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Playoff Rankings - Week 3

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Oh, baby.

NCAA Football: Georgia at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Our third round of Playoff rankings just got released, and here’s where the Auburn Tigers stand after beating #1 Georgia 40-17 this past Saturday.

What we can glean from this is that we’ve essentially got an eight-team playoff right now.

QUARTERFINALS

#1 Alabama @ #6 Auburn — 11/25/17

The Iron Bowl’s going to decide the SEC West, and the winner gets to play Georgia. Now, it’s no foregone conclusion that the winner of the West will beat the Bulldogs, and if Georgia wins the conference and goes 12-1, they’d have to be in the playoff, right? I just believe that whoever loses the Iron Bowl is out. If it’s Auburn, that’s loss #3 and rightfully, we’re done. If it’s Alabama, then what do they have to show for their season? No titles of any kind, and wins over LSU and Mississippi State teams ranked in the low teens? Not exactly a powerful resume. You could even call this a regional semifinal if you wanted, instead of a true quarterfinal. That game probably happens in Atlanta.

#2 Clemson vs #3 Miami - 12/2/17

This one’s a no-brainer. The ACC Championship Game is already set at this point, and the Hurricanes are undefeated and one of the nation’s darlings after clowning Notre Dame on Saturday night. Everybody knows about the Turnover Chain, which I admit I believed was a ridiculously stupid gimmick early on, but it’s got that defense playing lights out right now. If Miami wins, they’re in to the playoff. If Clemson wins, they’re in to the playoff. If Clemson wins and Oklahoma gets another loss, then a close ACC Championship Game loss may still let Miami sneak in. For now, however, this is a quarterfinal game in the highest sense.

#5 Wisconsin vs #8 Ohio State - 12/2/17

It’s becoming pretty clear for the Badgers. After not playing a team that had received any votes at all in the polls, they throttled Iowa last weekend and have a chance in the next three games to beat Michigan and Ohio State. If the Badgers win out, they’re in, no questions asked. I don’t think they’re a national champion caliber team, but they’d be the class of the Big Ten.

#4 Oklahoma vs #12 TCU - 12/2/17

This one’s a bit of a reach, as it really only applies to one team. If Oklahoma doesn’t win the Big 12, then I really don’t know what the committee does. There would be a Big 12 champion with two losses, but they wouldn’t have the power of a two-loss Auburn as SEC Champion. This is where things could get messy and allow for a second SEC team or even two ACC teams to reach the playoff, but only if the Sooners aren’t conference champs.

Still a lot of football left to be played. At this point in 2014, only two of the teams in the top four of the rankings made it to the playoff. Same with 2015, and last year at this time, only three of the top four made it to the playoff. Things will change, and we’ll just have to wait and see how they do.

War Eagle!