It’s been said that the College Football Playoff will not expand beyond its current four-team configuration anytime in the foreseeable future. This season could fracture that line of thinking to the point of breaking it.
Entering Week 14, the ACC and SEC championship games were considered playoff play-in games; No. 1 Clemson destroyed No. 7 Miami while No. 6 Georgia exacted revenge on No. 2 Auburn. No.3 Oklahoma blistered No. 11 TCU in the Big 12 championship game to guarantee another spot.
With those results, that left three of the four CFP spots claimed. The fourth, given those outcomes, seemingly came down to idle No. 5 Alabama and No. 8 Ohio State.
With 11-1 ‘Bama sitting this weekend out, 11-2 OSU took on No. 4 and previously unbeaten Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game and came away with a 27-21 win. Given how this weekend played out, and with apologies to USC, the final playoff berth will indeed come down to a Midwest blueblood and one from the South.
So, let’s go to the Tale of the Tape:
— six wins over bowl-eligible teams
— two wins over CFP Top 25 teams: No. 17 LSU, No. 23 Mississippi State
— one win over FCS team
— seven wins over bowl-eligible teams
— three wins over CFP Top 25 teams: No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 9 Penn State, No. 16 Michigan State
— no games against FCS teams
— Alabama, one, 26-14 to No. 2 Auburn
— Ohio State, two, 31-16 at home to No. 3 Oklahoma and 55-24 on the road to 7-5 Iowa
— Alabama, none
— Ohio State, one
The reality is we’re in for a new reality, regardless of what happens Sunday afternoon.