College Football Playoff Rankings: Week 15
This week’s College Football Playoff rankings are the last until the final rankings that determine which four teams will compete for the national championship are revealed next Sunday. With now-No. 12 Alabama bound to miss the playoff for the first time in its history following the loss to Auburn, let’s take a look at why the top four stayed the same this week.
1. Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State impressed yet again with another dominant win over a ranked opponent, the victim this time being rival Michigan. The Buckeyes scored 56 points against a defense that was giving up an average of only 17.8 points per game coming into the matchup. The Buckeyes will face the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten championship, which will be a good matchup for what should be a tuneup game for the College Football Playoff. A strong run attack via Jonathan Taylor against a dominant Ohio State defensive line will be something that the Buckeyes haven’t seen in a while, but another dominant game should keep them at the top of the rankings.
2. LSU Tigers
LSU also dominated last weekend but against a much lesser opponent in Texas A&M. Joe Burrow continued his Heisman chase with 352 yards and three touchdowns on senior day. LSU will play in the most competitive championship game, as the Tigers will face No. 4 Georgia for the SEC crown. Even if the Tigers were to lose, they would most likely remain in the top four due to how strong their résumé is. With four top-10 wins, it would be almost impossible to keep them out, with their only blemish being in a conference championship game. The Tigers seem to be in the top four for good.
3. Clemson Tigers
Clemson finished its regular season with yet another blowout win against a subpar opponent, this time being the 4-8 South Carolina Gamecocks. Trevor Lawrence had himself another great regular season, finishing with 2,870 yards and 30 touchdowns. Although Lawrence fell short of his Heisman-high expectations, the Tigers find themselves in a position to clinch yet another playoff berth. Running back Travis Etienne also set the ACC all-time touchdown rushing record with 53 scores. The ACC championship game against 9-3 Virginia will be the Tigers’ biggest test yet, which will be good for a team entering the playoff with relatively few quality wins on the résumé.
4. Georgia Bulldogs
The Bulldogs stayed in the top four with a win over woeful rival Georgia Tech last weekend. Their playoff hopes are on the line this weekend in the SEC championship. With Georgia already at one loss, another one in the SEC championship game would almost certainly mean the end of the Bulldogs’ playoff hopes. Either Oklahoma or Baylor will have one loss after the Big 12 championship game, and Utah could also potentially be a one-loss Pac-12 champion if the Utes can defeat Oregon. This is a must-win game for Georgia. It will be tough, but if the Bulldogs play their best game of the year, they can give LSU a run for its money.
Outside Looking In:
5. Utah Utes
The Utes will play in the Pac-12 championship against No. 13 Oregon. A win and a Georgia loss should put the Utes in the playoff for the first time, while a Utah loss would keep the Pac-12 out of the playoff once again.
6. Oklahoma Sooners
The Sooners will play No. 7 Baylor in the Big 12 championship on Saturday. It will most likely take a win along with Utah and Georgia losses for the Sooners to make the playoff for the third straight year. Likewise, Baylor would reach the playoff if it can defeat Oklahoma and the above two scenarios also occur.
Danny Murray is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.