We’re officially less than a week away from learning which four teams will play in this year’s College Football Playoff. Last week taught us that perfection is nearly impossible, as No. 1 Alabama fell at Jordan-Hare to Auburn and No. 2 Miami was blasted at Pittsburgh. Now, we find ourselves down to two undefeated teams: Wisconsin and UCF. This week is widely known as Championship Week, and all of the pieces to the complex puzzle that is college football will come together.
After Week 13’s insanity, this week’s rankings were in store for a shuffling. Moving up two spots to No. 1 is the defending champ, Clemson, who is coming off of a dominating win at South Carolina. Behind the Tigers is Auburn, who moves up four spots following a 26-14 win against former No. 1 Alabama. Oklahoma and Wisconsin both move up one spot to No. 3 and No. 4 after key conference wins, and rounding out the top five is Alabama, who drops four spots after the Iron Bowl.
Just outside of the top five, the SEC East champion Georgia only moves up one spot to No. 6 after a 38-7 rout at Bobby Dodd against Georgia Tech. The Dawgs will meet No. 2 Auburn in Atlanta on Saturday in a chance for revenge. Dropping five spots from No. 2 to No. 7 are the Miami Hurricanes, who will try to bounce back in Charlotte against No. 1 Clemson. Rounding out a list of playoff hopefuls is No. 8 Ohio State, who will try to ruin No. 4 Wisconsin’s perfect season Saturday night, and No. 9 Penn State and No. 10 USC.
After the hectic rivalry week, much movement in the latest rankings was expected and happened. No. 12 Stanford moved up nine spots after a dominating win against No. 15 Notre Dame, who dropped seven spots from No. 8. Moving up four spots after an Apple Cup rout is No. 13 Washington.
Dropping the most spots this week is No. 23 Mississippi State, who is still recovering from the loss against Ole Miss and the loss of Nick Fitzgerald and Dan Mullen, all in the matter of a few days.
This week features championship matchups from all of FBS’s power five conferences that will determine who gets a shot at the National Championship. In Charlotte, the ACC Championship features No. 1 Clemson and No. 7 Miami, with the champion likely in the playoff. With the return of the Big-12 Championship, No. 3 Oklahoma will travel to AT&T Stadium for a rematch with No. 11 TCU. With a win, the Sooners would find themselves all but in.
In Indianapolis, No. 4 Wisconsin will look to stay undefeated against No. 8 Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship, its biggest test this year. For the Badgers, it is simple: win and you’re in. On the flipside, Ohio State likely faces the same situation, with idle No. 5 Alabama in the way.
In the matchup of the weekend, the SEC Championship features a rematch of one of the most exciting rivalries in college football. Coming off two wins against No. 1 teams in the last three weeks, the No. 2 Auburn Tigers look to keep it rolling this weekend against the No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs. Three weeks ago, Auburn won the first matchup in Jordan-Hare, 40-17. With the Dawgs seeking revenge in Atlanta, a win for Tigers will be hard to come by. As the Kirby Smart revenge tour takes an unexpected stop, a playoff spot will be on the line.
In other conference championship matchups, No. 12 Stanford and No. 10 USC meet in San Francisco, for the Pac-12 Championship and longshot at the playoff, but more likely, a New Year’s Six bid. Likewise in Orlando, undefeated No. 14 UCF hosts No. 20 Memphis for the AAC Championship and a New Year’s Six bid. The Knights won the previous matchup earlier this year, 40-14.
In just four days, we will know what four teams will find themselves fighting for a national championship. The objective this weekend for many teams is simple: win and you’re in. After months of wondering, we are so close to receiving the answers we desperately crave. The final question we have left to ask is this: