College Football Playoff rankings set stage for conference championship games

By Adam Burke  ( 

November 30, 2022 11:27 AM

Georgia and Michigan lock for CFP; TCU and USC control own destiny

The biggest drama for the Week 14 College Football Playoff rankings show was who would be No. 5 and who would be No. 6. Georgia and Michigan have done more than enough to be in no matter what. TCU and USC are the teams with everything to lose in their respective conference championship games this weekend. With big brands like Ohio State and Alabama lurking, a loss for USC would seemingly put the Buckeyes in. A loss for TCU is a greater unknown.

See the latest college football odds and college football betting splits.

College Football Playoff National Championship Odds (DraftKings)

  • Georgia -150
  • Michigan +300
  • Ohio State +800
  • USC +1200
  • TCU +1200
  • Alabama +6000

Ohio State isn’t even currently in the CFP, but has better odds than USC and TCU to win the National Championship. Georgia is the odds-on favorite and deservedly so, with Michigan a comfortable favorite against USC or TCU and an underdog to the ‘Dawgs in a hypothetical title game. The Buckeyes are the most interesting part of this equation and will be big Utah Utes fans on Friday.

ESPN's Adam Rittenberg joined Follow The Money with Mitch Moss and Pauly Howard to talk about the chances of the Buckeyes getting in.

Pac-12 Championship Game: USC vs. Utah

We’ll know on Friday night about the fate of the Trojans, who need to avenge their only loss of the season in order to make the College Football Playoff. USC is currently -3 at DraftKings after losing 43-42 on a two-point conversion when the two teams played back on October 15. A failed bid for a conference championship and a second loss would knock the Trojans out and presumably put Ohio State in, leaving Heisman favorite Caleb Williams out of the final four.

However, CFP Committee Chairman Boo Corrigan said that it is “not necessarily the case” that Ohio State would stay ahead of Alabama, even though neither team plays this week. Presumably, if LSU beats Georgia, the strength of that win might be enough to fudge the formula to strengthen Alabama’s loss to the Tigers. LSU won’t make it with three losses, so the strength of Alabama’s schedule (didn’t play Georgia) may go up enough with a LSU victory.

Either way, USC has to win or Ohio State or Alabama takes that spot.

In talking about USC, Mitch and Pauly talked about how unfair it is that USC is playing for a conference championship and it could cost them a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Big 12 Championship Game: TCU vs. Kansas State

This is the game in the spotlight. There is no question that if USC loses, the Trojans are out. If TCU loses, the Committee will have a decision to make. A lot of metrics look very favorably on TCU, who ran the table in a solid Big 12 conference during the regular season. This would be the lone loss for the Horned Frogs, who have a stronger resume than both Ohio State and Alabama.

However, to editorialize for a minute, the CFP Committee has to keep financial considerations in mind because this is about money, not getting the four best teams in the country. Ohio State and Alabama are undoubtedly larger draws than TCU. A lot of people think TCU is in with a non-blowout loss. Obviously, they’d be in as an undefeated major conference champ with a win.

If USC loses on Friday night, the answer is pretty clear. If TCU loses and USC wins, does the Committee want TCU against Georgia when they could put Ohio State or Alabama up against Georgia in the Peach Bowl and have a ratings monster?

Big Ten Championship Game: Michigan vs. Purdue

The Wolverines are very unlikely to lose to Purdue as the second-biggest favorite on the board. If they did, the win over Ohio State still carries more than enough weight to keep Michigan among the top four. Even with a loss, it would be hard to envision Michigan dropping to No. 4 for a playoff semifinal rematch against Georgia, which did not go well last season in a Bulldogs’ 34-11 romp. The Wolverines would probably drop to No. 3, which changes virtually nothing.

SEC Championship Game: Georgia vs. LSU

The Bulldogs could lose by a million and still be in the College Football Playoff. A Georgia loss and a Michigan win could flip No. 1 and No. 2, but the Bulldogs wouldn’t fall lower than that.

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