All that’s left before college football bowl game season is a weekend of conference championship matchups. In the meantime, fans are arguing over which teams deserve spots in the four-team playoff.
So which teams have the most impressive resumes, through 12 games each? Here’s a look at the top contenders.
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1. OHIO STATE (12-0, 9-0 Big Ten)
Five best wins: By 31 vs. Wisconsin (10-2); By 11 vs. Penn State (10-2); By 42 vs. Cincinnati (10-2); By 29 at Michigan (9-3); By 23 vs. Florida Atlantic (9-3)
Next: vs. Wisconsin (10-2) in Big Ten title game
Other: All three of OSU’s nonconference foes made their conference title game.
2. LSU (12-0, 8-0 SEC)
Five best wins: By 5 at Alabama (10-2); By 14 vs. Florida (10-2); By 3 vs. Auburn (9-3); By 7 at Texas (7-5); By 43 vs Texas A&M (7-5)
Next: vs. Georgia (11-1) in the SEC title game
Other: Tigers rank second nationally, behind OSU, with 584 points scored.
3. CLEMSON (12-0, 8-0 ACC)
Five best wins: By 49 vs. Wake Forest (8-4); By 14 vs. Texas A&M (7-5); By 35 at Louisville (7-5); By 42 vs. Charlotte (7-5); By 31 vs. Florida State (6-6)
Games left: vs. Virginia (9-3) in ACC title game
Other: Clemson has made the four-team playoff four years in a row.
4. GEORGIA (11-1, 7-1 SEC)
Five best wins: By 7 neutral site vs. Florida (10-2), By 6 vs. Notre Dame (10-2); By 7 at Auburn (9-3), By 6 vs. Texas A&M (7-5); By 29 at Tennessee (7-5)
Loss: By 3 vs. South Carolina (4-8)
Games left: vs. LSU (12-0) in the SEC title game
Other: Bulldogs are 4-1 in games decided by 7 points or less
5. UTAH (11-1, 8-1 Pac-12)
Five best wins: By 18 at BYU (7-5); By 5 at Washington (7-5); By 35 vs. Cal (7-5); By 18 vs. Arizona St (7-5); By 25 vs. Washington St (6-6)
Loss: By 7 at USC (8-4)
Games left: vs. Oregon (10-2) in Pac-12 title game
Other: Utes played only one team with 8 or more wins (loss to USC).
6. OKLAHOMA (11-1, 8-1 Big 12)
Five best wins: By 3 at Baylor (11-1); By 18 vs Oklahoma St (8-4); By 1 vs. Iowa St (7-5); By 7 neutral site vs. Texas (7-5); By 4 vs. TCU (5-7)
Loss: By 7 at Kansas St (8-4)
Games left: vs. Baylor (11-1) in the Big 12 title game
Other: Oklahoma has won the past four Big 12 championships.
7. BAYLOR (10-1, 7-1 Big 12)
Five best wins: By 18 at Oklahoma St (8-4), By 19 at Kansas St (8-4), By 2 vs. Iowa St (7-5), By 14 vs. Texas (7-5), By 6 at TCU (5-7)
Loss: By 3 vs. Oklahoma (11-1)
Games left: vs. Oklahoma (11-1) in the Big 12 title game
Other: The last non-Oklahoma Big 12 champ was Baylor in 2014.
On the outside looking in are two-loss powers Alabama, Florida, Minnesota, Penn State, Wisconsin, Oregon and Notre Dame. The only way any of them has much of a shot at the playoff is if Georgia and Utah lose, and Baylor beats Oklahoma in a sloppy Big 12 title game.
There are also three other one-loss teams — Memphis, Boise State and Appalachian State — leading the Group of Five conferences’ charge for a major bowl bid.
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