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College Football Playoff ranking brings new drama to final weekend

Let’s be honest, this November of playoff ranking teases have been excitement-free. One might say it’s been boring.

Every week, practically no movement at the top. The ESPN crew couldn’t even fake excitement the last few Tuesdays.

Hold on, though. The drama could be back thanks to Ohio State booting Michigan from consideration in a momentum-shredding blowout Saturday.

So, it sets up for a potentially interesting Sunday after the conference championships are decided. Another fight for No. 4 is almost certain after the penultimate reveal of the rough draft Tuesday evening.

A few things we know.

— Notre Dame is in. No conference, thus no conference championship and at No. 3 and unbeaten, the Irish get a seat at the table.

— Clemson is a 26-point favorite to beat Pitt in the ACC championship. Feel good about their inclusion.

— Forget the Pac 12. Nobody’s sniffing a semifinal with 9-3 Washington as the highest-ranked representative at No. 11.

That brings us to the SEC Championship. Georgia at No. 4 would have to be in were it to upset 13-point favorite Alabama. The question then would be the Crimson Tide’s fate.

Two others are in the mix playing conference championship games Saturday with one loss.

An Alabama win would conceivably leave it up to Ohio State and Oklahoma to decide for the fourth spot. A Tide loss would put them into that three-way pot for one spot.

That would assume Oklahoma (a 7-point favorite over Texas) and Ohio State (a 14-point favorite over Northwestern) survive conference title games. Both are knock-out games for the Sooners and Buckeyes.

And both Oklahoma and Ohio State have major flaws in their resume even if it included a national title.

The Sooners have Heisman-caliber Kyler Murray at quarterback but also the No. 111 total defense allowing 449 yards and 33 points a game. Ohio State lost 49-20 to a Purdue team that finished with a 6-6 record.

Recall a Big Ten-champion Ohio State was left out of last year’s playoff for Alabama after the Buckeyes suffered a baffling 55-24 loss at Iowa.

For now, Oklahoma has the edge getting the No. 5 spot Tuesday so style points, if both were to win Saturday, could come into play.

Michael Casagrande is an Alabama beat writer for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @ByCasagrande or on Facebook.

CFP rankings

1. Alabama

2. Clemson

3. Notre Dame

4. Georgia

5. Oklahoma

6. Ohio State

7. Michigan

8. UCF

9. Florida

10. LSU

11. Washington

12. Penn State

13. Washington State

14. Texas

15. Kentucky

16. West Virginia

17. Utah

18. Mississippi State

19. Texas A&M

20. Syracuse

21. Northwestern

22. Boise State

23. Iowa State

24. Missouri

25. Fresno State

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