We are hours away from the final College Football Playoff rankings. Before the final rankings are unveiled by the CFP committee, I predict where the top 25 teams land.
The sixth and final CFP top 25 reveals happens on Sunday, Dec. 4 on ESPN (here's the full schedule). Ahead of the announcement, here's a prediction of how the committee could rank its top 25 teams. Note that these are my predictions and mine alone. I take a look at head-to-head results, schedule strength, games against ranked teams and more to help rank the teams how I think the CFP committee will do so. You can read the CFP committee's official protocols here.
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College Football Playoff rankings predictions: The final top 25 projections
These predictions are as of 9:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec 3. The following has been assumed: Michigan wins the Big Ten, Clemson wins the ACC.
- Georgia (13-0) | Prev: 1 — After dominating the SEC Championship, Georgia takes the top spot in the playoff.
- Michigan (13-0) | Prev: 2 — Michigan finishes the season undefeated and stays put at No. 2.
- Ohio State (11-1) | Prev: 5 — Ohio State gets back into the top four after ending the season with only one loss. The Buckeyes surpass TCU because it lost to a higher ranked team. We've seen the playoff committee set up semifinal rematches before.
- TCU (12-1) | Prev: 3 — TCU remains in the top four despite losing the Big 12 Championship game. The Horned Frogs only have one loss and their strength of schedule gets them the final spot.
- Southern California (11-2) | Prev: 4 — A second loss knocks USC out of the playoff. Even though the Trojans lost in a championship game, it was to a repeat opponent.
- Alabama (10-2) | Prev: 6 — Alabama stays put at No. 6. The Crimson Tide didn't play last week and have 10 wins to USC's 11. A two-loss team has never made the College Football Playoff. It won't this year.
- Tennessee (10-2) | Prev: 7 — Tennessee remains tied to Alabama's hip thanks to a head-to-head win.
- Clemson (11-2) | Prev: 9 — I could see Clemson making an argument for fifth or even sixth as a conference champion. However, the CFP committee won't rank the Tigers that high after losses to Notre Dame and South Carolina.
- Kansas State (10-3) | Prev: 10 — The Big 12 champions rise one spot after taking down a College Football Playoff team in overtime.
- Utah (10-3) | Prev: 11 — Utah enters the top 10 after winning the Pac-12 title.
- Penn State (10-2) | Prev: 8 — Penn State gets knocked behind three conference champions and will have to wait until after bowl season to get back into the top 10.
- Washington (10-2) | Prev: 12 — Washington stays put after not playing in Week 14.
- Florida State (9-3) | Prev: 13 — Florida State stays put after not playing in Week 14.
- Tulane (11-2) | Prev: 18 — Tulane rises four spots after winning the AAC championship.
- Oregon State (9-3) | Prev: 15 — Oregon State stays put after not playing in Week 14.
- Oregon (9-3) | Prev: 16 — Oregon now has a win over the Pac-12 Champions, but they stay put because they didn't play last week.
- LSU (9-4) | Prev: 14 — After a loss in the SEC Championship, LSU drops three spots.
- UCLA (9-3) | Prev: 17 — Tulane's rise bumps down UCLA one spot. The Bruins stay behind LSU because they lost two of their final three games
- South Carolina (8-4) | Prev: 19 — South Carolina stays put after not playing in Week 14.
- Texas (8-4) | Prev: 20 — Texas stays put after not playing in Week 14.
- Notre Dame (8-4 | Prev: 21 — Notre Dame stays put after not playing in Week 14.
- Mississippi State (8-4) | Prev: 24 — Mississippi State had off last week, but rises two spots after losses from North Carolina and UCF.
- UTSA (11-2) | Prev: NR — UTSA finally enters the CFP top 25 after winning the Conference USA championship and finishing 11-2. While it would be nice for UTSA and Troy — also 11-2 — to get in the final rankings, the committee hasn't looked highly at either team enough all season for both to be ranked here.
- UCF (9-4) | Prev: 22 — After losing the AAC Championship game, UCF drops three spots in the rankings. However, a championship loss is not enough to knock the Knights out of the top 25.
- NC State (8-4) | Prev: 25 — NC State takes the final top 25 spot thanks to a head-to-head win over North Carolina.
Dropped out: North Carolina (23)
Notable College Football Playoff rankings questions
Does TCU fall out?
TCU lost its first game of the season to Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship game. The Horned Frogs only have one loss and there are only four teams with one or fewer losses remaining in the FBS. Will that be enough for TCU to get in? Or will a team like Alabama knock the Horned Frogs out of the playoff field?
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Does Ohio State get in over Southern California?
Ohio State is ranked fifth ahead of the final rankings. Southern California is ranked fourth ahead of the final rankings. The Buckeyes did not play for their conference championship game, but only have one loss this season. The Trojans lost their conference championship game, marking their second loss to Utah.
Will USC be penalized for playing and losing in their conference championship game, allowing Ohio State to rise above them? We'll find out Sunday.
Does Alabama still have a shot?
Alabama was ranked sixth in last week's CFP rankings. The Crimson Tide sit two spots outside of the playoff field but behind No. 5 Ohio State. While neither the Buckeyes or Tide played this weekend, the CFP committee left the door open for Alabama's playoff hopes with his remarks saying, "That's not necessarily the case" when asked about Ohio State remaining in front of Alabama.
Nothing has changed from last week to this week with the fifth and sixth-ranked teams but anything could happen come selections.