As always, these are my guesses for how this ends up.
1) Alabama (13-0)- With injuries piling up at linebacker, this is no sure thing. Alabama has to win at Auburn and then beat Georgia the following week in the SEC title game. I don’t foresee the Ohio State-Penn State 2016 scenario playing out if Auburn beats Alabama. Two loss Auburn, with a head-to-head win over Alabama, would get in over Alabama, especially with one of their losses being against Clemson. But the Tide survived against Mississippi State and still have the most complete team. I don’t like how they match-up with Oklahoma though.
2) Clemson (12-1)- The Tigers weren’t dominant against Florida State, and they’ll need to beat a good South Carolina team in the final week of the season. But Miami did not look great for seven weeks. The Hurricanes destroyed Notre Dame. I have them losing a close ACC title game to Clemson.
3) Oklahoma (12-1)- The Big 12 Championship Game is only a possible disaster this year. If Oklahoma finished 11-1, they would 100% make the playoff this year. If they lose a rematch game against TCU, or someone else, they will miss the playoff at 11-2. Oklahoma is going to destroy Kansas. They then need to beat West Virginia and win the Big 12 title.
4) Miami (11-1)- It’s pretty simple for the last spot. Would 12-1 Wisconsin, 11-2 Ohio State, 11-2 USC, 10-2 Notre Dame or some other team deserve this spot over a Hurricane team with only a loss to Clemson? I don’t think so. Their win against Notre Dame, coupled with a quality schedule is better than the other candidates. Ohio State was also not competitive in their loss to Iowa. The Hurricanes need a Wisconsin loss to Ohio State.
The playoff dispute is very easy if Alabama, Miami, Oklahoma and Wisconsin win out. The committee would have no debate about which teams belong. But we’re not far from some chaos.
1) Baker Mayfield- The race seems over. Mayfield has been electric and made up for a mediocre-to-bad Oklahoma defense. He’s on pace to win in a route.
2) Lamar Jackson- There is no great second candidate. Voters will give Jackson a second look. His stats are as good as last season. He’ll return to New York.
3) Bryce Love- His stats are fantastic, and he’ll get quite a few votes from the West Coast. That should make him the final man invited to the ceremony.