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College Football Playoff picks after championship week

So much for chalk on championship week.

On Friday morning the potential for perhaps the least dramatic four-team selection of the College Football Playoff era existed. That was if favorites Georgia, Michigan, TCU and USC won their respective championship games.

By Friday night, that chalkboard had been scrubbed clean. Utah trailed 17-3 midway through second quarter, but outscored USC 44-7 the rest of the way. The 14-point comeback is largest in Pac-12 championship game history. With the loss, USC’s chances to reach the playoff fell to 1%. The Pac-12 has not had a representative in the CFP since 2016.

On Saturday afternoon it was TCU’s turn. The Horned Frogs trailed by 11 points in the fourth quarter of the Big 12 championship game but still managed to force overtime with Kansas State. In OT, TCU had the ball first and had two chances from the 1-yard line to score a touchdown but were stopped and turned the ball over on downs. The Wildcats kicked the winning field goal six plays later. TCU will look to become the fifth team to make the CFP after not winning its conference.

Ohio State could join them on that list. A week after losing by 22 points at home to Michigan, the Buckeyes did not play on championship weekend but sit in a favorable position with only one loss.

Their northern rivals found themselves in a one-point game with Purdue at halftime of the Big Ten championship game. But running back Donovan Edwards picked up where he left off last week and Michigan pulled away. Edwards’ 60-yard run on the first possession of the second half led to a Wolverines’ touchdown and he finished with 185 yards a week after rushing for 216 yards with two long scores against the Buckeyes.

It was less dramatic for No. 1 Georgia, which cruised to a 20-point victory over No. 4 LSU in the SEC title game. Georgia is now 5-0 against teams ranked in the top 25. If that holds in the final rankings, it would be tied for the best record by a team against teams that finished the season ranked in the CFP top 25. Georgia will enter bowl season with an undefeated record for the first time since 1982.

With all that in mind, here’s a look at how ESPN’s college football reporters see the playoff picture heading into Sunday’s final ranking (12:15 p.m. ET, ESPN).


Andrea Adelson: 1. Georgia 2. Michigan 3. TCU 4. Ohio State
Blake Baumgartner: 1. Georgia 2. Michigan 3. TCU 4. Ohio State
Kyle Bonagura: 1. Georgia 2. Michigan 3. TCU 4. Ohio State
Bill Connelly: 1. Georgia 2. Michigan 3. TCU 4. Ohio State
Heather Dinich: 1. Georgia 2. Michigan 3. TCU 4. Ohio State
Chris Low: 1. Georgia 2. Michigan 3. TCU 4. Ohio State
Harry Lyles Jr.: 1. Georgia 2. Michigan 3. TCU 4. Ohio State
Adam Rittenberg: 1. Georgia 2. Michigan 3. TCU 4. Ohio State
Alex Scarborough: 1. Georgia 2. Michigan 3. TCU 4. Ohio State
Paolo Uggetti: 1. Georgia 2. Michigan 3. TCU 4. Ohio State
Tom VanHaaren: 1. Georgia 2. Michigan 3. TCU 4. Ohio State
Dave Wilson: 1. Georgia 2. Michigan 3. TCU 4. Ohio State


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