College Football Playoff Rankings 2022: Official Committee Poll for Final Week

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 4, 2022

ATLANTA, GA  DECEMBER 03:  Georgia head coach Kirby Smart and players celebrate after winning the SEC Championship football game between the LSU Tigers and the Georgia Bulldogs on December 3rd, 2022 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA.  (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

And then there were four.

Despite some contrived Alabama discussion and Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban making seemingly desperate lobbying appearances on any network that would have him Saturday, there was little doubt who the four College Football Playoff teams would be when the selection committee made its announcement Sunday.

The only real drama was whether TCU would be the No. 3 seed or whether Ohio State would move up and set up a rematch with archrival Michigan.

Here is how it all shook out:

  1. Georgia
  2. Michigan
  3. TCU
  4. Ohio State
  5. Alabama
  6. Tennessee 
  7. Clemson
  8. Utah
  9. Kansas State
  10. USC
  11. Penn State
  12. Washington
  13. Florida State
  14. Oregon State
  15. Oregon
  16. Tulane
  17. LSU
  18. UCLA
  19. South Carolina
  20. Texas
  21. Notre Dame
  22. Mississippi State
  23. NC State
  24. Troy
  25. UTSA

It was all so straightforward heading into conference championship weekend.

Georgia, by virtue of going undefeated in the daunting SEC, and Michigan, with the most impressive win of the season over Ohio State on the road and a victory over Penn State to go with it, were locks regardless of the outcome in their respective conference title games.

TCU was fairly close to lock status considering it had already defeated Kansas State, its Big 12 Championship Game opponent. And USC was a win over Utah away from securing the fourth and final spot.

Utah had other plans.

The Utes not only ended USC's Pac-12 title hopes Friday, but they destroyed any real argument for the Trojans to make the four-team playoff with a dominant 47-24 win.

While USC quarterback and potential Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams was dealing with an injury, Utah dominated at the line of scrimmage. The Trojans defense also seemed to have no interest in actually tackling someone, which was a problem that haunted the unit at times all season.

USC's loss was Ohio State's gain, as the Buckeyes were No. 5 in the penultimate CFP poll and hoping for some chaos to gain an entry.

There is something to be said about Ohio State benefiting from not playing on conference championship weekend, but all 11 of its wins came by double digits, its only loss was to the No. 2 Wolverines, and a road win over No. 11 Penn State stands out compared to the resumes of USC and Alabama.

The drama wasn't done, though, as TCU lost a heartbreaker to Kansas State in overtime with the Big 12 title on the line. If there was a silver lining for the Horned Frogs, it was the fact the game came down to the final snap.

A blowout loss may have opened the door for more convincing politicking from Alabama, but the Crimson Tide have an extra loss compared to every contender and did not stack a number of impressive wins together.

Their best win was likely by one point over a four-loss Texas team that was without quarterback Quinn Ewers for most of the game. TCU also defeated the same Longhorns by seven in a game Ewers played from start to finish.

Alabama's loss to LSU also looked worse as the season progressed, as the Tigers fell to 5-7 Texas A&M and were completely dominated by Georgia on Saturday. Tennessee, which also defeated Bama, didn't help either by giving up 63 points in a loss to South Carolina on Nov. 19.

An argument can be made that Alabama's two losses came down to the final play, but it barely snuck past Texas, Texas A&M and Ole Miss in three of its wins. It could just as easily be 8-4 or even 7-5 as much as 12-0 if a few plays unfolded differently.

Now the arguments and lobbying are over, and attention turns to the actual games with the biggest question being will anyone challenge the reigning champion Bulldogs as they look to hold on to their crown.