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Notre Dame was the most impressive of the likely playoff teams this past weekend.
Notre Dame was the most impressive of the likely playoff teams this past weekend.

Survivor: College Football Playoff Edition, Version 8.0

We're heading into Week 13 of the 14-week college football regular season, and we still haven't experienced that late season shakeup that seems to happen, to some degree, every year. The top portion of the College Football Playoff rankings have been holding serve steadily for three weeks now, and after this past weekend, I would suspect much the same when the latest rankings are released tonight.

The reality, too, is that the top four teams are all favored in the remaining games on their schedule, mostly heavily so, including the conference championship games that will take place in Week 14. So heading into Thanksgiving weekend, what are the semi-reasonable occurrences that could happen that would shake things up and get us off of Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Michigan as the four playoff teams, in that order.

1. Auburn upsets Alabama in the Iron Bowl this Saturday
Although does that even qualify as semi-reasonable, given that the Tigers are 24 point underdogs? They do have the same quarterback (Jarrett Stidham) and head coach (Gus Malzahn) that engineered an Iron Bowl upset a year ago, but that wasn't in Tuscaloosa. This would be a seismic earthquake of an upset. Especially if it were to be followed with...

2. Georgia upsets Alabama in the SEC Title Game
I'm not sure how doable this would be, but if there's a team in the SEC that will give Alabama a go, it's the team that took them to overtime for the national title last season. The most intriguing scenario here is if undefeated Alabama were to lose to Georgia — would both of them make the playoff, and squeeze Michigan out (assuming Clemson and Notre Dame remain unbeaten)?

3. Pitt upsets Clemson in the ACC Title Game
Again, Pitt will probably be a three touchdown underdog here, but they are playing decent football the second half of the season, and when Clemson has lost games the last few years, it's been to wonky, off-the-grid teams like Pitt and Syracuse.

4. USC upsets Notre Dame this Saturday
The Irish are an 11-point favorite over a Trojan team that lost to 2-8 UCLA on Saturday, and whose coach is on the verge of getting canned. All signs point to an Irish rout... which means this might be the game for the upset alert.

5. Ohio State beats Michigan this Saturday in Columbus
The other one-loss teams — Oklahoma, Washington State — need this to happen. Ohio State's been so shaky for a one-loss team lately that if OU and WSU can finish impressively, they should stay ahead of the Buckeyes, even if Urban Meyer pulls off this win. Michigan is a four-point favorite, for what it's worth.

Here are this week's AP rankings, as the appetizer to the CFB Playoff rankings revealed tonight:

1. Alabama (61) 11-0 1525
2. Clemson 11-0 1455
3. Notre Dame 11-0 1412
4. Michigan 10-1 1327
5. Georgia 10-1 1288
6. Oklahoma 10-1 1182
7. Washington State 10-1 1149
8. (tie) UCF 10-0 1064
           LSU 9-2 1064
10. Ohio State 10-1 1019
11. Texas 8-3 856
12. West Virginia 8-2 822
13. Florida 8-3 707
14. Utah State 10-1 667
15. Penn State 8-3 659
16. Washington 8-3 631
17. Kentucky 8-3 508
18. Utah 8-3 491
19. Syracuse 8-3 427
20. Northwestern 7-4 307
21. Boise State 9-2 287
22. Mississippi State 7-4 260
23. Army 9-2 176
24. Pittsburgh 7-4 129
25. Iowa State 6-4 123

1. ALABAMA (11-0, 7-0)
REMAINING SCHED: 11/24 vs Auburn, 12/1 SEC Title Game
NOTABLE WINS:
* Week 4: vs #22 Texas A&M, 45-23
* Week 10: at #3 LSU, 29-0
* Week 11: vs #16 MIss St., 24-0

2. CLEMSON (11-0, 8-0)
REMAINING SCHED: 11/24 vs South Carolina, 12/1 ACC Title Game
NOTABLE WINS:
* Week 2: at Texas A&M, 28-26
* Week 5: vs Syracuse, 27-23
* Week 8 : vs #16 NC State, 41-7
* Week 11: at #17 Boston College, 27-7

3. NOTRE DAME (11-0)
REMAINING SCHED: 11/24 at USC
NOTABLE WINS:
* Week 1: vs #14 Michigan, 24-17
* Week 5: vs #7 Stanford, 38-17
* Week 6: at #24 Virginia Tech, 45-23
* Week 7: vs Pitt, 19-14
* Week 10: at Northwestern, 31-21
* Week 11: vs #12 Syracuse, 36-3

4. MICHIGAN (10-1, 8-0)
REMAINING SCHED: 11/24 at Ohio State, * 12/1 Big Ten Title Game
ONE LOSS: at Notre Dame, 24-17 (Week 1)
NOTABLE WINS:
* Week 5: at Northwestern, 20-17
* Week 7: vs #15 Wisconsin, 35-13
* Week 8: at #24 Michigan State, 21-7
* Week 10: vs #14 Penn State, 42-7

5. GEORGIA (10-1, 7-1)
REMAINING SCHED: 11/24 vs Georgia Tech, 12/1 SEC Title Game
ONE LOSS: at LSU, 36-16 (Week 7)
NOTABLE WINS:
* Week 2: at #24 South Carolina, 41-17
* Week 9: vs #9 Florida, 36-17
* Week 10: at #9 Kentucky, 34-17
* Week 11: vs #24 Auburn, 27-10
THE TRUTH:

6. OKLAHOMA (10-1, 7-1)
REMAINING SCHED: 11/23 at West Virginia, * 12/1 Big XII Title Game
ONE LOSS: vs Texas, 48-45 (Week 6)
NOTABLE WINS:
* Week 3: at Iowa State, 37-27
* Week 4: vs Army, 28-21 (OT)
* Week 10: at Texas Tech, 51-46
* Week 11: vs Oklahoma State, 48-47

7. WASHINGTON STATE (10-1, 7-1)
REMAINING SCHED: 11/23 vs Washington, * 11/30 Pac-12 Title Game
ONE LOSS: at USC, 39-36 (Week 4)
NOTABLE WINS:
* Week 5: vs Utah, 28-24
* Week 8: vs #12 Oregon, 34-20
* Week 9: at #24 Stanford, 41-38

10. OHIO STATE (10-1, 7-1)
REMAINING SCHED: 11/24 vs Michigan, * 12/1 Big Ten Title Game
ONE LOSS: at Purdue, 49-20 (Week 8)
NOTABLE WINS:
* Week 3: vs #15 TCU, 40-28
* Week 5: at #9 Penn State, 27-26
* Week 10: vs Nebraska, 36-31
* Week 11: at #18 Michigan State, 26-6

WEEK 12 OBIT

WEST VIRGINIA (8-2, 6-2)
The Mountaineers can still win the Big XII with an upset of Oklahoma this Friday, and a win over (likely) the Texas Longhorns in the conference title game, but their playoff hopes are toast.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.

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