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SEC Network analysts project updated College Football Playoff rankings

13 November 2017

The Hawkeyes are 12-point underdogs and could be flat off ruining Ohio State's national title hopes.

No. 2 Alabama (-14.5) at No. 16 Mississippi State - 7 p.m. on ESPN: Alabama totally bottled up Nick Fitzgerald in this game previous year, holding him to 15 net rushing yards on 11 attempts and just 145 passing yards with a 30 percent completion rate.

Featured games in the 3:30pm ET slot include (1) Georgia at (10) Auburn, (20) Iowa at (8) Wisconsin, Florida State at (4) Clemson, and MI at Maryland.

Oklahoma is in control of the Big 12, having made it through the two-week stretch of Oklahoma State and TCU. While a tough test with Alabama in their season finale lingers the reality is that Auburn has to win this game first in order for that game to matter.

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Notre Dame comes in higher ranked, but it is the Fighting Irish (8-1) who probably have more to lose. The Buckeyes got off the deck in a big way, dominating Michigan State to climb back into the top 10 at No. 8. Clemson, ranked No. 4, will take on unranked Florida State. If the Bulldogs can knock off the SEC West champion on December 2, they probably still make the playoff, but the thumping Notre Dame took in South Florida took some air out of their biggest win of the season to date. Oklahoma and TCU are now tied atop the Big 12 standings and both sit at an overall record of 8-1 (5-1 in the Big 12). However, TCU's best non-conference win is Arkansas, and it would be interesting to see how the Frogs would stack up against Notre Dame, a second SEC or a second ACC team vying for a playoff spot.

There's the long-shot scenario in the Big Ten, which suddenly seems a bit more plausible after Ohio State smacked Michigan State, 48-3.

As the debate rages on, it will center on strength of schedule for undefeated teams like Miami and Wisconsin, and how the one-loss teams have rebounded, not to mention the "quality" of those losses.

The ACC, Big 12 and SEC steal the spotlight in Week 11 regarding marquee matchups. It's hard to imagine the playoff leaving out an unbeaten Power 5 champion like the Badgers, but they have played an absurdly easy schedule thus far. Even with road losses to Clemson and Louisiana State, they could be semifinal material. Even if they don't finish in the top two of the Big 12, the Cowboys might play their way into a New Year's Six bowl by winning out.

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After the first release of the rankings this season, Hocutt said "the committee gave a slight edge to Georgia (for No. 1) due to their win on the road against a very strong Notre Dame".

What about deserving one and two loss teams such as the Horned Frogs, Buckeyes, USC Trojans? It would also help if nobody among Oklahoma, TCU, Miami and Wisconsin won their conference championship.

The Georgia loss eliminates the chance of an undefeated showdown between Georgia and Alabama in the SEC Championship, which could have resulted in both teams making the playoff. Any of those teams would first need to win their conference and then have a string of major upsets to even be in the running four the No. 4 spot in the playoff. Which four teams do you think ultimately rise to the top?

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SEC Network analysts project updated College Football Playoff rankings