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Wayne Staats | | December 19, 2018

College Football Playoff: Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma in top four

Alabama vs. Oklahoma: Who has the edge?

The final College Football Playoff rankings of the season were revealed on Sunday, Dec. 2.

Here are the final CFP Top 25 rankings:

1 Alabama 13-0 1
2 Clemson 13-0 2
3 Notre Dame 12-0 3
4 Oklahoma 12-1 5
5 Georgia 11-2 4
6 Ohio State 12-1 6
7 Michigan 10-2 7
8 UCF 12-0 8
9 Washington 10-3 11
10 Florida 9-3 9
11 LSU 9-3 10
12 Penn State 9-3 12
13 Washington State 10-2 13
14 Kentucky 9-3 15
15 Texas 9-4 14
16 West Virginia 8-3 16
17 Utah 9-4 17
18 Mississippi State 8-4 18
19 Texas A&M 8-4 19
20 Syracuse 9-3 20
21 Fresno State 11-2 25
22 Northwestern 8-5 21
23 Missouri 8-4 24
24 Iowa State 8-4 23
25 Boise State 10-3 22

The semifinals for the College Football Playoff are set for Dec. 29. Alabama will take on Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. Clemson and Notre Dame will face off in the Cotton Bowl. 

Here are the other New Year’s Six bowls:

Peach Bowl: Florida vs. Michigan (Dec. 29)

Fiesta Bowl: LSU vs. UCF (Jan. 1)

Rose Bowl: Washington vs. Ohio State (Jan. 1)

Sugar Bowl: Texas vs. Georgia (Jan. 1)

Below, you can see how we projected the Top 25 CFP rankings could look on selection day.

Clemson vs. Notre Dame: Which undefeated squad moves on?

College Football Playoff rankings predictions: Final Top 25

Here is how we project the rankings will look on Sunday in the final rankings of the season, along with bowl projections. Teams in bold played this weekend.

  1. Alabama (13-0): 'Bama is CFP bound again as Jalen Hurts came in for the injured Tua Tagovailoa and led the comeback.
  2. Clemson (13-0): It was an easy win for the Tigers against overmatched Pitt, 42-10. Clemson is going back to the CFP.
  3. Notre Dame (12-0): The Irish can relax knowing they have a Playoff spot clinched.
  4. Oklahoma (12-1): The Sooners avenged their only loss by beating rival Texas 39-27 for the Big 12 championship. QB Kyler Murray had another huge game, passing for 379 yards and three touchdowns.
  5. Ohio State (12-1): I think the committee could easily slot Georgia here, but Ohio State's huge win against Michigan and then against Northwestern are just enough.
  6. Georgia (11-2): The Bulldogs led Alabama for most of the game but instead got their second loss of the season. Could a two-loss, non-conference champion still rank ahead of one-loss conference champions?
  7. Michigan (10-2): The Wolverines will have to settle for a New Year's Six game after the blowout loss to rival Ohio State.
  8. UCF (12-0): Without QB McKenzie Milton and faced with a 17-point deficit, the Knights could have folded against Memphis. Instead, UCF is playing in a New Year's Six game again with a 56-41 win. What an accomplishment.
  9. Florida (9-3): The Gators are likely safe to remain in the top 10 for a New Year's Six appearance.
  10. LSU (9-3): The Tigers' tough seven-overtime loss shouldn't keep LSU from a New Year's Six game.
  11. Washington (10-3): The Huskies are going to the Rose Bowl after the 10-3 win against Utah.
  12. Penn State (9-3): Penn State might be on the outside looking in at a possible Peach or Fiesta Bowl appearance.
  13. Washington State (10-2): The Cougars might be knocked out of a New Year's Six game after that loss to Washington.
  14. Kentucky (9-3): A memorable season for Kentucky means a bowl win could have it move close to the top 10.
  15. West Virginia (8-3): Consecutive defeats have the regular season ending on a sour note.
  16. Texas (9-4): The Longhorns couldn't double-dip and beat the Sooners again.
  17. Mississippi State (8-4): A dominant defensive front will lead the Bulldogs into a solid bowl.
  18. Texas A&M (8-4): Thanks to that wild win against LSU, the Aggies can get win No. 9 against what should be a strong team in a bowl.
  19. Syracuse (9-3): The Orange regrouped nicely after losing big to Notre Dame.
  20. Utah (9-4): The Utes fell a touchdown short of their Rose Bowl dream.
  21. Iowa State (8-4): Whew. The Cyclones survived against FCS Drake, winning 27-24.
  22. Fresno State (11-2): After losing a close road game on the Blue Turf a few weeks ago, the Bulldogs returned to Boise and come out with a conference title.
  23. Missouri (8-4): The committee clearly respects the SEC by having the Tigers here. Mizzou isn't ranked in either the AP or Coaches Polls.
  24. Northwestern (8-5): The Wildcats battled for most of the game, but they couldn't keep pace with the potent Ohio State offense.
  25. Boise State (10-3): Stanford could show up here instead, as the Broncos fell to Fresno State in overtime in a rare home loss, 19-16.

MORE: College Football Playoff selection show time, TV channel

College Football Playoff rankings predictions: Semifinals

Here's what we think the CFP will be come Sunday:

  • No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Oklahoma
  • No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Notre Dame

In this situation, we think Oklahoma will jump current No. 4 Georgia. The Bulldogs led top-ranked Alabama for most of the game, but the CFP has yet to put in a two-loss team into the semifinals. It'll be close, but Oklahoma is the pick.

MORE: Current College Football Playoff rankings

Because the Sooners avenged their lone defeat to Texas by beating the Longhorns, it would also be difficult for the committee to have Ohio State jump ahead of Oklahoma. As the current No. 5 to Ohio State's No. 6, the Sooners have the huge edge, especially because Ohio State's most impressive performance wasn't enough: 63-39 romp of then-No. 4 Michigan. If the committee didn't rank the Buckeyes ahead of the Sooners after that, when could it ever?

College Football Playoff rankings predictions: New Year's Six games

With most attention focused on Alabama-Georgia, Oklahoma-Texas and Ohio State-Northwestern for CFP purposes, UCF pulled out a thrilling win of its own.

Undefeated UCF, ranked No. 8, beat Memphis with star quarterback McKenzie Milton. The Knights trailed by 17 points but rallied for the 56-41 win. Because of that comeback, UCF will return to a New Year's Six game. If UCF lost, the Boise State-Fresno State winner would have jumped in.

MORE: Bowl projections for CFP, New Year's Six, entire bowl schedule

  • Peach Bowl: Florida vs. Michigan
  • Fiesta Bowl: LSU vs. UCF
  • Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Washington
  • Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs. Texas
  • Orange Bowl: Alabama vs. Oklahoma
  • Cotton Bowl: Clemson vs. Notre Dame

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