College Football Playoff 2018: Predicting Final Four After Week 11 RankingsNovember 7, 2018
The second College Football Playoff rankings produced little in terms of surprises.
As expected, Alabama held on to the No. 1 spot after its domination of LSU in Week 10, and the three programs beneath it in the Top 25 were expected to be in their respective positions.
Fresh off its 77-point outburst against Louisville, Clemson slid in behind Alabama at No. 2, while Notre Dame and Michigan took No. 3 and No. 4, respectively.
Although it'll be hard for all four teams to remain in their positions for the next month, they've displayed few flaws, which means we could be talking about potential matchups between the quartet more than chaotic scenarios if one of the four gets upset.
Week 11 Rankings
Final Four Predictions
No. 1 Alabama
If there were any doubters of the Alabama Crimson Tide, they were silenced Saturday, when they walloped LSU on the road under the lights at Tiger Stadium.
Nick Saban's team is starting to enter the discussion of best college football team in history because of the one-sided results its produced.
Alabama's won each of its nine games by double digits, and its smallest margin of victory came in September when it beat Texas A&M by 22 points.
Mississippi State, The Citadel and Auburn come to Bryant-Denny Stadium to finish off Alabama's regular-season schedule, and based on what we've seen so far this season, the Tide won't be slowed down.
The only way Alabama fails to make the playoff is if it drops the SEC Championship Game to Georgia, but even if that occurs, a one-loss Tide might roll into the playoff, but we'll leave that discussion on the side for now.
No. 2 Clemson
Clemson has been as dominant as Alabama in recent weeks, as it made an offensive statement by putting up 77 points on Louisville in Week 10.
The Tigers have scored 240 points in their last four games, but they'll have to make a different type of statement in Week 11.
Clemson can clinch the ACC Atlantic Division title with a win over Boston College Saturday, but the 17th-ranked Eagles will be up for the challenge on home soil.
Although the Eagles are a formidable foe, they might not be able to contain Clemson's offense for four quarters, and that will be the difference in the contest.
Once the Tigers dispatch the Eagles Saturday, they'll have an easy path to the playoff with Duke, South Carolina and the ACC Coastal champion left on the schedule.
No matter which team ends up opposing Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, the Tigers should handle their competition, with the best-possible Coastal champion entering the first week of December with three losses.
No. 3 Notre Dame
The other two playoff participants will earn their respective spots in the Final Four with wins over difficult November opponents.
Notre Dame shouldn't face much of a test from Florida State at home in Week 11, but it will have eyes on a Week 12 showdown with Syracuse, who moved up to No. 13 in Tuesday's rankings.
The neutral-site game at Yankee Stadium will carry more importance than the Fighting Irish thought it would at the start of the season.
A victory over the Orange would hand Notre Dame its fourth victory over a ranked foe, which will be good enough for the playoff committee to respect Brian Kelly's undefeated team and put them in the playoff.
Notre Dame won't face an easy task Thanksgiving weekend at USC, as the Trojans will look to play the role of spoiler to finish off a disappointing season, but the Irish have enough firepower to blow past the Trojans and earn a matchup with Clemson.
No. 4 Michigan
Michigan will be in the Top Four for at least two more weeks, as the Wolverines take on Rutgers and Indiana ahead of the heavyweight battle with Ohio State.
The 10th-ranked Buckeyes pose the toughest challenge for Jim Harbaugh's team, but Ohio State's shown plenty of weaknesses in its victories this season.
Ohio State struggled to finish off Nebraska in Week 10, and it didn't look impressive against Minnesota one week before falling flat in a loss to Purdue.
Of course, the Buckeyes will be up for the occasion of a rivalry game, but based on what we've seen recently, Michigan is the more complete team.
Beating Ohio State would add a fourth quality Big Ten win to Michigan's resume, and the Week 1 loss to Notre Dame looks better with every week.
Just like Clemson, Michigan will face a weaker opponent in its conference championship game, which will allow it to make a dominant statement in its final audition in front of the selection committee.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.