Alabama may have won its way into the Final Four, but will the committee decide if Mississippi State lost its way out? The Crimson Tide held home field in Week 12's biggest game, but most of the Top 10 remained unscathed this week. Arizona State's loss to Oregon State meant Baylor inched a step closer to TCU, but here's our Final Four heading into Week 13.
The Ducks sat at home on Saturday and watched Mississippi State take its first loss and Florida State struggle (again). The Ducks take the top spot because they have three top 25 wins and their loss, though it came at home, was only by a touchdown against Arizona, a two-loss team. That's a stout resume.
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The Crimson Tide wrestled control of the SEC West away from Mississippi State and earned a fourth quality win (WVU, A&M, LSU, MSU) for their resume. Alabama will take a rest this week against Western Carolina, but still has to get through Auburn and the SEC East champion to qualify for the playoff field.
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3. Florida State
When was the last time a team was this universally reviled among fans of college football? It's a perfect storm of weak schedules, close losses and off-field issues, and the weekly ritual of America rooting against the Seminoles is quite the sight. FSU is probably not be one of the four best teams in college football, but if you go undefeated in a Power 5 conference, there's no way you're getting left out of the playoff. It still feels wrong if FSU gets a playoff bid without a win over a top 25 team, which is a real possibility.
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The Frogs escaped Lawrence with an ugly win that cost them a bit of street cred, but TCU still has four quality wins and their only loss came by a last-second field goal on the road to a borderline top five team. (My sources tell me that team was Baylor. However, TCU's resume exceeds Baylor's enough to make the head-to-head result not the be-all, end-all.) TCU doesn't have any more opportunities to impress the committee and may need losses from a team above it (and maybe a team below it) to actually make the playoff.
Just missed: Mississippi State, Baylor, Ohio State
How the committee treats Mississippi State this week will be fascinating. The SEC West's strength took a hit this week with Auburn, Texas A&M and LSU all losing. Two lost to SEC East teams and another lost to Arkansas, giving the Hogs their first SEC win in 18 games. Ohio State has now assumed the position of the nation's hottest team after wins over Michigan State and Minnesota. Would a win over Melvin Gordon and Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game be enough to push the Buckeyes into the top four with a loss from a team above them?