If you wanted chaos in the college football playoff, then you had a great Thanksgiving week.

If you think the number of teams in the playoff needs to be expanded from four to eight or even 16, this weekend went well for you.

After another crazy Iron Bowl that lived up to its expectation, the once mighty Alabama Crimson Tide now could miss out on the national championship with Saturday’s 26-14 loss to the Auburn Tigers. The Tigers will now take Alabama’s place in the SEC Championship game this Saturday against the Georgia Bulldogs.

Don’t get me wrong. Alabama could still get in the playoff despite not winning their conference championship. But anything can happen when the selections are made this Sunday for the final four teams.

But right now, Alabama finds itself at No. 5 in the AP Top 25 rankings with Auburn at No. 4.

Last year’s defending national Clemson is top of the list while Oklahoma is No. 2 and undefeated Wisconsin is third.

Previously undefeated Miami fell out of the top four after losing to Pittsburgh on Friday 24-14, and now the Hurricanes are No. 7, right behind the Georgia Bulldogs.

But which teams belong in the top four?

Well, a lot can occur between now and the end of this Saturday but for argument sakes, here are my teams that belong in the college football playoffs (as of right now) and the order that they belong in.

WISCONSIN

Why it has taken so long for the Wisconsin Badgers to get any respect in the polls is beyond me. But they have certainly stated their case to not only be in the top four but No. 1 overall. After all, they are undefeated (sitting at 12-0 overall and 9-0 in the Big 10 Conference).

Yes, the Badgers did have a slightly weak schedule, but at this point, considering everyone else has a loss (not counting Central Florida, sorry), the Badgers have earned a spot in the top of the rankings.

CLEMSON

The AP may have the Tigers back to where they were at the end of last season at No. 1 (and you can make an argument about why they should be at the top), but with the Tigers carrying one loss so far, I’d put them at No. 2. Make no mistake, the Tigers are dangerous and it goes without saying that they did beat Auburn 14-6 back in September. A win over Miami in the ACC championship will be enough for them to get in the top four and maybe the No. 1 spot in the eyes of the playoff committee.

OKLAHOMA

Oklahoma and Wisconsin may have both finished within 75 points of the Clemson Tigers in the new rankings, but I would put the Sooners at No. 3 overall instead of No. 2. The Sooners’ explosive offense led by quarterback and surely Heisman Trophy finalist Baker Mayfield has continued to bring OU back up in the rankings ever since its only loss to Iowa State on Oct. 7.

If the Sooners had a defense that was half as good as their offense, they’d be deserving of a higher spot. But for right now, just a spot in the top four is fair enough. They also have impressive wins over Ohio State, Oklahoma State and TCU.

AUBURN

Now this is assuming that the Tigers knock off Georgia in this week’s SEC championship (which I don’t doubt they will), and if they do, then they’ll belong in the top four. It may not seem fair to the Crimson Tide, who have only one loss, but it’s also not right for a team that hasn’t won its own conference to be in the national championship (or playoffs). That was part of the reason why we ended up doing away with the Bowl Championship Series in the first place, after Nebraska in ’01, Oklahoma in ’03 and (coincidentally) Alabama in ’11 went on to play for the national championships in those years.

Michael Bauer: 409-683-5247; michael.bauer@galvnews.com

(1) comment

Gary Miller

No team now in the top four played all their games against ranked tams. Wisconsin's slightly weak schedul should not affect their standing. OU lost an early season, non conference, game before winning the rest of the season. Their quality should be judged by how good they are today. I was hoping for OU VS Red Tide. Still possible but slim chance.

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