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Predicting What Tonight's College Football Playoff Rankings Will Look Like - Week 12

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Three kings have ruled the college football world for much of the 2015 season. Clemson, Alabama and Ohio State have been in the top four of every College Football Playoff rankings released so far. Many have viewed the three as near-locks to make the field.

One of the kings has fallen.

Ohio State, No. 3 in last week’s rankings, fell to Michigan State, 17-14, on a last-second field goal in Columbus on Saturday.

This week’s rankings are sure to be shaken up because of what happened this past weekend.

You can see the rankings unveiled tonight at 7 p.m. E.T. on ESPN, but we know you probably don’t want to wait that long. So, we’re here to help.

Here’s a projection of what this week’s top 10 will look like:

10. Stanford 

With two losses, the Cardinal are pretty much out of the College Football Playoff picture, barring something insanely crazy happening over the next two weeks. Stanford is still in position to make a New Year’s Six bowl, though, and is still relevant when it comes to the playoff chase. David Shaw’s team can spoil Notre Dame’s chances if it can defeat the Fighting Irish on Saturday.

9. Baylor 

The Bears knocked off one of the remaining undefeated teams this past Saturday, beating Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., 45-35. If Baylor can win its next two games, and the Cowboys beat Oklahoma, Art Briles’ team will be Big 12 champions. Will that be enough to get the Bears into the playoff? Probably not – Notre Dame will likely need to lose to Stanford, too.

8. Ohio State 

The Buckeyes have zero good wins and looked pretty dreadful in their lone game of the season against a high-quality opponent, so a No. 8 ranking seems a little high, but the committee clearly likes Urban Meyer’s team. So, we see them dropping just five spots. Ohio State will need a lot of help to reach the playoff for the second straight year, though – beating Michigan (handily) and Penn State knocking off Michigan State this Saturday is a good start.

7. Florida 

Jim McElwain’s team really hasn’t looked close to a top-10 squad in recent weeks, but it keeps winning, so it continues to stay (and climb) in the rankings. The Gators do control their own destiny – winning out will assure Florida of a spot in the playoff – but their day of reckoning seems to be coming, with a game this weekend against Florida State and a bout against (most likely) Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.

6. Michigan State 

The Spartans’ road victory at Michigan took some luck; their win at Ohio State did not. Mark Dantonio’s squad, despite the meager three-point margin of victory, completely dominated the Buckeyes, in Columbus, with their backup quarterback. A regular season finale against Penn State and a Big Ten title game contest vs. Iowa is all that stands between Michigan State and the College Football Playoff.

5. Oklahoma 

The Sooners are beginning to make me look like a soothsayer. Since I wrote on Nov. 4 that Oklahoma resembles last year’s Ohio State team, Bob Stoops’ squad has ripped off three straight wins, two of which came against then-No. 6 Baylor and then-No. 18 TCU. Bedlam awaits Oklahoma – beat rival Oklahoma State and the Sooners will be 11-1, primed for a College Football Playoff berth.

Now, the College Football Playoff field...

Next: No. 4 ??? >>>

4. Iowa

The oddsmakers don’t think much of this Hawkeyes’ team. Iowa, after all, is favored by just 1.5 points against a 5-6 Nebraska team in Lincoln, Neb. this Friday.

The College Football Playoff selection committee seems to like the Hawkeyes, though (or, at the very least, respect what they’re doing). They continue to win, so anything but a No. 4 ranking in this week’s poll (Iowa was No. 5 last week) would surprise us.

">November 21, 2015

It’s pretty simple for Iowa, too. Beat the Huskers on the road this Friday, and either Michigan State/Michigan/Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game, and Kirk Ferentz’ team will be headed to the College Football Playoff.No one will be doubting them if that happens.Next: No. 3 ??? >>>3. Notre DameDo the Fighting Irish control their own destiny? You’d think so, considering where Notre Dame was ranked last week and where it’ll likely be this week, but two teams – Alabama and Clemson – are locks to make the field if they win out. You have to think either Iowa or Michigan State is a lock to make it, too, if one of those teams wins out.So, that leaves one spot – one spot for either Notre Dame or the Big 12 champion. The Fighting Irish would probably get it over an 11-1 Baylor team, but it’ll be tough for the committee to leave out an 11-1 Oklahoma squad with wins against the Bears, TCU and Oklahoma State.

">November 22, 2015

The Sunday after conference championship Saturday will be a nervous one for Brian Kelly’s program. The Fighting Irish have to get past Stanford first, though. 

Next: No. 2 ??? >>>

2. Alabama

With Ohio State’s loss to Michigan State this past Saturday, we (in all likelihood) will not get the Crimson Tide-Buckeyes rematch in the College Football Playoff this year.

That stinks – an Urban Meyer-Nick Saban bout in one of the semifinal games or the national title game would’ve been college football at its best (or its most hype, at least).

">November 23, 2015

Unlike Ohio State, Alabama continues to take care of its business, throttling its FCS opponent this past weekend. An Iron Bowl and SEC Championship Game vs. Florida remain for the Crimson Tide. Anything short of two victories and a berth into the College Football Playoff will be stunning.Next: No. 1 ??? >>>1. ClemsonThe Tigers get South Carolina this weekend. That’ll be a win – yes, it’s a rivalry game, but the Gamecocks just lost to The Citadel. No offense, Citadel, but if you can beat South Carolina, Clemson should be able to by about 50.So, Clemson will be 12-0 heading into the ACC Championship Game. That contest looks more daunting by the week. The Tigers’ opponent in that contest, North Carolina, appears to be surging, having won 10 games in a row. 

">November 22, 2015

Does Clemson have enough to hold off a Tar Heels’ team that has won 10 straight?

We think so, but it’ll be a fun one in Charlotte.

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