Rankman's Wrap: Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia are in--now comes the hard part

Who now, what now?

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Gentlemen, start your spin machines and prepare the oil can for Gary Danielson's jaw. Alert ESPN's fleet of former Ohio State players ready to speak objectively on behalf on the Bucks.

Will it be Urban or Nick, scarlet or crimson, off script or Script Ohio?

These are the questions left after a college football day that literally busted at the seams.

The game-delaying field turf split in Indianapolis, site of the Big Ten championship, was a perfect metaphor for a selection committee that must now stitch together the end zone for this year's four-team playoff.

Here is TMG’s best guess at the major bowl lineup:

Playoff:

Sugar: No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Ohio State (or Alabama)

Rose: No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Georgia

New Year’s Six bowls:

Fiesta: USC vs. Wisconsin

Peach: Central Florida vs. Auburn

Cotton: Penn State vs. Washington

Orange: Miami vs. Alabama (or Auburn if Alabama makes playoffs. In that scenario, let’s go with Ohio State vs. USC in the Fiesta and UCF vs. Notre Dame in the Peach).

It could have been snip-and-tidy easier had undefeated Wisconsin stayed undefeated against Ohio State, but you just knew that wouldn’t happen.

Simple things first.

Clemson, Oklahoma and Georgia all celebrated crushing victories against Miami, TCU and Auburn in the ACC, Big 12 and SEC conference title games.

Check please.

Those schools will all advance to the fourth-annual College Football Playoff, with Clemson likely ending up No.1 and playing in the Sugar Bowl.

Oklahoma and Georgia are seemingly bound to the Rose Bowl, hosting the other national semifinal game on Jan.1.

The fourth spot, however, is a bake-off not only between pedigree powers Ohio State and Alabama. It also matches Urban Meyer and Nick Saban, the greatest coaches of this era and owners of eight combined national titles.

The arguments started before the possibility of this possibility because this is 2017.

In one corner you have Ohio State the 11-2 champion of the Big Ten conference.

In the other is Alabama, the 11-1 non-champion of the SEC

Ohio State, seemingly, has the better resume even if it includes allowing 55 points in a loss at Iowa.

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You think that’s bad? In 2001, Nebraska finished No. 2 in the final BCS standings after allowing 62 points in its last game against Colorado.

Two years later, Oklahoma stayed at No. 1 even after a blowout loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 title game.

Ohio State will end up with a better SOS than Alabama and infinitely superior wins against No. 4 Wisconsin and No. 9 Penn State. Ohio State’s other loss was to Oklahoma.

Alabama’s best wins are against three schools—LSU, Mississippi State and Fresno State—that now have 11 total losses. LSU lost at home to Troy. Fresno State lost to UNLV, which lost to Howard, which lost to Moe, which lost to Larry, which lost to Curly..[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

Ohio State lost at Iowa, yeah, but Alabama played Mercer.

The Big Ten plays nine conference games, compared to eight for the SEC.

You see how this could get muddled?

Ohio State deserves the bid because it won a conference championship, which is supposed to mean something in the eyes of the selection committee.

But wait a minute: Ohio State made the playoff last year without winning the Big Ten. And Alabama, famously in 2011, won the national title without winning the SEC West.

It got so up-side-down that Alabama fans were left rooting for a resume-boosting victory on Saturday from Fresno State.

The Tide didn’t get it, as Boise State rallied late to win the Mountain West Conference.

Sorry about that.

The talking heads were out in slobbering force, spinning both sides. CBS shill Gary Danielson (shockingly) argued that Alabama should be in the playoff. He said the Crimson Tide’s double-digit loss to Auburn last week should have no impact on Auburn’s crushing defeat to Georgia this week.

“I don’t think the committee should take this game into effect at all,” Danielson said.

Really?

Alabama didn’t play Georgia, so there’s also that.

The Big Ten hit back, before the Big Ten title game, with commissioner Jim Delany defending Ohio State’s two-loss prowess to the Chicago Tribune.

Delany took a mild dig at Alabama’s game against Mercer:

“I would hope every (conference) would get to nine games,” Delany told the Trib's Teddy Greenstein. “When you sub an FCS opponent and only play eight, it’s really a different universe of competitive challenges.”

The good thing is this shouting match can't last long as the committee must end the suspense midday Sunday.

So please, God, let's put this he-said, he-said thing to bed and get back to what's the matter at Tennessee.

Finally, we would be remiss not to congratulate New Mexico State, which defeated South Alabama on Saturday for its bowl-eligible, sixth win. It will be the school's first bowl bid since the 1960 season--the longest drought in FBS. New Mexico State is expected to play in the Arizona Bowl on Dec. 29.[/membership]

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