The College Football Playoff committee will have a more challenging time deciding who the top four teams are this year. Usually, the top contenders will have a non-conference win or two to boost their resume. But not this year.
This year, it will be all about the quality of their conference and the quality of their wins. If the committee holds strictly to that, the decision could be a tough one. So, who is going to make it in?
There is still a lot of football left to be played, but the oddsmakers at DraftKings have placed odds on the following teams:
- Alabama: Yes -1000 No +450
- Brigham Young: Yes +900 No -10000
- Cincinnati: Yes +400 No -1000
- Clemson: Yes -500 No +275
- Florida: Yes +190 No -305
- Notre Dame: Yes -305 No +180
- Ohio State: Yes -1000 No +450
Based on the odds, it looks like the Final Four this year will be Notre Dame, Clemson, Alabama, and Ohio State. If Alabama and Ohio State win out, they will be two of the final four teams. Neither faces a real challenge until they get to their respective conference title game, so their chances are looking good.
However, Alabama could face a tough challenge from Florida, but as long as they are still ranked No. 1, they will not fall out of the top four.
If either Clemson or Notre Dame wins out, that team will also be in. But to do so will mean one has to beat the other in the ACC title game. Notre Dame did beat Clemson earlier this season, but the Tigers were without Trevor Lawrence.
Then again, it wasn’t D.J. Uiagalelei’s (Clemson’s quarterback while Lawrence was out) fault Notre Dame had over 500 yards of offense and scored 47 points.
An undefeated Notre Dame team would make it into the Final Four, but then who would be the fourth team? Florida fans will want their team to make it in, even if they lose to Alabama in the SEC title game.
But the committee may keep a two-loss Clemson team rather than include a two-loss Florida team. So, for Florida to make it in, they have to beat Alabama in the SEC championship and hope one of the other top four teams also lose.
What about Cincinnati and Brigham Young? Both are on track to finish the regular season undefeated and have looked like potential contenders. Could this be the year a non-Power Five team makes it in?
For that to happen, chaos is going to have to break out inside the top five. Ohio State, Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson, and Texas A&M will need to lose at least two of their final games. Should that happen, the door will be open for an undefeated Cincinnati and BYU team to move up.
However, the door may just as well open for the Big 12 and Pac-12 winners to get in. Whoever upsets Ohio State in the Big Ten will also be a strong candidate.
So—how should you bet?
The safest bet would be to take the four favorites, Clemson, Alabama, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. But Notre Dame or Clemson will likely drop out when someone loses to the other in the ACC title game. However, don’t assume Florida, BYU, or Cincinnati will get the nod. Texas A&M could end up being No. 4.