I'm not gonna lie ever since the first one the playoff is my favorite thing about CFB. I pay attention to the rankings, but more importantly their protocols, announcements, etc. Them announcing there were no minimum games to qualify was HUGE. And they clearly meant it by ranking us at 4, ahead of several teams (including undefeated Northwestern) who had more wins. Its just all about the best teams.
Everybody has worts outside the top 4 and maybe Northwestern at the moment. If for some reason covid kept us put of the big ten championship, an impressive win against Wisconsin may be all that is needed. Who would be in competition for that fourth spot assuming the first three go to undefeated SEC, acc, big ten champs:
-undefeated Osu at 6-0
-undefeated cincy at 10-0, but we know how the committee treats g5 wins
-A&M, Florida, the loser of the Clemson ND rematch, all of which will have one loss. If Clemson they would have two, if ND they still have a few mediocre games like Louisville.
-possibly 6-0 to 7-0 Oregon, with that ugly close game last week that clearly the committee noticed.
Essentially the issue will be does the committee want to allow both Clemson and Notre Dame into the playoff, which I'm not so sure they do. Its pretty hard to say you need a third match (twice on a neutral field) to determine which team is better. I dont think the committee respects ND's win over Clemson THAT much. They excuse the loss for Clemson bc of injuries, which means they probably don't consider it by itself sufficient to claim a playoff berth. Alabama is still ranked ahead of ND right now and I believe it probably wasn't even close.
Also, if Indiana were to beat Northwestern in the big ten championship I am pretty sure Ohio State would be the first big ten to make it, over the team they beat head to head