Dienhart: Taking a look at the College Football Playoff possibilities

Dienhart: Taking a look at the College Football Playoff possibilities

Championship Saturday is all set, as teams jockey for playoff position. Who will get the four spots?

The title games look like this:

Big Ten: Wisconsin (12-0) vs. Ohio State (10-2)
SEC: Auburn (10-2) vs. Georgia (11-1)
ACC: Clemson (11-1) vs. Miami (10-1)
Big 12: Oklahoma (11-1) vs. TCU (10-2)
Pac-12: USC (10-2) vs. Stanford (9-3)

This much seems certain: The winners of the ACC and SEC championship games will get playoff slots. The losers are likely toast.

And if Wisconsin and Oklahoma win, they will get in the playoff party, too. (If the Badgers and Sooners lose, they probably are out.) The Pac-12? Forget about it.

But what if Ohio State and TCU win the Big Ten and Big 12 title games, respectively? Or if one or the other wins? This is when things could get interesting.

The wild-card in all of this is Alabama. The 11-1 Crimson Tide won’t play on Saturday. But, they have a playoff-caliber resume even though they didn’t win the SEC West. Could they still get in?

Perhaps. Follow along.

If Ohio State wins and Oklahoma wins … The Buckeyes likely will be compared with Alabama for the fourth spot. Does two-loss Ohio State have a better resume than one-loss Bama? I think so. The Buckeyes would have beaten Wisconsin and won vs. Penn State and Michigan State, and at Michigan State with losses to Oklahoma and at Iowa.

Alabama’s best win? It took down what was still a good Florida State team on a neutral field in the opener and also won vs. LSU, which lost to Troy, and at Mississippi State while losing at Auburn.

Who gets the edge in an OSU-Bama comparison? I say Ohio State.

If TCU wins and Wisconsin wins … the Horned Frogs likely will be compared to Alabama for the last playoff slot. TCU won at Oklahoma State and vs. West Virginia. The losses? At Iowa State and at Oklahoma. How does that compare to Bama?

Who gets the edge in a TCU-Bama comparison? I say Bama.

Now, what if Ohio State and TCU both win? I think the Buckeyes are in, and it would come down to TCU vs. Bama for the last slot. I would give the edge to the Horned Frogs over the Crimson Tide.

Stay tuned. Things could get very interesting on Saturday.

Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer

About Tom Dienhart: BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, and send him questions to his weekly mailbag.


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