College Football Playoff rankings: Who’s in and who’s out entering Week 13?

Master Teague III, Ohio State Buckeyes, Indiana Hoosiers. (Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports)
Master Teague III, Ohio State Buckeyes, Indiana Hoosiers. (Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports) /

The College Football Playoff picture is coming together as the weather starts to change.

Clemson and Notre Dame didn’t play to strengthen their playoff bids, but Alabama and Ohio State did and did. Undefeated BYU and Cincinnati survived to stay perfect and remain alive for a playoff miracle and Oregon kept the door open for a Pac-12 team to make the top four. However, it’s all over for Wisconsin and Indiana in their quest to make the playoff, but could it be time to consider Northwestern?

While the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes were able to hold off the No. 9 Indiana Hoosiers, the No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers managed only seven points on the road vs. the No. 19 Northwestern Wildcats who improved to 5-0. It is looking like Ohio State vs. Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship Game.

The first College Football Playoff rankings will be revealed on ESPN on Tuesday night and here are how the top four should look and the two teams with the best chance at cracking the field.

College Football Playoff teams entering Week 13

Scouting Report. 1. 829. Alabama Crimson Tide. player. Pick Analysis. SEC. (7-0)

The Alabama Crimson Tide laid the smackdown on the hapless Kentucky Wildcats. Alabama destroyed Kentucky to the tune of 63-3, making it abundantly who the best team in the land is. Nick Saban’s team is creeping ever closer to locking up the SEC West division crown. Once the Tide do that, they only need to beat the Florida Gators in Atlanta to reach the playoff for the sixth time.

In recent games, the Alabama defense has started to come on. We know the offense has been this year’s team’s calling card, but it is nice to see this Alabama team playing with such complete, dominating balance. Though Mac Jones may not win the 2020 Heisman Trophy, he just might quarterback his team to yet another national championship during the Saban era in Tuscaloosa.

ACC. (8-0). Notre Dame Fighting Irish. 2. player. Pick Analysis. 819. Scouting Report

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish were on a bye this week, so we did not get to see the second-best team in the country play some ball. Notre Dame is in the driver’s seat to get to the ACC Championship game in Charlotte. If the Irish are able to defeat the Clemson Tigers for a second time this season, they will make the College Football Playoff, possibly as the No. 1 seed.

What gives Notre Dame a legitimate shot to not only get the No. 1 seed but win the whole darn thing too, is a consistently strong defense and an increasingly more versatile offense. Notre Dame had been defined offensively by pounding the rock behind its awesome offensive line, but with the great play of quarterback Ian Book of late, the Irish may have what it takes to play for a title.

3. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Big Ten. (4-0). Ohio State Buckeyes. player. 812

Saturday was an interesting day for Ohio State. Even though Indiana is an excellent team, everyone outside of Bloomington expected the Buckeyes to win big. They only won by seven points and gave up big play after big play to Hoosiers quarterback Michael Penix Jr. Again, a win is a win, but Indiana did point out a major vulnerability with Ohio State’s roster construction.

Regardless, Ohio State just won the de facto Big Ten East Division title game over Indiana. The Buckeyes will presumably face Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship. While Northwestern is also undefeated, the Wildcats do not have the offense to keep pace with Ohio State. Then again, Peyton Ramsey can really spin it and he might learn a thing or two from his former IU teammate.

Pick Analysis. ACC. Clemson Tigers. player. 879. Scouting Report. (7-1). 4

Even though Clemson did not even play a game today, it sure feels like a loss for the Tigers. They had their game vs. the rival Florida State Seminoles postponed the day of due to COVID-19 protocols. While having games canceled and postponed are nothing new from the virus, having one put to a halt the day of had been unheard of up until now. It was ridiculous, but so is 2020.

As for Clemson’s playoff chances, they are very much right in front of them. Even with the road loss to Notre Dame on the resume, if Clemson wins out, the Tigers are getting in for the sixth year in a row as ACC Champions. The question remains if Notre Dame gets in with one loss to Clemson in the ACC Championship game as an at-large team. Either way, Clemson will be just fine.

First 2 teams out

Scouting Report. player. (6-1). Florida Gators. 5. 840. Pick Analysis. SEC

Even though they lost head-to-head, I am putting the Florida Gators a spot ahead of the Texas A&M Aggies this week for a few reasons as the No. 5 spot. One, Florida controls its own playoff destiny and Texas A&M does not. Two, Florida has the Heisman Trophy front-runner in quarterback Kyle Trask. And three, it has been a while since we have last season the Aggies play.

What this really comes down to is Florida has a decent shot to upset Alabama in the SEC Championship game. While a second loss would likely knock the Gators out of the playoff mix, they would need to drop a pair of games the rest of the way to not get to Atlanta. Simply put, Florida is getting to Atlanta, but may not have what it takes to beat Alabama when it counts.

6. 873. Pick Analysis. SEC. (5-1). Texas AM Aggies. Scouting Report. player

Texas A&M is able to hold off teams like the BYU Cougars, the Cincinnati Bearcats or even Northwestern or the Oregon Ducks for the second team out. It may not be for all that long, but once again, if the Aggies are able to play all their games and get to 9-1 on the season with their only loss being to top-seeded Alabama, that would be one heck of a playoff resume to look at.

The other separating factor between Florida and Texas A&M is Florida feels like a team that is still playing for the playoff vs. Texas A&M more or less still being technically alive. Does anybody want to play Texas A&M these days? Absolutely not, but are the Aggies truly ready to be a serious College Football Playoff contender? Today, why not, but tomorrow may be a different animal.

So how different is the playoff picture than it was a week ago? Not a lot. The only big differences are teams like Indiana and Wisconsin no longer having a realistic shot at getting in. Though no Power 5 Conference is technically eliminated from contention, it feels like we could get two teams out of either the ACC or the SEC, while the Big 12 and Pac-12 will not get a single team in.

The Big Ten was the primary area of focus in these playoff rankings projections.

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