Just as we expected, Week 14 of the 2015 college football season was filled with excitement, heated battles, and plenty of drama. And we loved every second of it.
But when the dust finally settled, when the confetti had finished falling on the heads of the remaining conference champions, there were no more hurdles standing between the country’s best teams and what we’ve been waiting for all year: the College Football Playoff.
Now that the selection committee has gotten together and made its final choices, all that’s left to do is sit back, relax, and obsessively critique the programs that still have a chance to win this season’s national championship. Here’s a closer look at the top four teams in the final CFP rankings.
After clinching the Big 12 last week, the Oklahoma Sooners came into Week 14 as the No. 3 ranked team in the CFP standings. As a result, despite not having a game this week, Bob Stoops and company had already all but secured a place in this year’s College Football Playoff. Unfortunately, on account of the solid play by the other teams in their respective conference championship games, the Sooners dropped one spot to No. 4 in the final CFP rankings. Of course, in the end, it’s all about getting into the tournament. Rest assured, the Sooners are not only in, they have the talent to be the last team standing at the end.
3. Michigan State
The Michigan State Spartans came into the Big Ten title game — the playoff before the playoff — as the No. 5 ranked team in the CFP standings. However, thanks to their hard-fought 16-13 victory over the previously undefeated and No. 4 seeded Iowa Hawkeyes, the Spartans staked their claim as the best team in the Big Ten, moved up two spots to No. 3 in the final CFP rankings, and secured their place in the College Football Playoff. Of course, considering who’s awaiting them in the semifinals, Mark Dantonio and Michigan State will have to play their best game of the year if they hope to keep their dream season alive.
Behind an impressive special teams and a beastly 44-carry, 189-yard rushing performance by Heisman frontrunner Derrick Henry, the Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Florida Gators 29-15 in the SEC championship game, capturing their second straight conference title and earning another trip to the College Football Playoff. Now 12-1 on the year, Nick Saban and the mighty Tide will roll into the four-team playoff as the No. 2 seed, looking to regain their position as the top dog in college football. With the way this group has been playing of late, we would not be surprised to see Alabama do just that.
With quarterback Deshaun Watson setting an ACC title game record with 420 total yards and five total touchdowns, the Clemson Tigers defeated the No. 10 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels by a score of 45-37 and improved their already perfect record to 13-0. As Death Valley gets set to enjoy a well-deserved pizza party, Dabo Swinney and company will prepare to enter this year’s College Football Playoff as the No. 1 team in the country. Now all that matters is to finish the season that way.