<
>

College football Power Rankings: Wrapping up the regular season

play
Vilma: Bama's game plan won't change vs. Sooners (1:44)

Jonathan Vilma says Alabama won't have to change the way it prepares a game plan in the Orange Bowl vs. Oklahoma. (1:44)

The College Football Playoff is set, after much debate and controversy.

Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma made the field, while Georgia, Ohio State and UCF were relegated to New Year's Six games.

With the regular season nearly complete (Army plays Navy in Philadelphia on Saturday), here are the final Power Rankings of 2018:

1. Alabama (13-0, 8-0 SEC)
After coming from 14 points behind to knock off Georgia in the SEC championship game, the Crimson Tide will be favorites to win another national championship. ESPN's Football Power Index predictions give the Tide a 43 percent chance to win a national title, which would be their sixth under coach Nick Saban since 2009.

2. Clemson (13-0, 8-0 ACC)
Alabama vs. Clemson, Part IV? Yes, please. First, the Tigers will have to defeat Notre Dame in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, where they haven't played since defeating Boston College 6-3 on Jan. 1, 1940. FPI puts the Tigers just behind the Tide as CFP favorites, with a 37 percent chance to win it all.

3. Notre Dame (12-0)
The Irish will try to prove a lot of people wrong -- and erase a 42-14 debacle against Alabama in the 2012 BCS National Championship -- when they take on Clemson in the Cotton Bowl. The Tigers defeated Notre Dame 24-22 in 2015, after the Irish failed to convert a two-point conversion with seven seconds left. FPI gives the Irish a 9 percent chance of winning a national title, lowest among the four teams.

4. Georgia (11-2, 7-1 SEC)
Sure, the Bulldogs have looked like one of the country's best four teams the past five weeks. But they lost their argument for CFP inclusion when they fell 36-16 at LSU on Oct. 13 and blew a big lead against the Tide for the second straight season. Still, Kirby Smart's program looks a year or two ahead of schedule.

5. Oklahoma (12-1, 8-1 Big 12)
Regardless of whether you believe Georgia, Ohio State or Oklahoma should have been the No. 4 team, it's hard not to get excited about Kyler Murray vs. Tua Tagovailoa. If they finish one-two in Heisman Trophy voting as expected, it would be the first time the winner and runner-up have faced off in a bowl game since 2005 winner Reggie Bush of USC played Texas' Vince Young in the Rose Bowl, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

6. Ohio State (12-1, 8-1 Big Ten)
The Buckeyes were snubbed for the No. 4 spot after defeating Northwestern 45-24 in the Big Ten championship game. The Big Ten champion has been left out of the CFP in three straight seasons. In fact, its teams haven't scored a point in the CFP since the Buckeyes won the inaugural playoff in 2014.

7. UCF (12-0, 8-0 AAC)
The Knights capped off a second straight undefeated regular season by wiping out a 17-point deficit to knock off Memphis 56-41 in the AAC championship game. It was their 25th consecutive victory and one of their most impressive, winning without injured quarterback McKenzie Milton. If UCF defeats LSU in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, will the Knights be the self-declared SEC champion?

8. Michigan (10-2, 8-1 Big Ten)
Ohio State just scored again.

9. Washington (10-3, 7-2 Pac-12)
The Huskies fell short of reaching the CFP again, but their first trip to the Rose Bowl in 18 years is a pretty nice consolation prize. They haven't played in Pasadena since defeating Drew Brees-led Purdue 34-24 in the 2001 Rose Bowl.

10. Florida (9-3, 5-3 SEC)
Dan Mullen did a nice job in his first season as Florida's coach, with a five-win improvement from 2017. Now, he'll try to end the Gators' three-game postseason drought against Michigan. The Wolverines have won each of their past three games against Florida -- in the 2016 Citrus, 2008 Citrus and 2003 Outback.

11. LSU (9-3, 5-3 SEC)
The Tigers could go a long way in ending what Auburn started by beating UCF in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Day. Auburn gave the Knights a heavy dose of national relevancy by losing to them 34-27 in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl last season. LSU is seeking its first 10-win season since 2013.

12. Washington State (10-2, 7-2 Pac-12)
A nonconference schedule that included Wyoming, San Jose State and Eastern Washington probably cost the Cougars a spot in a New Year's Six bowl game. At least they're playing New Mexico State, Northern Colorado and Houston in 2019.

