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Ann Arbor Miracle, 2 SEC Teams? Grading Your CFB Playoff Scenarios

Adam Kramer@kegsneggsNational College Football Lead WriterNovember 10, 2021

The championship trophy is seen before a news conference for the NCAA college football playoff championship game between Alabama and Clemson Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

In less than a month, the final College Football Playoff rankings will be revealed.

The group of human beings tasked with forming said playoff and enjoying free catering for their efforts will solidify their mini-bracket—putting an end to the speculation with all results in hand.

No matter what they announce or how they announce it, one thing feels certain. 

People will almost certainly disagree. In fact, "disagree" isn't quite strong enough. 

At the moment, the race for the final four is a chaotic mess outside of No. 1 Georgia. For as much football as we've seen, a lot still needs to be determined underneath.

Sure, we could patiently wait for December 5. Or we could use our own crystal balls and predict what the final College Football Playoff rankings will look like well in advance. 

I asked Bleacher Report readers to do just that following Week 10. Things got weird, per usual. Although there were also many productive concepts. 

Here are their proposed final fours, with grades attached.

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The Group of Five Breakthrough 

Jeff Dean/Associated Press

User: @thegodfaubel

Suggestion: Should be Georgia, Oregon, Cincinnati, Ohio State

We start somewhat safe with a reasonable playoff suggestion. We also should begin by addressing the elephant in the room. (Well, we should actually talk about the elephant that is notably absent.)

Alabama is not included in the mix, and I don't necessarily have an issue with that. I'll explain why in a bit.

Specifically, a few things stand out: Cincinnati wiggles its way in, and Oregon plays its way to the No. 2 overall seed. 

Which one of those things is more likely to happen? If I had to guess, I would say Oregon. Although given how sloppy everyone has looked—and that includes the Bearcats—Cincinnati will have a shot if it wins out.

It might be helpful to not barely slip past teams as 20-plus-point favorites, but the Bearcats won't likely fade away unless they lose.

Ohio State at No. 4, notably behind the only team it has been beaten by, also seems reasonable. Being ranked behind Cincinnati is a bit of a different story, however, and I don't see it if the Buckeyes win out. They have not exactly looked unbeatable the past two weeks, although they will continue to rack up wins. 

This suggestion is on the safer side, although that's not necessarily a bad thing. I don't mind the teams; the order just needs some tweaking. 

Feasibility: B

   

SEC Championship Game Encore? 

John Bazemore/Associated Press

User: @buckeyeswag13 

Suggestion: 1. Georgia 2. Oregon 3. Ohio State 4. Alabama

There's Alabama.

Now, let's discuss. 

It seems likely (or at the very least possible) that Alabama and Georgia will meet in the SEC Championship Game. The Bulldogs have already secured their spot; the Crimson Tide need to hold up their end of the bargain. 

If that is the case, how will the selection committee treat these two teams? A lot, of course, depends on the result.

If Alabama wins, the SEC will get two teams in the playoff. Simple as that. I doubt that Alabama would be the No. 4 seed in this instance. I also doubt the committee would want to see that rematch right away between No. 1 and No. 4. 

If Georgia beats Alabama in a close-ish game, could two-loss Alabama still get in?

A week ago, I would have said yes. And I'm not totally punting on the idea now. Alabama's "meh" performance against LSU, however, doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

Much of this would also depend on what happens to Oklahoma, Oregon, Ohio State, Cincinnati and others. But Alabama might need to win out.

This could be a delightfully weird scenario for the committee, and I am here for that. 

Feasibility: C+

   

The 12th Man Has Entered the Chat 

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

User: @booncat

Suggestion: Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M 

Georgia, check.

Ohio State, sure.

Oklahoma, I'll allow it. 

Texas A&M… record scratch.

For starters, the Aggies need to win out. They play Ole Miss on the road on Saturday and then finish with Prairie View A&M and at LSU. A win over the Rebels, who are clearly the biggest regular-season obstacle remaining, would go a long way. 

