Playoff projections see shifts after rivalry weekend


by - Staff Writer -
Playoff projections see shifts after rivalry weekend

One Playoff spot looks clinched after rivalry weekend - or has it?

ESPN's Playoff Predictor gives the Fighting Irish an over 99 percent chance to make the CFP after finishing 12-0 with a 24-17 win at Southern Cal Saturday.

With no championship game ahead for them, ESPN's FiveThirtyEight CFP model sees a different picture if the favorites hold, with Ohio State and Oklahoma (69) tied for the third and fourth-best odds and Notre Dame the odd team out (62). Even the website's founder is skeptical on that call.

The shuffle over those third and fourth spots affect Clemson depending on where the Tigers finish in the final poll with one game to go to clinch their berth Saturday.

CBS Sports projects an unchanged Orange Bowl matchup between Clemson and Notre Dame, with Ohio State slipping into the Cotton to face Alabama.

An Alabama loss to Georgia changes the picture. 538 sees Alabama slipping all the way out of the top-four in that scenario if Ohio State and Oklahoma both win (14 percent shot to 65 for Buckeyes and 63 for Sooners), just an Ohio State win (26 percent; 82 for Ohio State) or just an Oklahoma win (23 percent for Alabama; 83 percent for Oklahoma).

CBS doesn't agree with that assessment, however, saying Alabama "would still be no worse than No. 4 in the final CFP rankings" with a loss Saturday.

As for the rankings this week, ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit has a top-four of Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and then Georgia, with Oklahoma and Ohio State next, and with three upsets in the top-10, that appears to be the projected poll in Sunday's votes and Tuesday's new CFP committee ranking.

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