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Predicting the College Football Playoff first four rankings this week

CFB-HQ on FanNation 11/27/2022 James Parks

Rivalry Weekend certainly didn't disappoint with several critical games that had a direct impact on what the College Football Playoff rankings will look like.

Not least the latest edition of The Game, which for the second straight season went decisively to Michigan in what appears to be a changing of the guard in that rivalry, clinching a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game.

That win will upset the top four of the rankings as the Wolverines came in the No. 3 team going against then-No. 2 Ohio State. 

Another rivalry will help sort out the semifinal, too, after surprise contender USC took down Notre Dame at the Coliseum, taking one step closer to playoff consideration with just the Pac-12 Championship Game left as an obstacle.

Where do things stand right now? Let's take a crack at predicting what the final College Football Playoff rankings will look like on Selection Sunday.

College Football Playoff rankings: Predicting the first four in ahead of Championship Saturday

Predicting the College Football Playoff rankings © Provided by CFB-HQ on FanNation Predicting the College Football Playoff rankings

4. USC. What a difference hiring Lincoln Riley makes for the Trojans, a 4-8 afterthought last season, but this year heading into the Pac-12 Championship Game behind a dominant offense led by Heisman contender Caleb Williams at quarterback, sitting on two straight wins over ranked rivals UCLA and Notre Dame and with a win next week looks like a lock for the College Football Playoff. But they need that win.

3. TCU. The selection committee tried to keep the Frogs down in the rankings early on by citing their slow starts, but that argument has steadily retreated as TCU kept on winning, most recently a 62-14 thrashing over Iowa State to complete the regular season. We project TCU will win the Big 12 Championship Game against challenger Kansas State and stay undefeated.

2. Michigan. Don't look now, but the maize and blue have completely turned the tables in The Game, evaporating Ohio State's dominance in the series with two straight convincing wins. With no Blake Corum to run the ball, Michigan turned to the skies, and let five-star quarterback J.J. McCarthy rip, hitting three long TDs while backup runner Donovan Edwards tacked on over 200 yards rushing and two long scores of his own. UM faces Purdue in the Big Ten Championship Game and is the favorite to take and hold the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff rankings.

1. Georgia. All the Bulldogs need to do is keep winning, and that's what they did on Saturday, despite a very sluggish first half against rival Georgia Tech, but scoring 37 unanswered points in Clean, Old Fashioned Hate to stay perfect going into the SEC Championship Game, where it's favored against resurgent West champion LSU. Suffocating defense once again defines Georgia this season, but Stetson Bennett has shown he can hit on some big plays of his own, too.

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