Alabama, Oregon, and Florida State will remain in that order in the Playoff rankings on Tuesday, unless someone misspells a team on his or her ballot or something. And if all three win out, that's your Playoff top three.
For the No. 4 spot, where I had Ohio State last week, I'm going back to Baylor. It's still really close, with TCU also in there, but the Buckeyes now have an immediate transitive loss to Wake Forest, maybe the country's worst power-conference team. OSU's Virginia Tech loss, which was becoming respectable, is now awful all over again. Beating an Indiana team that beat Missouri surely helps, but there's no way to know how much.
If Baylor beats Kansas State, it likely tops TCU thanks to head-to-head, unless the Frogs' win over Minnesota gets even more valuable next Saturday in Madison. And a win over a K-State team ranking No. 10 or 11 should also trump an Ohio State win over a Wisconsin team ranking No. 14 or so.
As for Mississippi State, I don't think two SEC teams get in, no matter what. If Bama loses to Auburn or Georgia, either Bulldogs team could go. If Bama loses to Mizzou, an 11-1 MSU could.
To the picks!
College Football Playoff
|Rose||No. 2 Oregon||No. 3 Florida State||1/1/2015||Pasadena, CA|
|Sugar||No. 1 Alabama||No. 4 Baylor||1/1/2015||New Orleans, LA|
The Ducks actually have a chance to steal No. 1, even if Bama doesn't lose. If Utah leaves the top 25, Oregon likely still has more ranked wins than Bama does at this point, and that's something the committee seems to care about.
Alabama could pick up two more of those, against Auburn and Georgia/Missouri, but if Arizona and UCLA keep winning, the Ducks could finish with three wins against teams near the top 10 (two over UCLA and one over Michigan State), plus an Arizona loss about as good as Alabama's to Ole Miss (which just got crushed, 30-0, by Arkansas).
If Bama and Oregon win out, they both get geographically friendly bowls either way. That means the No. 1 seed's advantage likely would be not having to play Jameis Winston's zombie Noles in the semifinal. This totally unshakeable FSU team with a month to heal sounds scary, whether No. 4's a better team or not.
The rest of the New Year's Six
The Orange takes the top-ranked non-Playoff teams from the ACC and from the listed group. The other three take the top-ranked non-Playoff teams in general, including the top-ranked non-power champion. The committee pairs at-large bowls by geography and matchups.
|Cotton||TCU||Ohio State||1/1/2015||Arlington, TX||At-large|
|Fiesta||Boise State||UCLA||12/31/2014||Glendale, AZ||At-large|
|Orange||Georgia Tech||Mississippi State||12/31/2014||Miami, FL||ACC 1 vs. Big Ten/Notre Dame/SEC|
|Peach||Michigan State||Georgia||12/31/2014||Atlanta, GA||At-large|
Everyone in Week 12's New Year's group survived Week 13, with the only significant change being Baylor and Ohio State swapping levels. Only one Texas team here makes for a tidier Cotton Bowl.
The Broncos look likely to crowd Colorado State out of the designated mid-major spot, but this spot becomes a tougher call next week if Tuesday finally sees 11-0 Marshall enter the Playoff rankings. I don't know how you keep an 11-0 team unranked, but I didn't know how you keep a 10-0 team unranked, either.
Bowl pecking orders are not based on conference standings. Those numbers in the right column note which bowls pick in which order.
|GoDaddy||Northern Illinois||South Alabama||1/4/2015||Mobile, AL||MAC 1 vs. Sun Belt 2|
|Birmingham||Memphis||LSU||1/3/2015||Birmingham, AL||American vs. SEC 9|
|Alamo||Oklahoma||Arizona State||1/2/2015||San Antonio, TX||Big 12 2 vs. Pac-12 2|
|Armed Forces||Houston||Rutgers||1/2/2015||Fort Worth, TX||American vs. Army/Big 12 7/Big Ten|
|Cactus||Arkansas State**||Stanford||1/2/2015||Tempe, AZ||Big 12 6 vs. Pac-12 7 (MWC backup)|
|TaxSlayer||Miami||South Carolina||1/2/2015||Jacksonville, FL||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Citrus||Wisconsin||Auburn||1/1/2015||Orlando, FL||Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 2|
|Outback||Maryland||Ole Miss||1/1/2015||Tampa, FL||Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Belk||Clemson||Tennessee||12/30/2014||Charlotte, NC||ACC 3-6 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Music City||Nebraska||Missouri||12/30/2014||Nashville, TN||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Foster Farms||Iowa||USC||12/30/2014||Santa Clara, CA||Big Ten 5-7 vs. Pac-12 4|
|Liberty||West Virginia||Arkansas||12/29/2014||Memphis, TN||Big 12 5 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Russell Athletic||Louisville||Kansas State||12/29/2014||Orlando, FL||ACC 2 vs. Big 12 3|
|Texas||Texas||Texas A&M||12/29/2014||Houston, TX||Big 12 4 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Holiday||Minnesota||Arizona||12/27/2014||San Diego, CA||Big Ten 2-4 vs. Pac-12 3|
|Independence||NC State||Florida||12/27/2014||Shreveport, LA||ACC vs. SEC (C-USA backup)|
|Military||Cincinnati||Virginia Tech||12/27/2014||Annapolis, MD||American vs. ACC|
|Pinstripe||Notre Dame||Penn State||12/27/2014||New York, NY||ACC 3-6 vs. Big Ten 5-7|
|Sun||Duke||Utah||12/27/2014||El Paso, TX||ACC 3-6 vs. Pac-12 5|
|Bitcoin||UCF||North Carolina||12/26/2014||St. Petersburg, FL||American vs. ACC|
|Quick Lane||Boston College||Central Michigan||12/26/2014||Detroit, MI||ACC (MAC backup) vs. Big Ten (MAC backup)|
|Heart of Dallas||Northwestern||Louisiana Tech||12/26/2014||Dallas, TX||Big Ten/Big 12 7 vs. C-USA|
|Bahamas||Marshall||Toledo||12/24/2014||Nassau, BS||C-USA vs. MAC 4/5|
|Hawaii||Rice||Fresno State||12/24/2014||Honolulu, HI||C-USA vs. MWC 2-7|
|Boca||UAB||Western Michigan||12/23/2014||Boca Raton, FL||C-USA vs. MAC 4/5|
|Poinsettia||San Diego State||Navy||12/23/2014||San Diego, CA||MWC 2-7 vs. Navy|
|Miami Beach||East Carolina||BYU*||12/22/2014||Miami, FL||American vs. BYU|
|Camelia||Akron||Texas State||12/20/2014||Montgomery, AL||MAC 3 vs. Sun Belt 3 (ACC backup)|
|Las Vegas||Colorado State||Washington||12/20/2014||Las Vegas, NV||MWC 1 vs. Pac-12 6|
|New Mexico||UTEP||Utah State||12/20/2014||Albuquerque, NM||C-USA vs. MWC 2-7|
|New Orleans||UL Lafayette||Air Force||12/20/2014||New Orleans, LA||Sun Belt 1 vs. MWC 2-7|
|Potato||Bowling Green||Nevada||12/20/2014||Boise, ID||MAC 2 vs. MWC 2-7|
* Already accepted bid.
** Filling another conference's unused slot.
Joining us are Fresno State and Stanford. Leaving us are Cal and Ohio.
Appalachian State and Georgia Southern aren't here despite having six wins, due to the NCAA's FBS transition rules. They could make it in if there aren't enough bowl-eligible teams, but right now it looks like there will be too many. I can't find room for Middle Tennessee, Ohio, Temple, and Western Kentucky as it is.