and the preference of semifinal locations. If Oklahoma State or even Baylor is No. 4, Georgia would want to play in the Orange Bowl. If it’s Cincinnati or Notre Dame, Dallas might be the preference. That may seem like a small thing, but Georgia wants to maximize every advantage it can as it pursues its first national title since 1980.

Michigan

After the Wolverines’ breakthrough win over Ohio State, they simply replaced the Buckeyes at No. 2 this week. That means Michigan is probably going to be wearing the home uniforms in a semifinal game if it takes care of business this weekend in Indianapolis. Few could have seen this coming a year ago when it looked like Jim Harbaugh’s tenure was spiraling toward a disappointing conclusion, but this is the reality of the situation: They’re going to be favored in their next two games, and winning both would put them in the national championship game.

Ole Miss

After beating Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl, the 10-2 Rebels looked like a lock for a New Year’s Six game. That was confirmed when the committee ranked them No. 8, and with no chance of moving up or down more than a spot or two based on this week’s results, they’re for sure going to be above the cut line for either the Fiesta, Sugar or Peach bowls. That’s a heck of a year for coach Lane Kiffin and quarterback Matt Corral — arguably the best in the modern history of the program.

LOSERS

Alabama

The Crimson Tide remains at No. 3, but it feels like their window to actually make the playoff is getting narrower. When they debuted in the rankings at No. 2, the conventional wisdom was that Alabama could still make it with two losses if the SEC championship game against Georgia was close. But Alabama’s position seems even more tenuous than that after another shaky performance in last week’s 24-22 four-overtime win over Auburn. It’s hard to imagine that Alabama, no matter how competitive the SEC championship game is, would stay ahead of unbeaten Cincinnati after a second loss. Plus, Oklahoma State at No. 5 has upward mobility, too, if it beats No. 9 Baylor in the Big 12 title game. Alabama has already gotten some benefit of the doubt by staying at No. 3, but it’s increasingly clear that beating Georgia is probably its only path to get in.

Notre Dame

Brian Kelly’s departure for LSU is a huge wrinkle for the committee to sort through should the Irish come back into play. The more immediate problem for Notre Dame is that its body of work is complete at 11-1 while being stuck at No. 6. The only way the Irish can move up is if teams ahead of them lose, so they’ll have to root for Oklahoma State and Cincinnati to implode and for Georgia to take care of Alabama. If that happens, then the committee will have to discuss whether Kelly being gone diminishes Notre Dame’s chances and whether someone like No. 7 Ohio State would be a better semifinal team.

Baylor

The Bears have a chance to win the Big 12 title, but it’s probably a bridge too far to get them in the playoff even in the most chaotic scenarios Saturday. Had the committee ranked them as high as No. 7 or No. 8 this week, they might have had a chance of sneaking into the conversation. Instead, the committee moved Baylor down a spot after a closer-than-it-should-have-been 27-24 win over Texas Tech. If Baylor beats Oklahoma State, the Bears will leapfrog Ole Miss and probably Ohio State, but that might be as far as they get. On the flip side, if they lose convincingly, they could end up falling a bit — and potentially out of the New Year’s Six conversation altogether.

Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Dan Wolken on Twitter @DanWolken

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College Football Playoff winners and losers: Michigan jumps in the mix

Source : https://sports.yahoo.com/college-football-playoff-rankings-winners-013731331.html?fr=sychp_catchall

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