Playoff Rankings Preview: Final Debates as the Field Is Cut to Eight

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Are the Oklahoma Sooners now the team to beat in college football?

LSU moved up another spot to No. 17 in the College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday.

Should the No. 8 Buckeyes beat No. 4 Wisconsin to win the Big Ten title, the committee would have to decide whether their résumé - with a conference title and two losses, including to Iowa - is enough to catapult them ahead of one-loss Alabama. If the rankings held it would then turn to No. 5 Alabama, which is the highest-ranked available team meeting that criteria. 2 Miami last weekend.

The Hurricanes (10-1, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) were ranked No. 2 in last week's poll, but they fell out of the top four after a 24-14 loss at Pittsburgh in the final game of the regular season.

The Orange Bowl is the only one with reserved spots because of conference affiliations.

A victory over the Buckeyes should secure a berth in the playoff, which began in 2014.

The final rankings will be revealed at 11 a.m. on Sunday on ESPN. First off, the No. 1 team gets to play in the national semifinal closer to home, which means any East Coast No. 2 team has to haul itself to Pasadena, Calif., to play in the Rose Bowl.

The win completed Michigan State's flip from 3-9 in 2016 to 9-3 this season. A list of Ohio State's radio affiliates can be found here.

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The Pac-12 appears to be locked out of the playoff so it is a safe bet that the victor of its championship game between Stanford and Southern California (10-2) winds up in the Fiesta Bowl.

It has had to make its mere seven wins against Power Five teams count, and that it has, throttling both Georgia and Alabama, the only two teams to rank No. 1 so far this season.

Most pundits envision, as a top four heading into this weekend's conference championships, Clemson (11-1), Oklahoma (11-1), Wisconsin (12-0) and Auburn (10-2).

UW coach Paul Chryst, speaking on a teleconference earlier this week, made it clear that the players' focus will be on attempting to win the Big Ten title for the first time since 2012.

This puts teams like Alabama in a weird situation where they actually want their hated rival Auburn to win all their games that are not against the Crimson Tide. That is saying a lot.

All that could change with Auburn and Georgia playing Saturday for the SEC championship and Wisconsin and Ohio State playing Saturday for the Big 10 title. "That's what every bit of our focus will be on".

"The CFB Playoff Selection Committee did it past year with Ohio State, but I don't think they want to do it again". They'd be in; Auburn would fall out. Unfortunately, we get a little caught up in the madness sometimes and lose sight of the game itself.

"The Selection Committee had questions as to are they as balanced of a team as some others that are ranked just above them, and we analyzed their schedule, have they really been tested on the defensive side of the ball this year, and if so, by who, and based on that conversation, we ranked them in that 14th spot this week", Hocutt said.

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