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Sport Football Four: Alabama's out, and now the debate shifts: Utah vs. Oklahoma or Baylor

17:50  01 december  2019
17:50  01 december  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

Six scenarios for final College Football Playoff rankings, from chalk to chaos

  Six scenarios for final College Football Playoff rankings, from chalk to chaos Sporting News looks at all the possible scenarios for the College Football Playoff rankings heading into conference championship weekend.The top six teams in the AP Top 25 — No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Clemson, No. 4 Georgia, No. 5 Utah and No. 6 Oklahoma — have the best chances of cracking the field after Saturday's slate of conference championship games. No. 8 Baylor is the only other remaining team with one loss or fewer. Is there a chance that a two-loss team — don't make us say No.

Alabama ' s loss against Auburn on Saturday made things a lot easier for the College Football Playoff selection committee, but a few questions remain in determining this season's final four . Oklahoma , Utah or Baylor , anyone?

Alabama ' s loss has opened the door for a fascinating debate between Utah or Oklahoma for the CFB Playoff. Also, why has Clemson become so joyless? But they've also become more vulnerable, and now that Alabama has gone two straight years without winning the national title, it will be interesting

If only things had gone to the script, the noise promised to be deafening this coming week. A win in the Iron Bowl, and we’d have heard an awful lot, at very high volume, about how never mind anything happening elsewhere, an 11-1 Alabama fully deserved a berth in the Football Four. Basically, because 'Bama.

a group of people wearing costumes: Baylor steamrolled Kansas ahead of its Big 12 title game showdown against Oklahoma.© Jay Biggerstaff, USA TODAY Sports Baylor steamrolled Kansas ahead of its Big 12 title game showdown against Oklahoma.

But never mind — Auburn ended the Crimson Tide’s hopes, and now the chatter shifts to a debate between two conferences. Do you like one-loss Utah, which has been dominant against less-than-stellar Pac-12 competition (its last three opponents have losing records)? Or the Big 12’s Oklahoma-Baylor winner, both with one loss — and both with flaws, but with several wins lately against ranked opponents?

Ohio State stays No. 1, while Utah leads Oklahoma in College Football Playoff rankings

  Ohio State stays No. 1, while Utah leads Oklahoma in College Football Playoff rankings Ohio State continued is hold on the No. 1 spot in the College Football Playoff ahead of LSU. Utah leads Oklahoma for the critical No. 5 position.There was change below the top four, however. Utah moves up one place to fifth with Alabama's loss to Auburn. The Utes are followed closely by Oklahoma and Baylor. Wisconsin, Florida and Penn State round out the top 10.

Utah is Team No. 4 : I know we have a week to go. Conference championships will either make things clear Oklahoma won't beat Baylor twice: Early lines It came up huge in the second half of the first game against Baylor , was excellent against Oklahoma State on Saturday and has probably bailed out the offense Live scores, highlights and updates from the Hawaii vs . Army West Point football game.

Alabama ’ s loss eliminates the Tide from the Playoff, based on the standard that no two-loss team has made the Would you take the winner of Oklahoma - Baylor or Utah for that final spot if LSU beats Georgia? Four -team Playoff lives (for now ). The Playoff committee will not hot have to deal with the

As Utah decimated a bad Colorado team and Baylor blew out a bad Kansas team, Oklahoma dominated its Bedlam rival Oklahoma State on the road. All three contenders passed the eye test, which means we can look forward to all sorts of angles on why this team should be in or that team should not, or whatever.

From NFL plays to college sports scores, all the top sports news you need to know every day.

Elsewhere, Ohio State proved another point and LSU made an emphatic statement. Oh, and Clemson won big (what’s new) against South Carolina, after which Dabo Swinney ranted about all the people who supposedly don’t want the Tigers in the bracket. Weird. But hey, if manufacturing disrespect fires 'em up, go for it.

Back to the real debate: Obviously, much rides on the Pac-12 championship (Utah vs. Oregon) on Friday and a top-10 matchup between Oklahoma vs. Baylor on Saturday. There can be and almost certainly still will be change.

