Two weeks into the College Football Playoff rankings, very little has been settled.
We know that the SEC again will have at least one team in the final four — either Alabama or Georgia. And maybe even both if the SEC championship game is close and the other conferences stub their toes.
Before then, the Crimson Tide will be tested in two difficult road games beginning Saturday at Mississippi State. Then on Nov. 25, Nick Saban has to take his squad to Auburn.
Georgia’s final few weeks should be much smoother since Kirby Smart’s team already has clinched the SEC East Division. The Bulldogs (9-0, 6-0) do have to play Auburn and rival Georgia Tech, but both those games are in Athens, Ga. Auburn visits Sanford Stadium on Saturday, while Georgia Tech follows on Nov. 25 in the regular-season finale.
The Big Ten is the conference that has made life more difficult for its teams. Ohio State appeared to be in command in the East Division before being routed 55-24 at Iowa last weekend. That means either Ohio State ((7-2, 5-1) or Michigan State (7-2, 5-1) could go a long way toward clinching a spot in the conference championship game with a win Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. Mark Dantonio’s Spartans beat Penn State 27-24 last week, which means the Nittany Lions (7-2, 4-2) have lost the tiebreaker edge to both the Buckeyes and Spartans by a combined four points in the last two weeks.
Meanwhile, even if unbeaten Wisconsin (9-0. 6-0) wins the Big Ten title, the Badgers may still need some help to climb into the final four teams. With four CFP polls to go, Wisconsin is No. 8 because of its strength of schedule. Paul Chryst’s team hosts Iowa on Saturday and Michigan next week.
Defending national champion Clemson ((8-1, 6-1) will represent the Atlantic Division in another ACC title game with Saturday’s home game against beleaguered Florida State representing the Tigers’ final conference test of the regular season.
Meanwhile, Miami (8-0, 6-0) has clinched the Coastal Division, but independent Notre Dame could still deliver a blow by beating the Hurricanes on Saturday. While the Fighting Irish can’t harm UM’s standing in the ACC as a non-football member, it could halt the Canes from making up needed ground in the CFP poll. Despite being unbeaten, Mark Richt’s team is only No. 8.
In the Big 12, Oklahoma 8-1, 5-1) and TCU (8-1, 5-1) are ranked No. 5 and No. 6 heading into Saturday’s showdown in Norman, Okla.
As an independent, No. 3 Notre Dame (8-1) will need to beat Miami since its final games against Navy and Stanford offer little chance for a boost.