College Football Playoff 2021: Predicting Final Four Teams Post-Week 14 Rankings

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 1, 2021

College Football Playoff 2021: Predicting Final Four Teams Post-Week 14 Rankings

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    Four games will decide the College Football Playoff field Saturday. 

    The Georgia Bulldogs, Alabama Crimson Tide, Michigan Wolverines and Cincinnati Bearcats all face win-and-in situations in their respective conference championship games. 

    The Oklahoma State Cowboys can boost their resume with a win over the Baylor Bears. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are the only Top Six team from Tuesday's College Football Playoff rankings to not be in action Saturday. 

    Oklahoma State has the most to gain from its conference title game. If Alabama loses to Georgia, the fourth playoff spot will open up. 

    The Cowboys would have back-to-back Top 10 wins and a conference title to hold over Notre Dame when the selection committee evaluates the two teams after the games end. 

    If all the favored teams win as expected, the committee's decision will come down to Notre Dame and Oklahoma State. 

No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 4 Oklahoma State

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    Georgia has the simplest scenario in front of it. 

    The top-ranked Bulldogs need to beat Alabama in the SEC Championship Game to secure the No. 1 seed in the playoff. 

    Georgia rolled through its 12 regular-season opponents and it would not be a surprise to anyone if it beat Alabama by double figures. 

    Alabama had trouble moving the ball against the Auburn Tigers defense in the Iron Bowl. It did not score a touchdown until late in the fourth quarter. 

    Georgia has routinely held opponents to single-digit point totals. It has the potential to do the same to Alabama. An Alabama loss likely drops it out of the top four as a two-loss team. 

    Oklahoma State has an easier situation on its docket than it did a week ago since it moved up to No. 5 over Notre Dame. 

    The Cowboys have moved up throughout the Top 10 in the last few weeks. They put themselves in position to qualify for the playoff with a Bedlam victory over the Oklahoma Sooners. 

    If Mike Gundy's team beats Baylor, it will have five victories over ranked teams compared to one from Notre Dame. 

    Those victories combined with a conference championship should be enough to place the Cowboys inside the Top Four. 

    Notre Dame's lone loss is to Cincinnati, but it does not have a significant victory to boast since the Wisconsin Badgers are not playing in the Big Ten Championship Game. 

    The Fighting Irish's resume would have received a boost if the Badgers captured the Big Ten West title had they beat the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday. 

    If Georgia faces Oklahoma State, it would produce a battle of two Top 10 defenses in the country. Oklahoma State held four straight opponents under 20 points before its Bedlam win. 

No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 Cincinnati

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    Michigan vaulted to No. 2 after its victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes. 

    The Wolverines need to beat the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Championship Game to qualify for the playoff. 

    Michigan was as consistent as Ohio State was for most of the regular season, but it did not receive as much attention as the Buckeyes prior to Saturday's win.

    Jim Harbaugh's team is in line to earn its first-ever playoff berth, and it can earn that spot through a dominant interior game. 

    The Wolverines controlled the line of scrimmage against Ohio State, and if they do the same against Iowa, the Big Ten title will remain in the East Division. 

    Cincinnati has to feel as comfortable as it can right now at No. 4. The Bearcats must defeat the Houston Cougars in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game and then hope for Alabama to lose to Georgia. 

    If that happens, Cincinnati should move up from No. 4 to No. 3 and become the first Group of Five team to qualify for the playoff. 

    An Alabama win complicates the situation for the Bearcats because both the Crimson Tide and Georgia would likely get into the playoff. The committee would then be forced to choose between Cincinnati and a Power Five champion in Oklahoma State. 

    Luke Fickell and his staff will not have to worry about that if Georgia plays the same dominant style of defense that led it to a 12-0 regular-season mark.