The stage has been set. With conference championships to come, the penultimate College Football Playoff rankings continue to center on the eight teams with any hope of reaching the national semifinals.
Now we wait.
No. 1 Georgia plays No. 8 Alabama for the SEC championship. No. 3 Washington has a rematch with No. 5 Oregon to decide the final Pac-12 championship. No. 2 Michigan plays No. 16 Iowa to decide the Big Ten. No. 4 Florida State looks to win the ACC and complete an unbeaten regular season against No. 14 Louisville.
At some point after midnight on Sunday, we’ll know exactly what teams the committee will unveil atop the final rankings. Barring an unexpected barrage of upsets, the playoff will put forth perhaps the most star-studded, accomplished field in the history of the four-team format.
Here are the winners and losers from the second-to-last playoff rankings of the year:
The top five (and No. 8)
While the race for the national semifinals does go eight teams deep, only six members of this elite group can say the following: win and we’re in. This begins with Georgia, Michigan, Washington and Florida State, presenting the committee with the chance to put forth an undefeated-only playoff field. Oregon is also in with a win against the Huskies. But you can’t make the same case for No. 6 Ohio State and No. 7 Texas, which will need help to crack the top four — the Buckeyes in particular. Then there’s No. 8 Alabama, which didn’t budge in the rankings after a…