College football bowl projections Week 14: Utah, Oklahoma, Alabama in Playoff hunt

  College football bowl projections Week 14: Utah, Oklahoma, Alabama in Playoff hunt Sporting News' Week 13 bowl projections are in ahead of the second College Football Playoff rankings. Which one loss team is in?The Playoff picture saw some major changes after Oregon’s loss to Arizona State. That opens up a wide-open debate for the No. 4 final spot.

Alabama *: The Tide won't need QB Mac Jones to have a huge game (probably), but Auburn probably thinks it' s Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs . Baylor . Here are college football scores for the Top 25 teams in Week 14. Get the complete schedule and results here for the College Football Playoff ranked teams.

Alabama played its way out of College Football Playoff contention (Nick Saban was not happy And now the Bears will look to avenge their lone loss, to Oklahoma , when they meet the Sooners in the Now , with double-digit wins for the third time in four years, the Lions await word of what should be a

But the final Football Four — which is, gasp, only one week away! — will not include Alabama. As always, remember we pick the bracket as if the season was over today.*

Football Four

1. Ohio State — The Buckeyes own their biggest rivalry. In Ann Arbor, they flat outclassed a good Michigan team. They’ve been the most impressive team all season, and now the resume has caught up with the eye test: offense, defense — what’s not to like? — and the Buckeyes’ biggest issue is whether it’s Justin Fields, J.K. Dobbins or Chase Young who should be in NYC as a Heisman finalist (maybe all of ‘em, but that seems unlikely), or whether they’ll cancel each other out.

2. LSU — The Tigers wanted to show us all something against Texas A&M, and they did. Not that A&M is all that — Jimbo Fisher’s bunch finished 7-5 — but it was very impressive, nonetheless. For a change, LSU’s defense showed up, too. Win the SEC championship against Georgia, and who knows? The Tigers might vault back to No. 1.

College Football Playoff picture: 4 in, 3 to watch ahead of conference championship weekend

  College Football Playoff picture: 4 in, 3 to watch ahead of conference championship weekend Sporting News takes a look at the College Football Playoff picture heading into conference championship weekend.Alabama's 48-45 loss to Auburn and Minnesota's 38-17 loss to Wisconsin trimmed the potential Playoff field down to seven teams with one loss or fewer. There's still room for the chaos factor in the final week of the season, however.

Alabama is out , but who will be in? CFP hopes rise for Oklahoma , Utah , Baylor . LSU Tigers. Georgia and LSU, which will meet in the SEC championship game, probably won't both go to the CFP, so that potentially leaves one spot for Baylor or Oklahoma , who will play in the Big 12 championship

The losses by Alabama and Minnesota mean that there are no scenarios that cause either Ohio State or LSU Baylor is expected to face No. 4 Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. The Bulldogs wrecked Georgia Tech Jerry Palm projects every bowl game, including which four teams make the College Football

3. Clemson — Another Saturday, another easy win — this time against in-state rival South Carolina. After which, Dabo Swinney pulled the ‘no respect’ card. But the Football Four has immense respect for the Tigers. The ACC schedule, not so much. But the Tigers? Yep. Much respect. They’re terrific.

4. Utah — The Utes have been routinely dominant. They’re clearly very good. But their schedule is clearly sub-par: Their last three wins have come against teams with losing records. The only ranked opponent they’ve encountered was USC, a loss. So it’s eye test outweighing resume, yes. But the eye test is really impressive. Still, Utah might need to not only beat Oregon — which isn’t a sure thing, obviously – but do it convincingly. For now, though, they’re in the Football Four.

WEEK 14 OBSERVATIONS: Utah could be a win away from berth in College Football Playoff

WINNERS AND LOSERS: Week 14 college football recap led by Ohio State, Michigan, Auburn

SPORTS NEWSLETTER: Sign up now to get sports news, analysis delivered to your inbox

Four More**

5. Georgia — A beatdown of rival (and struggling) Georgia Tech was nice enough, but the Bulldogs don’t need style points. They need to beat LSU, any way they can. If they do, they’re in — and chaos ensues. If not, they’ll finish outside the bracket.

