The current College Football Playoff top four won't change should this scenario unfold:
Alabama beats Florida in the SEC championship game. Clemson beats Notre Dame in a rematch to win the ACC. Ohio State beats Northwestern for the Big Ten championship.
In this scenario, No. 1 Alabama would meet No. 4 Notre Dame in one national semifinal and No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Ohio State in the other.
The Crimson Tide and Buckeyes are heavy favorites Saturday, especially after the Gators' epic letdown in last weekend's 37-34 loss to LSU. It's the ACC championship that has the chance to create a more difficult decision for the selection committee.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields runs the ball in for a touchdown against Indiana during their 2019 game at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo: Brian Spurlock, USA TODAY Sports)
Though it's not that complicated. If the Irish win, sending Clemson to a New Year's Six bowl, the fourth spot would be taken by Texas A&M, should the Aggies win Saturday against Tennessee. If the Irish win and the Aggies lose, Clemson would have a very good chance at reaching the semifinals with two losses, especially if Oklahoma beats Iowa State in the Big 12 championship game.
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The important thing to keep in mind heading into the final weekend of the regular season: Alabama and Notre Dame are in the playoff nearly regardless of what happens Saturday. Alabama is a lock. Notre Dame is helped by the lack of secondary options behind the top four and by the Gators' loss to LSU, since that weakens the Aggies' overall strength of schedule. (A&M beat Florida earlier this season.)
Here’s how the top four would look today, followed by the four teams just on the outside:
1. Alabama: The Crimson Tide have rushed for at least five touchdowns four times this season, including six in this past weekend's 52-3 win against Arkansas. Alabama had three such games in the previous seven years.
2. Notre Dame: A win Saturday against Clemson would move Notre Dame to 11-0 for the second time in three seasons, the third time under coach Brian Kelly and the fifth time in program history.
3. Clemson: Five-star true freshman defensive lineman Myles Murphy is tied for the team lead in sacks (3½) and tackles for loss (9½).
4. Ohio State: The most games Ohio State could play this season is eight: the Big Ten championship, the semifinals and the title game. If 8-0, the Buckeyes would be the first team to win the national championship with fewer than 10 wins since Notre Dame and Michigan State shared the title in 1966.
5. Texas A&M: One issue for A&M is the lack of victories against opponents with a winning record. The Aggies have just two, against Florida and Auburn. The remaining five wins are against Vanderbilt (0-9), Mississippi State (2-7), Arkansas (3-7), South Carolina (2-8) and LSU (4-5).
6. Iowa State: After a rocky start to the season and three-interception performance against Baylor on Nov. 7, junior quarterback Brock Purdy has sparked Iowa State's push for the Big 12 title by completing 77.2% of his attempts for 795 yards and seven touchdowns in his last three games.
7. Cincinnati: The Bearcats have won 18 of 20 since last September, with the two losses coming in back-to-back weeks against Memphis last November and December.
8. Southern California: Kedon Slovis has been terrific overall — he has 15 touchdown passes in five games and is completing over 70% of his attempts — but at his best in the fourth quarter, when he's hit on 38 of his 52 throws for 381 yards and five scores without an interception. The Trojans have won three games this year in the final minute.
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