College Football Playoff 2018: Final Four Predictions After 5th Top-25 Rankings

Elizabeth FinnyContributor INovember 28, 2018

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) escapes pressure from Auburn defensive lineman Marlon Davidson (3) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

Rivalry week saw triumphs and upsets alike and made for some exciting college football. Top teams destroyed their lower ranked opponents, higher-ranked teams were upset, and then-No. 7 LSU and then-No. 22 Texas A&M went to seven overtimes, resulting in a 74-72 Aggie win. 

As could be predicted, No. 1 Alabama destroyed Auburn 52-21, all but guaranteeing its return to the College Football Playoffs. Clemson similarly beat South Carolina to keep its No. 2 ranking. The last of the undefeated teams, Notre Dame, had a closer 24-17 win over USC but nonetheless came away with its last win of the season to most likely secure a Final Four spot. 

However, fourth-ranked Michigan did not fair as well as the other top teams this week, falling 39-62 to then-No. 10 Ohio State. It is too late in the season to fall to a lower-ranked opponent and still have a shot at the playoffs, so Michigan tumbled to No. 7.

With only a handful of teams playing one more game before bowls and the playoff, this week's rankings are more important than ever. Here's a look at the Week 14 College Football Playoff Rankings and predictions for the Final Four.


College Football Playoff Rankings

1. Alabama (12-0)

2. Clemson (12-0)

3. Notre Dame (12-0)

4. Georgia (11-1)

5. Oklahoma (11-1)

6. Ohio State (11-1)

7. Michigan (10-2)

8. UCF (11-0)

9. Florida (9-3)

10. LSU (9-3)

11. Washington (9-3)

12. Penn State (9-3)

13. Washington State (10-2)

14. Texas (9-3)

15. Kentucky (9-3)

16. West Virginia (9-3)

17. Utah (9-3)

18. Mississippi State (8-4)

19. Texas A&M (8-4)

20. Syracuse (9-3)

21. Northwestern (8-4)

22. Boise State (10-2)

23. Iowa State (7-4) 

24. Missouri (8-4)

25. Fresno State (10-2)


CFP Final Four Predictions

ESPN @espn

Week 14 #CFBPlayoff Rankings: 1. Alabama 2. Clemson 3. Notre Dame 4. Georgia 5. Oklahoma 6. Ohio State https://t.co/CR5gdlvUjl

There seems to be only one spot up for grabs in the College Football Playoffs, and the Alabama vs. Georgia game on Dec. 1 is the deciding factor. 

No. 1 Alabama will take on No. 4 Georgia on Saturday afternoon in a matchup that will heavily influence the Final Four this year. Alabama's powerhouse offense has not shown any signs of slowing down, and despite Georgia being a worthy opponent, it's hard to see Tua Tagovailoa—a top Heisman trophy prospect—faltering now. 

The sophomore quarterback threw a career-high five touchdowns in the Crimson Tide's win over dominant win over Auburn, adding a rushing touchdown on top of that. The Hawaii native boasts a 70.3 percent completion average and has only thrown two interceptions on the season. Paired with running backs Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs, who have seven and nine touchdowns, respectively, Alabama seems poised to take the championship again this year.

Georgia has shown offensive prowess as well, beating ranked Florida and Kentucky easily earlier in the season. That being said, the Bulldogs' one loss on the season came to a then-No.13 LSU team, the same team that Alabama held scoreless when it was ranked No. 3. 

However, in the case of a Georgia win, it seems likely that both Georgia and Alabama would make the Final Four. A game that results in a Georgia win would be down to the wire, and Alabama has done more than enough this season to basically guarantee itself a spot in CFP once again. So, with a win or a loss on Saturday, Alabama makes it to the Final Four.

On the other hand, Georgia would need a win against Alabama to make it to the Final Four. That's because one of the teams the Bulldogs are competing with for a spot in the Final Four—No. 6 Ohio State—is coming off an upset over then-No. 4 Michigan. The Buckeyes also have notable wins over ranked opponents and have an 11-1 record like Georgia.

Ohio State will be playing No. 21 Northwestern on Saturday night and should handle the Wildcats easily. If quarterback Dwayne Haskins can keep hold of the ball and not throw any interceptions, he should be able to pick apart a Northwestern defense that has struggled to keep opponents from scoring this season. 

No. 5 Oklahoma is also coming off an incredible 59-56 win over then-No. 13 West Virginia in Week 13, and will be matching up against No. 14 Texas in Week 14. If the Sooners are able to beat the Longhorns, they may be able to secure themselves a CFP spot. However, Texas has kept up with the same teams as Oklahoma, only losing by one point to West Virginia and losing by three to Ohio State. After losing to Texas 48-45 in Week 7, Oklahoma may not be able to pull off the win they need. 

Notre Dame is done for the regular season, all but guaranteeing the team their spot in the Final Four. And Clemson should make quick work of a surprising, yet inconsistent Pittsburgh team who cracked the top-25 this year. 

While there are a few Week 14 games that could change the playoff picture, look for the committee to go with Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Ohio State, making the tough decision to leave out Oklahoma.

Where to Watch: College football games and related coverage are available through fuboTV.