13. Penn State (9-3, 6-3 Big Ten)
The Nittany Lions just missed out on a New Year's Six spot and will play Kentucky in the VRBO Citrus Bowl. Penn State's James Franklin used to love beating up the Wildcats when he was Vanderbilt's coach from 2011 to '13. His teams won three straight games against UK by a combined score of 100-14, helping Vanderbilt become bowl eligible in three consecutive seasons for the first time in school history.

14. Texas (9-4, 7-2 Big 12)
The Longhorns fell to Oklahoma 39-27 in the Big 12 championship game, but still get a trip to play Georgia in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The Bulldogs and Longhorns haven't played since the 1984 Cotton Bowl. Y'all know what time it is in Texas?

15. West Virginia (8-3, 6-3 Big 12)
The Mountaineers will try to end a two-game losing streak when they play Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl on Dec. 28. A Dana Holgorsen-Mike Leach matchup in the Alamo Bowl would have been so much more fun.

16. Kentucky (9-3, 5-3 SEC)
The Wildcats will be aiming for their first 10-win season since 1977 when they play Penn State in the Citrus Bowl. It will be the teams' first meeting in 20 seasons; the Nittany Lions defeated Hal Mumme-led UK 26-14 in the 1999 Outback Bowl.

17. Fresno State (11-2, 7-1 MWC)
The Bulldogs knocked off Boise State 19-16 on the snow-covered blue turf to win the MWC title on Saturday. After winning one game in 2016, the Bulldogs won 10 games under coach Jeff Tedford last season and 11 this year. They'll take on Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl.

18. Mississippi State (8-4, 4-4 SEC)
The Bulldogs received their first invitation to the Outback Bowl, where they'll play Iowa, which has played there six times since 2004. Mississippi State held seven of its FBS opponents to their lowest point total this season. The Hawkeyes have dropped their past three bowl games against SEC foes; their last postseason win over an SEC opponent was a 31-10 victory over South Carolina in the 2009 Outback Bowl.

19. Syracuse (9-3, 6-2 ACC)
If the Orange Bowl hadn't been hosting a CFP semifinal, the Orange would have probably ended up in a New Year's Six bowl. Instead, they'll settle for playing former Big East foe West Virginia in Orlando. The Orange and Mountaineers have played only twice since 2010, including Syracuse's 38-14 win in the 2012 Pinstripe Bowl.

20. Texas A&M (8-4, 5-3 SEC)
The Aggies finished the regular season with a three-game winning streak and will play NC State in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl in their first season under Jimbo Fisher. With Florida State missing a bowl game for the first time since 1982, Seminoles fans won't have to travel far to cheer on their former coach.

21. Utah (9-4, 6-3 Pac-12)
After falling to Washington 10-3 in Friday night's Pac-12 championship game, the Utes will play Northwestern in the Dec. 31 Holiday Bowl. It's the third meeting between the schools. Here's hoping the Utes get a non-Pac-12 officiating crew.

22. Army (9-2)
If the Knights can defeat Navy in Saturday's game in Philadelphia and then Houston in the Dec. 22 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, they'll win 11 games in a season for the first time in the academy's history. They won 10 games in 1996 and 2017.

23. Missouri (8-4, 4-4 SEC)
Tigers quarterback Drew Lock was surprised by inquiries about whether he'd skip Missouri's bowl game. He surely wouldn't pass up a chance to face Oklahoma State's pass defense in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. The Pokes ranked No. 107 in pass defense in the FBS, giving up 258.3 yards per game. At least it was only the second-worst pass defense in the state.

24. Boise State (10-3, 7-1 MWC)
The Broncos came up short in trying to win back-to-back MWC titles, but they'll get to play Boston College in the SERVPRO First Responders Bowl in Dallas. The game features two of the country's more underrated running backs, BC's AJ Dillon and Boise State's Alexander Mattison, both of whom have had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.

25. Northwestern (8-5, 8-1 Big Ten)
Remember when the Wildcats couldn't win a bowl game? They'll go for their third straight bowl victory when they play the Utes in San Diego. After finally ending college football's longest bowl drought in 2013, Northwestern has won three of its past four bowl games.