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New College Football Playoff rankings show each title game’s CHAOS POWER

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Here’s how much havoc all 10 conference championships are capable of wreaking.

SEC Championship - Auburn v Georgia Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

First, here are the final College Football Playoff rankings of the year before Selection Sunday after the weekend’s conference title games. The only new thing of really major interest is where Ohio State ranks in relation to Oklahoma, since those two have a very good chance of being pitted against each other on Sunday.

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Notre Dame
  4. Georgia
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Ohio State
  7. Michigan
  8. UCF
  9. Florida
  10. LSU
  11. Washington
  12. Penn State
  13. Washington State
  14. Texas
  15. Kentucky
  16. West Virginia
  17. Utah
  18. Mississippi State
  19. Texas A&M
  20. Syracuse
  21. Northwestern
  22. Boise State
  23. Iowa State
  24. Missouri
  25. Fresno State

Sure, there hasn’t been all that much season-changing chaos on college football’s final Saturday as of late. 2017’s SEC Championship game with Georgia beating Auburn and Ohio State crushing Wisconsin in 2014 were the only real Playoff-altering upsets.

But during a season without many major upsets during the regular season, we’re bound to get some drama, right?

Knowing that, let’s rank all of Saturday’s conference championships by all the mayhem an upset could cause.

1. SEC Championship — Alabama vs. Georgia: A rematch of last year’s thrilling national title game, this has easily the most MAYHEM FACTOR. If the Dawgs beat the Tide, don’t be shocked if we see two SEC teams make it into the playoff for a second consecutive year of #SECBias complaints. And the fact that Notre Dame has already clinched a spot leaves just one other spot left for a fourth team to squeak in. YEAH, THINGS WOULD GET PRETTY CHAOTIC.

2. ACC Championship — Clemson vs. Pitt: Mediocre Pitt teams have given top-ranked teams trouble consistently over the years, including 2016 Clemson.

If Pitt pulls off an upset, a one-loss Tigers team isn’t totally guaranteed to make it in. The committee cares in some way about strength of schedule, and Clemson’s is ranked 79th in S&P+. Even though the Tigers have looked like the best team on the field a lot of Saturdays, the committee wouldn’t like that schedule paired with a loss to 7-5 Pitt.

If Pitt wins, they’d earn a Peach of Fiesta Bowl bid, since the ACC’s Orange Bowl is a Playoff semifinal this year. An 8-5 team in a major bowl! Hello, chaos!

3. Big Ten Championship — Ohio State vs. Northwestern: The Buckeyes are 14.5-point favorites. But if the four-loss Wildcats find a way to upset OSU, we would be looking at a Rose Bowl featuring 9-4 Northwestern! The same team that lost to Akron! Get crazy, folks!

4. Big 12 Championship — Oklahoma vs. Texas: This is a rematch of October’s Red River Shootout, thanks to the conference’s silly title game that will always be a rematch. If Texas upsets the Sooners a second time, the Longhorns clinch a Sugar Bowl berth. Texas in a New Year’s Six bowl is way less funny than Pitt or Northwestern, hence the Big 12’s No. 4 ranking on this list.

5. AAC Championship — UCF vs. Memphis: These teams played each other earlier in the season, when the Knights eked out a 31-30 victory. This time, the Knights are without star quarterback McKenzie Milton due to injury.

If Memphis knocks off UCF, that would give the Mountain West champion the Group of 5’s Fiesta/Peach autobid, since that goes to a conference champ:

Say Fresno State wins the Mountain West by beating Boise State. Then we’d have a two-loss MWC champ that wasn’t ranked two Saturdays before Selection Sunday taking the NY6 bid as UCF fell into the AAC’s regular bowl mix, down to the Birmingham Bowl against UAB or whatever.

Two-loss Fresno might be ranked No. 19 or so, leaping ahead of a No. 13, one-loss UCF for the NY6 bid, all due to conference champ rules.

Rules are rules, but UCF fans would justifiably be pretty pissed about all this, especially after conference titles weren’t required for 2016 Ohio State or 2017 Alabama to make the actual Playoff, let alone just a Peach Bowl. And on top of that, the 2017 Playoff was one undefeated UCF wanted to make. UCF fans already fear conspiracies against them at every turn, and this would only ramp that up.

U C F T W I T T E R M E L T D O W N.

6. Pac-12 Championship — Utah vs. Washington: There aren’t exactly Playoff implications here. However, the winner will go to the Rose Bowl, so it’s still important.

The reason the AAC game ranks higher on CHAOS LIST is because it can change which entire conference gets an NY6 game, rather than just which team.

7. Mountain West Championship — Fresno State vs. Boise State: This only matters on the NY6 level if UCF loses. If the Knights win, whoever wins the MWC gets a Las Vegas Bowl bid.

8. Sun Belt Championship — Louisiana vs. App State: The winner gets a New Orleans Bowl bid, and the loser’s in the Cure.

MAC Championship — Northern Illinois vs. Buffalo: The winner will advance to a decent MAC bowl, perhaps the Dollar General.

C-USA Championship — UAB vs. Middle Tennessee: The winner gets first pick of C-USA bowls, likely a geographically favorable one.