A&M already has two losses (Mississippi State and Arkansas). As such, the Aggies must get into the SEC Championship Game if they want to make the playoff. That means that Alabama has to lose to either Arkansas or Auburn.

Because Texas A&M beat Nick Saban's team, it owns the tiebreaker. Given how lackluster Alabama just looked, this feels noteworthy.

Texas A&M doesn't control its playoff fate, but it is by no means out of it. 

The other issue we need to discuss is this: A&M would have to beat Georgia if the scenarios above play out. That's another necessary cog. 

At the very least, I would love to see that matchup. The defense in that game would be absurd. 

Certain dominoes need to fall for this to be realized. But I like the ingenuity. I also love chaos, which this would very much create. 

Feasibility: C-

Creativity: A-

    

An Ann Arbor Miracle

Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

User: @clangston1

Suggestion: 1. Georgia 2. Cincinnati 3. Oklahoma 4. Michigan

If you thought Texas A&M was a bold addition, let's talk about Michigan. My compliments to you, @clangston1. This is undoubtedly going to be a hit in the comments.

To be clear, this can absolutely happen. Although the optics sometimes say otherwise, the Wolverines are still 8-1 and comfortably inside the Top 10 of the College Football Playoff rankings.

In fact, if they win out, they're in. This really isn't up for debate. They control their own fate, which is more than almost just about any other team can say. 

The question is…will they? 

Jim Harbaugh's team has a tricky road game at Penn State on Saturday, a road game at Maryland and a home game against Ohio State remaining. (Plus, a potential spot in the Big Ten Championship Game.)

A win against the Buckeyes, of course, has eluded Harbaugh since he returned to Ann Arbor. Playing that game at home helps, although Michigan is still likely to be an underdog in that spot. 

And again, these types of games have not treated this program kindly in recent years. (Understatement.) 

If Michigan is to get in, it likely won't do so as a No. 4. If the Wolverines win out, they could jump to No. 2. If they lose this week (or any week, really), they are probably outside the top four.

Still, it's an aggressive idea—perhaps one from the brain of a Michigan alum—and I kind of love it.

Feasibility: C

Trolling Potential: A

    

Meep, Meep

Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

User @danny_b_27

Suggestion: Georgia, OU, Cincy and UTSA. Let the undefeated teams battle it out

If UTSA makes the playoff, I will do a live stream of myself eating a football. I'll use a fork and knife. I'll bring barbecue sauce. I'll eat the entire thing, and I won't end the live stream until it's done.

Bleacher Report, I will sign the liability waiver to make this happen. Let's talk.

With that said, there is a simple concept here I appreciate. Award the football teams that win football games. Stunning. 

The selection committee seems to really enjoy rewarding "good" losses. It also tends to overlook teams like UTSA, which is unbeaten with only a few games left. 

In this playoff format, the Roadrunners have absolutely no shot at the playoff. Heck, they might not ever crack the Top 15. The schedule is lacking, and I get that. But greatness should still be celebrated, even if it won't be here. 

As for the rest of the teams, it seems very reasonable. Unbeaten teams can still be celebrated; they simply have to play in the right conference.

I love the spirit of this comment. I also celebrate the notion that wins matter.

However…

Feasibility: D-

Boldness: A-

     

The World of UGA

Butch Dill/Associated Press

User: @DawgsOnTop127

Suggestion: 1. Georgia, 2. Georgia's second string 3. Georgia's coaching staff 4. Jordan Davis by himself

Technically, this can't happen. It is against CFP policy to allow four components of a single football program into the postseason. 

Buddy, I don't make the rules. I just relay them. 

However, the state of college football feels something like this. Georgia is far and away the best football team in the country. The defense has allowed 59 points all season—an average of 6.6. points per game. 

While we can debate pretty much every other team mentioned above, there isn't much debate surrounding the Bulldogs right now.

That said, this is illegal. As much as I would like to name Jordan Davis to the playoff by himself, we can't do it. Rules are rules, even if I don't always agree with them.

Feasibility Grade: F-

Creativity Grade: A

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