Kirk Herbstreit explains how Alabama can still make the Playoff

Kirk Herbstreit explains how Alabama can still make the Playoff

Kirk Herbstreit explains how Alabama can still make the Playoff

While Ohio State may have the better pure résumé after Saturday, Alabama will still only have one loss compared to Ohio State's two. Auburn looks guaranteed to be the first if the Tigers beat Georgia.

Auburn sits behind Clemson, which ascended to No. 1 this week. On Saturday, nine conference championship games will be played, including four featuring two top-11 teams with clear playoff implications.

The Badgers have spent the entire season on the outside of the CFP semifinal bubble looking in, but the only remaining unbeaten Power 5 school still needs another victory in order to stay in the top four. The Badgers have played through the criticism and set the stage for their entry to the playoff under one simple condition; win and they're in. The No. 7 Hurricanes will play defending champion Clemson in the ACC title game, and the victor of that one will be part of the four-team field.

A two-loss Auburn is two spots ahead of undefeated Wisconsin.

Alabama (11-1) fell from No. 1 to fifth after losing to Auburn, and Georgia (11-1) was sixth.

No. 1 Clemson and No. 7 Miami will meet in the ACC title game, while No. 2 Auburn faces No. 6 Georgia in the SEC title game with winners from both expected to wind up in the top four. A Tigers loss in the SEC title game makes things more hard, but doesn't automatically knock Alabama out of the running. One of the reasons the Buckeyes made the field previous year but Big Ten-champion Penn State did not was a blowout loss for the Nittany Lions.

Miami picked the worst time to suffer its first loss of the season, a stunning 24-14 defeat to unranked Pittsburgh. "Certainly not maybe in this game, but I think the team we played tonight is a very good football team - probably one of the best teams in the country". The final rankings will be released Sunday at 9 a.m. on ESPN.

Penn State is ninth and Southern California is the highest ranked Pac-12 team at No. 10. That game will be a rematch of a September 9 USC victory at the Coliseum.

No. 10 USC and No. 11 TCU are still hoping to be a part of the conversation. Alabama is the only team in that group not playing in its conference championship game. Let's say Oklahoma wins and takes the third spot along with the SEC and ACC champs.

So how would these rankings shake out if they were to hold?

Those games appear to be win-and-you're-in situations. The Orange Bowl must then select a non-conference champion from the Big Ten, SEC or Notre Dame. Alabama began in 2014 at No. 6, then No. 5, then No. 5. The Buckeyes would have three against top-16 teams (Wisconsin, No. 9 Penn State and No. 16 Michigan State), but they've also lost two games, including one to Iowa by 31 points.

No. 6 Georgia is a lock if it avenges its previous loss to Auburn. The goal for UCF is clear right now, because the victor of the AAC title game against Memphis will secure a New Year's Six bowl spot.

Cotton Bowl Classic: No. 11 TCU vs.

Orange Bowl: No. 7 Miami vs. The Trojans and Frogs have similar resumes now, and a win over No. 3 Oklahoma might give TCU more ammunition to make a jump.

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