College Football Playoff 2014: Final Four Predictions After 6th Top 25 Rankings

R. Cory Smith@@RCorySmithSenior Writer IDecember 3, 2014

LAWRENCE, KS - NOVEMBER 15:  Trevone Boykin #2 of the TCU Horned Frogs drops back for a pass against the Kansas Jayhawks in first quarter at Memorial Stadium on November 15, 2014 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Chaos has ensued, and the College Football Playoff committee responded with a new Top Four in its latest poll.  

Mississippi State's loss in the Egg Bowl dropped it out of the playoff picture and gave an opportunity to several teams. Out of those looking to make the playoff, TCU took the No. 3 spot as Florida State dropped to No. 4.    

While the latest poll reflects a few notable changes, this weekend offers more opportunities for mayhem. All four teams have another game and will look to state their case one more time.

Prior to the massive matchups this weekend, here's a look at the latest playoff committee poll and the projected Top Four at the end of the season.

2014 College Football Playoff Predictions
SugarJan. 1, 2015SemifinalNo. 4 TCU vs. No. 1 Alabama
RoseJan. 1, 2015SemifinalNo. 3 Florida State vs. No. 2 Oregon
R. Cory Smith's Projections


Despite its undefeated record, Florida State's dominance has been questioned all season.

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In the latest edition of "As the Seminoles Turn," FSU somehow overcame four interceptions from Jameis Winston to survive against Florida, 24-19. Over the last four games, Winston has thrown five touchdowns against eight interceptions.

Even with their first-half woes, the Seminoles head into the ACC Championship at 12-0 and looking for a playoff spot. Florida State's defense will have its hands full with Georgia Tech's offense, which comes in at No. 1 in the ACC in scoring (37.2 points per game), total offense (469.1 yards per game) and rushing touchdowns (37).

Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson referenced his high-power offense, per Andrea Adelson of ESPN.com:

There have been so many misperceptions promoted for so long about, well, people catch up to the offense, and it's this, and it's that. …  It's like anything. When people say it long enough, they want it to be true. A broken clock's right twice a day. … We beat Clemson 28-6. You're not going to see any headlines that say, ‘Well, they figured out the hurry-up offense. It's through now. That's the blueprint, they'll never score again.' Now if that's us, you get the, ‘Well, they figured it out, and that's it for that offense.'

In order for the 'Noles to have a chance at the playoff, they will need to stop Justin Thomas on Saturday. It's also worth noting that Georgia Tech leading receiver DeAndre Smelter suffered a torn ACL and will not be part of that explosive offense, per Mike Huguenin of NFL.com.

With the Noles winning, they would have a good chance at jumping TCU again.

Out on the West Coast, Oregon also has a stiff test against Arizona in the Pac-12 Championship. The Wildcats are the only team to have taken down the Ducks this season and have found ways to limit Marcus Mariota and the Oregon offense.

College GameDay points out Arizona's recent success against Oregon:

College GameDay @CollegeGameDay

Oregon's struggles vs Arizona. http://t.co/sp8ioWLz9J

Oregon's recent woes are certainly glaring, but Mariota has been on fire recently with 14 total touchdowns to no interceptions in his last three games. Mariota will lead the Ducks to the playoff with another brilliant performance on Friday—along with a potential Heisman moment.

While there's still a chance that Missouri might also throw a wrench into the playoff, the Crimson Tide are the safest of any team. Mizzou isn't likely to pull off the upset, but Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated still believes 'Bama might get in even with a loss, per Paul Finebaum of ESPN:

Paul Finebaum @finebaum

Alabama would still "sneak" into CFP top 4 with narrow loss to Mizzou, @SIPeteThamel says.

I'm not so sure they get in without a win, but that scenario doesn't seem likely. Regardless of how college football fans feel about the SEC, the Crimson Tide will represent the conference on the national stage.

The final spot for this week went to TCU with a big jump to No. 3, but that fight is nowhere near finished. Baylor faces a difficult Kansas State program while TCU squares off with the lowly Iowa State Cyclones. ESPN Stats & Info provides a look at their resumes heading into the final games:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Both TCU and Baylor have a case for consideration for the College Football Playoff http://t.co/wLwFmDR6e5

TCU will definitively remain ahead of Baylor if it wins and the Bears fall to Kansas State over the weekend. The Horned Frogs should still take the playoff spot over Baylor even if the game is close, hence why they remain on the projected final four.

Meanwhile, Ohio State still has an outside shot at making the playoff field if insanity ensues again on Friday and Saturday. However, there's no doubt J.T. Barrett's season-ending ankle injury will be hot topic throughout the week as it relates to the Buckeyes' chances.  

Any number of scenarios can still unfold, which is why college football is always intriguing—even with just four spots on the line.

Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.


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