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What we learned from the third College Football Playoff Rankings

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The chase continues.

Georgia v Auburn Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the third College Football Playoff rankings were revealed. In it, the SEC boasted three teams among the Top 7 of the rankings. The Alabama Crimson Tide were unsurprisingly named the No. 1 team. Then there was the Auburn Tigers, who jumped up to No. 6. And No. 7 was the Georgia Bulldogs, the former top team, who were toppled by aforementioned Auburn over the weekend.

After this busy week, things are fixing to get even more chaotic as the season continues. Not just in the SEC, but everywhere else too. Here are a few takeaways from Tuesday night’s reveal.

Alabama is in prime position, but they better be careful

There are three guarantees in life it seems: Death, taxes, and Alabama being in the College Football Playoff. They are the only team to make the CFB Playoff in each of the last three seasons. It seems inevitable that the Tide will make that four by the time the regular season ends. They are unbeaten to this point, and while they were challenged more than usual this past Saturday, they still survived Mississippi State’s onslaught in Starkville and were rewarded for such.

However, they don’t have to look too far to see what happens if things don’t fall their way. Georgia slipped all the way to 7th after being annihilated over the weekend. And... guess what? In two weeks, Alabama will have to do the same thing Georgia did: Go to Jordan-Hare to take on the rival Tigers in their place. It will no doubt be a hostile and hot crowd that afternoon — hell, it always is —- so ‘Bama had best be careful. Because Auburn’s best shot looks pretty damn good.

Georgia fell big, but they shouldn’t be too fearful

The Bulldogs may’ve tumbled all the way down to 7th place in the rankings. This much is true. However, so long as they defeat the Kentucky Wildcats and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, UGA will have a chance to crack the Top 4 again in December. In the SEC Championship, they will face either Auburn again or aforementioned Alabama. Either team looks likely to be in the Top 4 when that meeting in Atlanta occurs. So, they’ll have a chance to earn another quality win. They just cannot afford another slip up now. Luckily for them, nothing bad has ever happened to a Georgia sports team down the stretch*.

(* = Please don’t come after me, UGA fans. I’m a broken Atlanta Falcons fan. I’m just trying to humor myself. :(.)

The ACC’s spot will be decided on the final weekend

The Clemson Tigers, perhaps controversially, were ranked higher than the Miami-Florida Hurricanes in this week’s poll. Clemson, the defending National Champs, have a boatload of Top 25 wins, which appears to be the reason they’re ahead of the undefeated Hurricanes. Whether or not that’s legitimate reason — they do have a loss, and The U does not — this situation is going to resolve itself in the end, anyway.

Miami is assured of a chance to play in the ACC Title Game finally. Clemson is fixing to do the exact same thing. The conference championship game, like the SEC’s, looks to be a proverbial play-in game. So, whatever you make of these “controversies,” Clemson and Miami will be deciding who’s more worthy on the field. That’s what we want in the end, is it not?

Suddenly, Wisconsin’s chances look pretty good...

As if they weren’t going to be in the end, the Wisconsin Badgers are on the cusp of making the Top 4. The Badgers are ranked 5th in these latest rankings, and justifiably so. Although many bemoan the fact that Wisconsin hasn’t played anyone of note, no Power 5 team that’s unbeaten is going to be left out of the Playoff. Period. Doubly so when they’ll likely have a chance to knock off a Top 10 team.

Wisconsin’s chances are improved by the fact that:

The Ohio State factor is, really, what is most important. The Buckeyes, despite their losses to the Oklahoma Sooners (more on them in a bit) and Iowa Hawkeyes, have been damn impressive when they’re actually playing at their caliber. If all goes right, Ohio State will likely be in the Top 6 come December 2. That gives the Badgers a ripe opportunity to earn a quality win and assure themselves of a spot in the Playoff.

If they drop one to either Michigan or the Minnesota Golden Gophers, then their chances are obviously much lower. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, however (famous last words). So, Wisconsin is in good shape. As if there was any doubt.

...And Oklahoma, meanwhile, should be concerned

The Sooners have earned plenty of quality wins this season. They have taken down the TCU Horned Frogs, Oklahoma State Cowboys and Ohio State. Heck, they beat the last two of those three in their home dwellings of Stillwater and Columbus. And yet, with Wisconsin breathing down their necks, OU will have to walk down a tightrope the rest of the way.

That loss to Iowa St. Cyclones back in early October may well come back to haunt them if things go sour for them. The Sooners should be able to barrel through the Kansas Jayhawks and West Virginia Mountaineers the rest of the way. It’s a good thing that’s the only thing they have to worry about this year, and not some wonky conference title game against a team they already played this year or anything crazy like that.

Oh, right. They do. Well, it’s not like Oklahoma has ever seen their title dreams go up in smoke because of a conference title game. No, sir. That’s never happened before.

Oh... right. Sorry, Ell Roberson and Darren Sproles. I shouldn’t have forgotten you.