GFP Predictions: Georgia #1. Who else is in? State of Ohio, Michigan and TCU

It’s time for Week 4 of the College Football Playoff Ladder, which will be released Tuesday night. Will there be any changes this week after last week’s top 4 all won?

the athlete‘s college football writers make the case for who should be the top 4 this week.

Staff votes for fourth CFP ranking

team First Second third Fourth

17

13

4

1

11

5

3

2

12

And how did we come to these conclusions?

Nicole Auerbach: Three of those teams suffered a justifiable scare, and Georgia suffered a blow. But they are the four remaining undefeated teams (Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, TCU) and this is the correct order for them going into a No. 2-3 showdown. The order of Ohio State and Michigan will take care of itself, as will the Big Ten’s odds of putting two teams in the four-team field. USC still has two big opportunities to improve its resume on the track as well. But this is where the front four should begin and end before heading into the final regular season on Saturday.

Andy Bitter: Surviving and moving on was the theme last week, which teams just outside this top flight (Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan and TCU) failed to do. Georgia is in a class of its own. Ohio State was the only one in the last three that didn’t need a last-second field goal to stay going, so I put the Buckeyes back in front of the Wolverines. This head-to-head race will be sorted out next week anyway.

Scott Dochterman: What really matters this week is who’s number 5 (after those four: Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan and TCU). Will it be USC, LSU or Clemson? This point will have major CFP implications for who advances to the playoffs when the final pairings are released.

Seth Emerson: No one, not even Georgia or Ohio, dominates every opponent, and if you look at the game schedule, not much separates the undefeated. It’s fascinating what’s happening this week after Ohio State-Michigan, and here’s my crazy thought: Are we sure Alabama is done? Could the field slide back to Alabama and the committee follow its (likely) sentiment that Alabama is ultimately one of the top four teams in the country (my list right now: Georgia, Ohio State, TCU, and Michigan)? I still don’t think so, but can we absolutely rule it out?

Matt Fortune: Ohio State moves past Michigan for me this week after what was clearly a preview weekend for both teams. I’ve thought long and hard about moving TCU up a spot or two, but ultimately I couldn’t quite get there with the Horned Frogs, although they continue to impress. Is this one of those seasons with just one dominant team and a couple of really good ones playing for second place? Georgia will certainly advocate for it.

Sam Khan Jr: The top four teams remain the same, but TCU have an argument to become No. 2. The Horned Frogs have better schedule and record strength than the other three, according to ESPN. They have more wins against bowl-eligible teams (eight) than Georgia (six), Ohio State, my No. 3, (six), and Michigan, my No. 4, (five).

Austin Meek: Same four teams this week but I’m changing the order by moving TCU to 2nd and bumping Ohio State and Michigan to 3-4. The Horned Frogs have better wins, even if their games are always on point. It feels like the Wolverines and Buckeyes are a little headed into their showdown this weekend.

Manny Navarro: If USC wins, the Trojans deserve to make the playoffs and replace this week’s Ohio State and Michigan loser in the top four (my top four: Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, and TCU).

Grace Raynor: It hasn’t been a particularly good week for the top four teams, but all four remain unbeaten and that’s what counts at this time of year. However, TCU is skipping Michigan for me this week as the Horned Frogs won against Baylor in dramatic fashion. (How about that ending?!) I wanted to see Michigan slam the door on Illinois, a team that should have beaten the Wolverines by more than two points.

Cameron Teague Robinson: All four teams (Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan and TCU) tested Saturday but avoided surprises. I would be shocked if Georgia loses. TCU continues to be the heart child. We’re finally at Ohio State-Michigan week. The winner likely guarantees a spot in the playoffs. However, with the loss of Tennessee, there is a way for both of them to make it through.

Jeff Schultz: All four (Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, TCU) were battling against opponents with three or four losses, and if those were a tightly packed top 10 and either team in the top 4 had strong case for promotion, then this week i would do it But who are you dragging into the playoff field? LSU with two losses or Alabama? USC, which had a relatively soft schedule and narrowly escaped UCLA with a win? Clemson narrowly beating Syracuse and getting blown out at Notre Dame? No thank you. The playoff field remains the same.

Mitch Sherman: USC lurks. So a controversial selection day as losing figures from Ohio State and Michigan makes a solid case for inclusion. The calm before the storm wasn’t so calm in Week 12 as every team in the top four (Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan and TCU) battled for wins. There are no changes here, but the table is set for a furious ending.

Audrey Snyder: The Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines survived their scares. It wasn’t pretty, but they pulled it off. If there’s a close loss between them this weekend, they should both make the playoffs (my top 4: Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan and TCU).

Aaron Suttles: None of the top four (Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan and TCU) looked particularly strong on Saturday, but they all went undefeated, which we can’t say about any of the others. Saturday showed just how beautiful and unpredictable college football can be. Show next Saturday.

Jesse Temple: Georgia’s win over Kentucky wasn’t pretty, but none of the top four teams had it easy on Saturday. The Bulldogs have still done enough to remain at the top of the leaderboard. Ohio State erased a three-point deficit at halftime against Maryland to remain undefeated. Illinois nearly spoiled an undefeated showdown in The Game, but Michigan escaped with a late field goal. Kudos to the field goal unit and TCU’s kicker Griffin Kell for running onto the field, positioning himself and burying the winning field goal when time ran out to beat Baylor.

David Ubben: Tennessee’s loss clears up the race a bit, and there won’t be much drama in the top four (Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State and TCU), but if the committee pegs two-loss SEC champion, LSU, against the loser of The game, it will not make friends.

Justin Williams: Georgia isn’t unbeatable, but for this top spot it’s untouchable for now. But give me TCU and their top-notch record strength in second place after a comeback win over Baylor and two more lackluster wins from Ohio State and Michigan.

(Photo by Georgia’s Stetson Bennett: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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