Alabama also must hope the committee values the Crimson Tide's 11 wins over a potential two-loss conference champion. Those two losses hold Ohio State back against Alabama even though the Buckeyes would have two wins against top 10 teams while Alabama's best win will be against an LSU team hovering in the middle of the top 25 at best.
The Crimson Tide is coming off a 26-14 loss at Auburn on Saturday.
The Badgers ranked 9th in the first College Football playoff rankings. Auburn checked in at No. 2 following the win over Alabama. But if the Sooners win, it's better to have Ohio State win the Big Ten championship and dare the committee to leap them from No. 8 to No. 4. The video for the Big Ten Championship against Wisconsin was released Wednesday afternoon, and it definitely lives up to expectations. "I know they lost to Auburn, but they're just that good." .
One of those teams is not like the others in a potentially significant way.
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Does the committee hate UCF, the American Athletic Conference and Group of Five teams in general?
The Pac-12 appears to be locked out of the playoff so it is a safe bet that the victor of its championship game between Stanford and Southern California (10-2) winds up in the Fiesta Bowl.
Clemson still has one hurdle to get to the playoff: a showdown with the Miami Hurricanes in Saturday's ACC Championship team. On Saturday, nine conference championship games will be played, including four featuring two top-11 teams with clear playoff implications.
"It's close separation from team No. 5 Alabama, six Georgia, seven Miami, eight Ohio State". As much as it may pain Tide fans, it will be better for the Tide if Auburn is not one of those teams. The debate would feel different if only two teams played for the national championship, because there would have been no chance of an 11-2 Auburn getting into the BCS title game ahead of a 13-0 Wisconsin. Penn State (10-2), 10.
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Auburn, which lost to Clemson on September 9, slid up to No. 2 after knocking off the Crimson Tide. Should the eighth-ranked Buckeyes win, they could provide their own compelling argument for a spot in the semifinals.
The ACC and SEC are the only two games that appear to guarantee the champion will be going to the playoff regardless of the outcome. The Trojans and Frogs have similar resumes now, and a win over No. 3 Oklahoma might give TCU more ammunition to make a jump.
With No. 10 USC and No. 11 TCU staring up at the other contenders, they look like extreme long shots.
Clemson would go to New Orleans because, as the No. 1 team, it would get the most favorable geographic position.
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The Orange Bowl matches the top non-playoff team from the ACC against the top non-playoff team from the Big Ten, SEC and Notre Dame.