Craig Shemon & Company

Craig Shemon & Company

Craig Shemon & Company

The penultimate College Football Playoff rankings are out. And it appears that there are 8 teams who have a shot at the Playoff. And I’ll explain how the top-8 teams make the playoffs. The four Power-5 undefeated teams take up the 1-4 spots. Georgia remains #1 while Michigan, Washington, and Florida State round out the top-4. That’s all well and good. However the placement of the next four is the more interesting discussion. Oregon remains at #5, followed by Ohio State falling to #6 with Texas and Alabama falling in the 7 and 8 spots. Michigan seems to be the closest team to a lock on this list. They’re somewhere around a three and a half touchdown favorite over the Iowa Hawkeyes. The first step for how the top-8 teams make the playoffs is to win your game this weekend (sorry Ohio State).

Oregon and Washington will start the playoff elimination series on Friday night in the PAC-12 Championship. This basically amounts to a CFP elimination game. Looking at what the committee did beyond the top-8 is just as interesting. I have long held the opinion that the committee stacks the deck to fit the narrative they want. Florida State fans should feel relieved that Louisville only fell 4 spots to 14. The SEC continues to get a ton of respect from the committee. Some would argue too much respect. Regardless the conference still has 5 of the top-11. Is this the committee stacking the deck so the conference champ gets in no matter what? Or stacking the deck so the loser has a shot? Here’s how the top-8 teams make the playoffs heading into Conference Championship weekend.


  • 1. Georgia (12-0)

    How the top-8 teams make the playoff

    (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

    All Georgia has to do is beat Alabama in the SEC Championship Game and they will be the #1 seed in the playoffs. However if the Tide topple the Dawgs there might be a path to the #4 seed. Bama would get in ahead of Georgia for sure. But if two out of FSU, Texas, and Michigan lose could it go 1) Michigan 2)Bama 3)PAC12 Champ 4)Georgia? They’d be going up against FSU and Ohio State as 1-loss non-conference champs.

  • 2. Michigan (12-0)

    How the Top-8 Teams Make the Playoffs Michigan

    (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

    Another win and in team. And as they should be. If the Wolverines lose to Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game I they would need Georgia and Washington to win and go undefeated then have FSU and Texas lose. Then you have a head-to-head between Michigan and Ohio State… would the committee really punish Michigan for playing an extra game? I don’t thinks so.

  • 3. Washington (12-0)

    How the Top-8 Teams Make the Playoffs Washington

    (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

    Another undefeated team, so another win-and-in team. However, unlike the top-2 teams I don’t see a path to playoffs if the Huskies fall to the Ducks.

  • 4. Florida State (12-0)

    How the Top-8 Teams Make the Playoffs Florida State

    (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

    I actually think Florida State is not in a win-and-in scenario. And it is unfortunate, but the committee needs to look at how good the Noles can be with Rodemaker at quarterback, not Jordan Travis. And they did not look good against the Gators on Saturday night. They will need to look impressive in a big win over Louisville. There is no scenario that the Seminoles lose and get in.

  • 5. Oregon (11-1)

    How the Top-8 Teams Make the Playoffs Oregon

    (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    If the Ducks can avenge their only loss of the season on Friday night, I think they will get in. Even if UGA, Michigan, and FSU get in as undefeated conference champions, I can’t see Texas leapfrogging them against the 18th ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys. So win and in Ducks.

  • 6. Ohio State (11-1)

    How the Top-8 Teams Make the Playoffs Ohio State

    (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

    This is far-fetched, and would still need the committee to give the Buckeyes the benefit of the doubt. If Michigan, Texas, and Florida State lose with Georgia beating Alabama would the top four go as follows:

    1) Georgia

    2) PAC-12 Champion

    3) Michigan

    4) Ohio State

    Could this happen? Again, it seems unlikely but it’s college football.


  • 7. Texas (11-1)

    How the Top-8 Teams Make the Playoffs Texas

    (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

    I think Texas has a decent position to make it to the playoffs this year. The easiest route seems like one of the 4 undefeated teams winning along with the Longhorns handling their business against the Cowboys in the Big12 Championship Game. I can even see Texas getting in over Florida State if the Noles win but look shaky in the process.

  • 8. Alabama (11-1)

    How the Top-8 Teams Make the Playoffs Alabama

    (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)

    Somehow the 8th ranked team in the country feels like they could be a win-and-in scenario. And it’s all because of the SEC and their dominance over the sport for the last decade and a half. A 1-loss SEC Champion has to be in, right? I’m not so sure. If FSU and Texas look great while Michigan and Washington round out their undefeated season, it would be tough to put Bama ahead of those four.

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