Alabama and Ohio State are in grave danger of missing the College Football Playoff.
Following Week 13, the committee should assign the top-four spots to Georgia, Michigan, TCU, and USC. That leaves the Crimson Tide and Buckeyes as the next teams up if the Horned Frogs or Trojans falter in their conference title matchups.
As a result, this week's No. 5 ranking is crucial. During Sunday morning's SportsCenter spot, ESPN's Paul Finebaum gave the nod to Ohio State over Alabama despite Saturday's 45-23 shortcoming against Michigan.
"Ohio State lost by 22 at home," Finebaum said, via Saturday Tradition. "It was a beatdown in the fourth quarter. However, that's the only loss. Alabama has two losses against teams that now have five losses between them."
The Crimson Tide fell by three at Tennessee and two at LSU. Since those defeats, the Volunteers fell out of the title hunt with losses to Georgia and South Carolina, and the Tigers' chances took a significant hit when losing to Texas A&M on Saturday.
Nick Saban's squad also had close calls against the Aggies and Texas Longhorns.
However, one can argue two nail-biting road losses against formidable foes aren't as bad as getting blown out by your biggest rival at home. Although the Buckeyes began the season by beating Notre Dame, they benefited from a softer schedule than the Crimson Tide.
The CFP committee must weigh those factors when determining which team to rank higher. While neither Alabama nor Ohio State will play for a conference title, one of them could sneak into the playoffs with help next weekend.