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Four teams enter championship weekend near playoff spot

The Associated Press - November 29, 2017 11:41 am

Clemson, Auburn, Oklahoma and Wisconsin will enter championship weekend positioned to earn a playoff spot with just one more victory.

But a potential Alabama-Ohio State controversy looms.

Clemson moved up to No. 1 in the final College Football Playoff rankings before the semifinals are set by the selection committee on Sunday.

Alabama fell from No. 1 to fifth in the new rankings Tuesday night after losing to Auburn, and Georgia was sixth. Miami slipped after taking its first loss of the season last week from No. 2 to seventh, just ahead of Ohio State at eighth.

Each of the top four teams plays a conference title game this Saturday against another highly ranked team, creating potential play-in playoff games. Clemson faces Miami in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship; Auburn and Georgia play for the Southeastern Conference title; Wisconsin faces Ohio State for the Big Ten title; and Oklahoma faces No. 11 TCU for the Big 12 title.

If the top four win out, the semifinals likely would fall into place: Clemson would face Wisconsin in the Sugar Bowl semifinal on New Year’s Day by virtue of giving the top seed a regional advantage, and Auburn and Oklahoma would play in the Rose Bowl semifinal.

It is likely Miami would jump into the top four by beating No. 1 Clemson and winning the ACC and same goes for Georgia if it can win a rematch against Auburn. The intrigue would start if Oklahoma and/or Wisconsin lose.

The selection committee could be faced with a choice between Alabama (11-1) and Ohio State (10-2). The Crimson Tide’s resume has no wins against teams currently in the top 15 and it is done playing, but the Buckeyes have two losses by double digits, including a 31-point blowout at Iowa.

Penn State is ninth and Southern California is the highest ranked Pac-12 team at No. 10.

 

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