College Football Playoff 2016: Final Four Predictions After 5th Top 25 Rankings

College Football Playoff 2016: Final Four Predictions After 5th Top 25 Rankings

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

We’re getting closer. 

On Tuesday, the College Football Playoff committee released its fifth Top 25 rankings of the season, which was its final poll before Selection Sunday on Dec. 4 cements the national semifinal. 

Here is a look at how the rankings panned out on Tuesday night:

Final Four Predictions

CFP Semifinal Predictions
Bowl Team Team
Peach Bowl No. 1 Alabama No. 4 Washington
Fiesta Bowl No. 2 Clemson No. 3 Ohio State



The Crimson Tide look as unstoppable as ever in 2016, and its last test before a certain semifinal berth is the SEC title game against No. 15 Florida. 

Alabama hasn’t lost to the Gators since 2008, which included a 29-15 SEC Championship Game win last season.  

But this Alabama team looks far more potent on offense behind quarterback Jalen Hurts. The offense is scoring almost 40 points per game, while the defense is the best in the nation, allowing just 11.4 points per game.  

And it’s not like the Crimson Tide used the weaker portion of its schedule to pad those defensive stats. In six of its eight SEC games, Alabama’s defense allowed 14 or fewer points. 

Florida’s offense, which is ranked 106th in the country, won’t stand a chance come Saturday. 



Clemson might be the only other surefire team that makes the semifinal if it defeats No. 23 Virginia Tech on Saturday. 

The 11-1 Tigers have only played a pair of ranked teams this entire season, but it beat them both in the forms of Florida State and Louisville. 

Deshaun Watson has been lost at times in the Lamar Jackson-mania, but he is still one of the best quarterbacks in the country and showed this season that he can get things done with his arm more than his legs. 

He’s surrounded by weapons in running back Wayne Gallman and wide receiver Mike Williams. Gallman piled up 14 touchdowns this year, while Williams is an elite wide receiver with 1,114 yards and 10 touchdowns. 

Along with a defense that’s tied for eighth-best in the nation, all Clemson has to do is win on Saturday and it’ll be in. 


Ohio State

Yes, Ohio State will not have a Big Ten championship. In fact, it won’t even compete for it, as No. 7 Penn State squares off against No. 6 Wisconsin on Saturday night. 

But the Buckeyes are still one of the strongest teams in the nation, and they proved that against No. 5 Michigan on Nov. 26 with a 30-27 double-overtime win. 

With four wins against ranked opponents and an 11-1 record, Ohio State’s resume is more impressive than Penn State’s and Wisconsin’s:

Ohio State Stats vs. Penn State, Wisconsin
Team Record Losses To Offensive Rank Defensive Rank
Ohio State 11-1 Penn State 9th 4th
Penn State 10-2 Pitt, Michigan 28th T-30th
Wisconsin 10-2 Michigan, Ohio St. 69th 3rd

Regardless of the Big Ten Championship Game’s result, it should be Ohio State playing in the Peach Bowl come New Year’s Eve. 



If Washington were to lose the Pac-12 Championship Game against No. 8 Colorado, then it could leave the door open for the Big Ten champion to get into the semifinal. 

But I don’t see the Huskies losing to the Buffaloes. 

Jake Browning is one of the best pure passers in the country, leading one of the most potent offenses that put up 44.8 points per game this season. The defense is often lost in the discussion, though, with a top-10 ranking of its own.

A conference championship should be enough for Washington to make the playoff considering Colorado would be the fourth ranked team it would beat this season.


Stats courtesy of