Top seven remains the same in latest CFP rankings

  Top seven remains the same in latest CFP rankings Georgia remained at No. 4 after a 21-14 win at No. 15 Auburn.

Find out our predictions for the CFP rankings including Alabama , Utah and Oklahoma . There is no one happier about Alabama ’ s loss than Utah who now likely controls their own destiny to make the tournament. Utah needs to defeat Colorado to make the Pac-12 title game and a win over Oregon is

Baylor and Oklahoma will get a rematch in the Big 12 Championship. Despite jumping out to an early lead, Baylor allowed Oklahoma to The committee is in for an interesting decision as it potentially compares Utah to either Alabama , Georgia or LSU depending on how the rest of the season plays out .

6. Oklahoma — The Sooners notched a convincing road victory against their Bedlam rivals. It was easily their most complete game in the season’s second half, but get this: In the last 10 quarters, Oklahoma’s defense has allowed three touchdowns. With the offense hanging onto the football for a change, the Sooners won comfortably. But now comes a rematch with ...

7. Baylor — The Bears were very, very impressive in finishing off an 11-1 regular season. Yeah, sure, Kansas is the Big 12’s doormat, but the Jayhawks had showed fight this season. And Baylor had lived on the edge against several lesser opponents. Now comes a second chance against Oklahoma, with a possible Football Four berth on the line.

8. Alabama — Here’s a measure of how good ‘Bama has been: The loss to Auburn marked the first time since 2010 they’ve lost twice in the regular season. Yeah, losing Tua Tagovailoa was devastating (even though Mac Jones played pretty well). The Tide was sloppy — 13 penalties is the most in a game in Nick Saban’s 13 seasons — and the ending was apropos. Alabama got caught, confused, with 12 players on the field, giving Auburn the first down it needed in order to run out the clock on the Tide’s Football Four hopes.

A Few More After That***

Wisconsin — Order has been restored in the Big Ten West, with the Badgers’ dispatching of those pesky (and fun) Gophers. A 38-17 win against Minnesota propels Wisconsin into the Big Ten championship game, where a rematch with Ohio State awaits. Not sure that’s a good thing, but it’s worth a shot.

Georgia-LSU showdown headlines conference championship weekend

  Georgia-LSU showdown headlines conference championship weekend The conference championship games around the country are now set following Week 14 of the college football regular season. © Jonathan Bachman / Getty Images Sport / GettyLSU and Georgia highlight the major conference matchups, with both teams currently slotted inside the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings. The winner is a virtual lock for the CFP, while LSU could still make a very strong case even with a loss. Wisconsin gets a rematch with Ohio State in the Big Ten championship contest after the Badgers went on the road to take down Minnesota on Saturday.

8. Alabama (5): According to SEC Network, the Tide have missed 101 field goals in the Nick Saban era, more than any other program in the span. That marks three straight wins for Oregon in the Civil War series, and now the Ducks turn their attention to claiming the Pac-12 Championship Game next

Oklahoma is driving and Oklahoma State is making some bad mistakes. Alabama has had a notorious history with missing crucial kicks in big games. Live scores, highlights and updates from the Hawaii vs . Army West Point football game.

Oregon — The Ducks won’t be in the Football Four bracket, but the Rose Bowl is on the line in the Pac-12 championship. They weren’t especially impressive in beating Oregon State, but beating a rival is always sweet. How will they match up with Utah?

Auburn — Three losses against one of the nation’s toughest schedules. Oh, but an Iron Bowl win salves a whole lot of feelings, yes? Gus Malzahn and his wife Kristi got to make that late-night Waffle House run.

Penn State — The Nittany Lions pulled away for a comfortable win against Rutgers, because Rutgers. They’re likely headed for a New Year’s Six bowl. But will James Franklin be with them? Hmmmm.

