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College Football Playoff 2019: Predicting Final 4 Teams Post-Week 14 Rankings

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 27, 2019

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields plays against Penn State during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

The alterations to the Week 14 College Football Playoff rankings may reflect what decisions the selection committee makes over the next two weeks. 

Ohio State's shift from No. 2 to No. 1 could suggest it is viewed as the better team than LSU, and two more quality victories may reinforce its top spot. 

If the top three programs win out, Alabama and Utah will be the main contenders for No. 4. 

After Oregon and Penn State lost in Week 13, the Utes shifted up to No. 6, one spot behind Alabama, which will play one fewer game than the Pac-12 side. 

At No. 7, Oklahoma is still in the conversation, but it needs to be more impressive and have some help before Selection Sunday.

              

College Football Playoff Predictions

Peach Bowl (December 28): No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Utah

Fiesta Bowl (December 28): No. 2 LSU vs. No. 3 Clemson 

Ohio State is the only program that can match the resume that LSU possesses. 

In the eyes of the committee, the Buckeyes have already done enough to leapfrog the Tigers through their victories over Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan State. 

It is worth noting Ryan Day's side won each of its games by double digits, while Ed Orgeron's Tigers beat Alabama, Auburn and Texas by one possession. 

It is a slight difference, but it may be one of the many factors that play into the decision for the No. 1 seed. 

If Ohio State wins out, it would also hold victories over No. 13 Michigan and either No. 8 Minnesota or No. 12 Wisconsin.

Double-digit triumphs by Justin Fields, Chase Young and Co. could solidify their top position, which would come with the choice of hosting their semifinal site. 

If Utah wins the Pac-12 Championship Game and qualifies for the playoff, Ohio State would be wise to choose the Peach Bowl in Atlanta to avoid a mass of Utah fans travelling a short distance to the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Arizona.

LSU's probability of finishing No. 1 has not dwindled because it has the best opponent left on its schedule.

The Tigers face No. 4 Georgia in the SEC Championship Game and a commanding performance from the Joe Burrow-led offense could sway the committee in their favor. 

The final score at Mercedes-Benz Stadium has a chance to be lopsided since LSU's offense is much more explosive than Georgia's. The SEC West champion has put up 114 points in the last two weeks, while Georgia posted 112 points in its last five contests. 

Georgia's defense could slow down Burrow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and JaMarr Chase for stretches, but so far, no team has been able to contain the Tigers for four quarters. 

A loss to LSU would push Georgia out of the playoff conversation with two losses, opening the door for Utah, Alabama or Oklahoma to slide in.

As long as Clemson avoids an upset to South Carolina or the ACC Coastal winner, it will land at No. 3 due to its weaker resume. Dabo Swinney's side has scored at least 45 points in the last six games, and just like LSU's offense, Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne and Tee Higgins have not been contained for 60 minutes yet. 

Alabama has one final chance to impress the selection committee Saturday at Auburn. 

If the Crimson Tide produce an uninspiring performance in what would go down as their best quality win, the committee could look to the two teams behind them. The eye-test judgment also has to be adjusted since Alabama is playing with Mac Jones, not Tua Tagovailoa, at quarterback. 

If Nick Saban's team struggles while Utah continues to dominate its Pac-12 schedule, the decision might be easy.

The Utes have allowed six touchdowns in the last six weeks, and their offense, led by Tyler Huntley and Zack Moss, eclipsed the 30-point mark in the previous four contests. 

Oregon's loss to Arizona State on Saturday will weigh down Utah's resume a bit since the Ducks dropped to No. 14, but Kyle Whittingham's team would still have a better win than Alabama since Auburn sits at No. 15. 

Utah would also have an extra game on a national stage to impress the committee, which may value a conference championship in the discussion for the No. 4 seed. 

Oklahoma still has a chance to make the final four, but beating Oklahoma State and Baylor for the second time may not be enough to push it ahead of two teams. The Sooners' ideal situation features losses by Alabama and Utah to clear the path to No. 4 if Georgia falls to LSU.

Of course, all of this gets thrown out if Georgia upsets LSU, which would then open debate to place the SEC division winners in the playoff. 

But based off how both teams are performing, LSU should win, leaving three teams to fight for the final playoff spot.

                   

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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