The College Football Playoff (CFP) will issue only two more complete rankings before it announces the four semifinal teams during Selection Day on December 4.
The current all-important top four reads Alabama (10-0), Ohio State (9-1), Michigan (9-1), and Clemson (9-1). Louisville (9-1), Washington (9-1), Wisconsin (8-2), Penn State (8-2), Oklahoma (8-2), and Colorado (8-2) complete the top 10.
Nick Saban’s team is even money at online gambling sportsbook Bovada. Ohio State is second at +250, followed by Louisville (+750), Michigan (+1000), Clemson (+1000), and Wisconsin (+2000).
In Las Vegas, the Westgate SuperBook has Alabama at 5/7, then Ohio State (2/1), Louisville (6/1), Clemson (12/1), Wisconsin (15/1), and Michigan at (20/1).
With just 17 days to go, there’s a host of marquee questions left to be answered. Fortunately, the gridiron will help find the answers over the next three Saturdays.
What is known is that Alabama (10-0) remains the clear favorite to win the NCAA football title and defend its National Championship. Aside from the Crimson Tide continuing to roll, the rest of the College Football Playoff remains in a state of uncertainty.
Big Ten Showdown
This weekend, the top four teams all have relatively mundane games against unranked opponents.
Alabama plays Chattanooga, Ohio State takes on Michigan State, Michigan plays Indiana, and Clemson travels to Wake Forest. All four are favored by at least 22.5 points. Barring any colossal upset, the CFP rankings aren’t expected to change heading into the final regular season weekend.
The reason why Westgate has Michigan with such long odds is that they end their regular season at Ohio State in Columbus. If Ohio State wins, the Big Ten Championship game on December 3 would likely be contested between Wisconsin and Penn State. That could clear the way for Ohio State to grab one of the College Football Playoff semifinal spots.
Alabama & Everyone Else
After Alabama’s cakewalk this weekend against Chattanooga, the Tide welcomes #15 Auburn to Tuscaloosa in what should be another relatively easy win. If the Tide is victorious over its final two games, Alabama would play #23 Florida in the SEC Championship.
As of now, it’s somewhat inconceivable to see Alabama not being in the CFP semifinals. The three other slots, however, will be decided next Saturday and on December 3 during conference championships.
If Wisconsin or Penn State wins out, they’ll likely grab one of the spots. The same goes for ACC’s Clemson.
The question then becomes, is a one-loss Ohio State team who didn’t win the Big Ten worthy of a spot over a one-loss Washington team that wins the Pac-12? Of course, if Michigan beats the Buckeyes and Wisconsin, the issue resolves itself.
With so many possibilities and more than a dozen chances at yet another upset in 2016, the College Football Playoff is coming down to an exciting regular season finish. The semifinals kickoff on December 31, and the National Championship will be played in Tampa, Florida, on January 9.