Notre Dame — The Fighting Irish haven’t been in the playoff picture since that loss in Athens, Ga., back in September — or at the latest, after that loss to Michigan. But they’re quietly 10-2. Really good. Again.

Florida — Ten wins. A New Year’s Six bowl. The Gators weren’t as good as LSU or Georgia, but there’s no shame in that. Dan Mullen has the program headed upward.

Futile Four****

Mississippi — We’ll spare you the puns and cheap jokes about Elijah Moore’s penalty with four seconds left for pretending to urinate like a dog, costing the Rebels a chance to tie and potentially to win the Egg Bowl. It was the Egg Bowlest of Egg Bowl inanity, an act instantly etched in the lore of a bitter rivalry. Ugh.

Michigan — By most measures, Jim Harbaugh’s tenure in Ann Arbor has been a success. By the most important measure, it has been a complete failure. Ohio State’s 56-27 victory, Harbaugh’s Wolverines are 0-5 against the Buckeyes. The problem began long before he arrived, but it’s now his problem. Even worse than losing is the width of the gap between the rivals.

AP Top 25: Alabama out of top 5 for first time in 4 years

  AP Top 25: Alabama out of top 5 for first time in 4 years Alabama dropped to No. 9 in The Associated Press college football poll, snapping the Crimson Tide’s record streak of 68 appearances in the top five. The top four teams in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank were unchanged, with LSU at No. 1, followed by Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia. Utah moved up to No. 5, followed by Oklahoma, Florida and Baylor. The Crimson Tide lost to Auburn in a wild Iron Bowl on Saturday to give it two regular-season losses for the first time since 2010. The four-spot drop by Alabama broke a string of top-five appearances that began Nov. 8, 2015.

NCAA football scores for the nation's top teams, plus live updates, rankings and highlights from Despite tossing a pick six, Alabama ' s Mac Jones threw a pair of touchdown passes to keep pace D'Andre Swift is hurt, Lawrence Cager is out and George Pickens is suspended for the first half for

The Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) quarterback passed for a career-high 370 yards and accounted for four touchdowns as the No. 11 Cowboys The loss for the Bears almost certainly dooms their national title aspirations, leaving Alabama , Florida State and Ohio State as the lone remaining

Texas A&M — No one expected the Aggies to upset LSU in Baton Rouge. Most probably expected a blowout. But the context here is the hire two years ago of Jimbo Fisher, and the Aggies’ unmerited expectations heading into this, his second season. Simply put, they don’t seem much closer to contending in the SEC West — much less for a national championship — than before Fisher’s arrival. But maybe next year.

Nebraska — Yeah, these Huskers have been here before. But after a 27-24 loss to Iowa, they’re back in the Futile Four. It’s not just that the loss sealed a third consecutive losing season. It’s all that offseason hype about how Nebraska was on the fast track to the top of the Big Ten West. Well, nah. Now, a new offseason begins. And the tone seems likely to be a lot different.

* The season is not over until next week.

** Don’t be worried that your team sits just outside the cut. This is a weekly snapshot. And what do we know, anyway?

*** See the previous note, but it’s OK to be slightly concerned or very angry. But what do we know, anyway?

**** No note necessary.

Follow USA TODAY Sports' George Schroeder on Twitter @GeorgeSchroeder.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Football Four: Alabama's out, and now the debate shifts: Utah vs. Oklahoma or Baylor

Related slideshow: Best photos of college football season (provided by imagn)

Ed Orgeron et al. posing for the camera: LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron celebrates with his players after defeating the Texas A&M Aggies at Tiger Stadium on November 30, 2019.

Utah thanks Paul Finebaum for bulletin board material ahead of big game .
The College Football Playoff committee is going to have some difficult decisions to make after the conference championship games conclude this weekend, and Paul Finebaum may play an indirect role in how things play out. © Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY SportsAfter some comments he made about Dabo Swinney drew a strong reaction from the Clemson coach early in the week, Finebaum decided that the next program he wanted to insult was Utah.

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