By Brian Wolf (@bwolf_17)
The current top four teams in the latest College Football Playoff rankings were all victorious on Saturday. All four teams, Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame will remain in the top four, but will it be in that same order? There were many teams on the outside looking in that lost on Saturday and hurt their playoff chances.
Number one Clemson traveled up north to central New York where they took on a 3-6 Syracuse Orange team. After taking a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, Clemson saw Syracuse come back to tie it up. The Tigers then went up by two scores, and never saw their lead less than 7 points. Clemson went on to win by a final score of 37-27 to remain undefeated. Nick Saban and Alabama were also on the roading taking on Dak Prescott and Mississippi State. Behind the running attack of Heisman hopeful Derrick Henry, Alabama took care of their business with a 31-6 victory. Henry rushed the ball 22 times for 204 yards and two scores. Henry has rushed for over 200 yards in three of the last four games.
If it was not for a field goal in the second quarter, the Ohio State Buckeyes would have shut up Illinois. In his first action since his DUI, J.T. Barrett threw for 150 yards with one touchdown and one interception to go along with 74 rushing yards and a score. Ezekiel Elliott got his fair share of touches, rushing the ball 27 times for 181 yards and two scores. Former Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller had two receptions for -4 yards in the Buckeyes 28-3 win over the Fighting Illini. Freshman running back Joshua Adams set a Notre Dame record with a 98 yard touchdown run. Adams finished with 141 total yards on the ground in the Fighting Irish 28-7 over Wake Forest. Sophomore quarterback DeShone Kizer completed 68% of his passes for 111 yards. On the ground, the mobile quarterback rushed for 30 yards and two scores.
Now for how these four teams will stack up come Tuesday night, I would move Alabama and Ohio State up a spot, and slide Clemson to the three. With the seasons coming to a close, both Alabama and Ohio State went on the road and took care of their business in convincing styles. Clemson on the other hand struggled against a bad Syracuse team and a fourth string quarterback. The Tigers have two wins against ranked opponents, both of those coming at home against Notre Dame and Florida State. For Alabama, their lone loss came early on in the season against Ole Miss and Chad Kelly, but have since demolished Georgia, defeated an up and coming Arkansas team, and handled LSU and then Heisman favorite Leonard Fournette. Ohio State can make or break their next two weeks when they host Michigan State and then travel to Ann Arbor the final week of the regular season.
Four teams looking in from the outside that have a slim chance, include an undefeated Iowa team who will play in the Big Ten championship against either Ohio State or Michigan State. Speaking of the Spartans, they travel to Columbus Saturday in what could be a pivotal game for both squads. College Game Day will be in attendance for what is a playoff game for both teams. Oklahoma is coming off an impressive victory on the road at Baylor behind the song player of Baker Mayfield. The Sooners host TCU and then take on their instate rivals Oklahoma State, the last Saturday of the season. Speaking of teams that still have a chance, the Cowboys and Mike Gundy have a legit chance of moving up as they finish the season at home with games against Baylor and Oklahoma. Win those final two and the committee will have a tough time trying to keep them out.