Zone Power Rankings: Championship week

The College Football Playoff top 25 is set to be released for the final time in the regular season on Tuesday night. There will be plenty of shakeup this week following both No. 1 and No. 2 from last week taking their first losses of the season.

The final rankings that determine the participants in this year’s College Football Playoff will be released on Sunday, December 3, the day after the conference championships are finished.

Here is our weekly Zone top ten, as voted on by myself, Ebo Thoreson, and Zach Heilprin.

1. Clemson (30 points) – The Tigers looked dominant in their win over South Carolina on Saturday evening. It’s hard to argue that anyone is playing better football right now, except for maybe Auburn. The Tigers have a date with the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday night for the ACC crown. If Clemson wins they’ll earn a spot in the playoff, if they lose, the committee will have an awfully tough decision to make.

2. Oklahoma (26 points) – Quarterback Baker Mayfield didn’t start for the Sooners in the regular season finale against West Virginia, but that didn’t matter as they were still able to roll over the Mountaineers. They take on TCU this week for the Big 12 Championship. It’s ironic that the sole purpose of adding the extra game was to try and help the conference be represented in the playoff, and a TCU upset win could knock the conference out of it.

3. Wisconsin (24 points) – The Badgers might finally be starting to impress some people nationally. They took care of business against Minnesota this past weekend to finish the season with a perfect 12-0 record for the first time in program history. Their biggest test comes this week when they take on Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship game. A win over the Buckeyes and there is no scenario where Wisconsin fails to make the playoffs.

4. Auburn (22 points) – Auburn is the hottest team in the country, at the moment. In the past three weekends, they’ve beaten the No. 1 team in the country on two separate occasions. Their win over Alabama in the Iron Bowl was a dominating one, and sets them up to make the playoff if they can beat Georgia, again, in the SEC Championship game this weekend. That would also cap off one of the more impressive four week runs in recent memory.

5. Alabama (18 points) – The Crimson Tide suffered their first defeat at an extremely inopportune time. They didn’t look like a typical Nick Saban led squad against Auburn in the Iron Bowl. That loss means that their season is finished and the chances of them making the playoff are completely out of their control. The best bet for Tide fans is that Ohio State tops Wisconsin in a close game and the committee picks the Tide over a two-loss Buckeye team.

6. Georgia (15 points) – The Bulldogs dominated their in-state rivals, Georgia Tech, this past weekend. Their only loss to date is the thrashing they took at Auburn a few weeks back. They get the opportunity to avenge that loss and grab a seat at the playoff table with a win over the Tigers this weekend in the SEC Championship.

7. Ohio State (11 points) – The Buckeyes have been one of the most inconsistent teams in the country this season. They’ve looked really good at times, but they’ve also looked putrid at times. Despite their 31-point loss at Iowa this season, there is still talk of a potential playoff berth for the Buckeyes if they can beat Wisconsin this weekend. However, it might take another 59-0 win in order to do so.

8. Miami (8 points) – The Hurricanes suffered one of the more head-scratching defeats of the season when they lost on the road against Pitt to close out their regular season last Friday afternoon. They’ve got a date with the Clemson Tigers in the ACC Championship this weekend. If they can win that game, it might be enough to sneak into the semi-finals.

9. USC (5 points) – The Trojans are a new addition to our top 10 this week. Since their blowout loss to Notre Dame in South Bend earlier this season they’ve been on fire. While the playoffs might be out of reach for them, a win over Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship would cap off a solid season for them.

10. Penn State (4 points) – The Nittany Lions had a rather uneventful end to their regular season, thrashing Maryland by a score of 66-3. Penn State has beaten a bunch of really bad teams by large margins, but failed to knock off either of their two ranked opponents this season, Ohio State and Michigan State.

Others receiving votes: TCU (2), Central Florida (1)

College Football Playoff rankings: Week 4

The Wisconsin Badgers experienced no movement in the College Football Playoff top 25 this week. They remained No. 5 after defeating Michigan 24-10 Saturday afternoon at Camp Randall.

The Badgers had moved up at least one spot in each of the previous two polls from their initial ranking of No. 9 when the first set of rankings were released. There was very little movement in the top 10 this week, in part due to Wisconsin’s matchup with Michigan being the only matchup with a top 10 team taking on another team anywhere in the top 25. The lone move was Miami moving up to No. 2 and Clemson slipping to No. 3.

Here is the rest of the College Football Playoff top 25 for this week:
1. Alabama
2. Miami
3. Clemson
4. Oklahoma
5. Wisconsin
6. Auburn
7. Georgia
8. Notre Dame
9. Ohio State
10. Penn State
11. USC
12. TCU
13. Washington State
14. Mississippi State
15. Central Florida
16. Michigan State
17. Washington
18. Louisiana State
19. Oklahoma State
20. Memphis
21. Stanford
22. Northwestern
23. Boise State
24. South Carolina
25. Virginia Tech