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Playoff Starts Now

The last weekend of college football’s regular season is upon us. And it kicks off tonight with the Pac-12 title game — a rematch between Stanford and USC, a game that might be Sam Darnold’s last in a Trojan uniform. A game that could help Bryce Love rip the Heisman out of Baker Mayfield’s hands. But a game, if we’re being honest, that basically serves as an appetizer to the 8-team playoff that so many people want to see.

You want an 8-team playoff? Well turn on your TV. It starts tomorrow. TCU and Oklahoma going at it again in the Big 12 title game. Georgia and Auburn kicking off right after that. Then Miami and Clemson and Ohio State / Wisconsin sharing the PrimeTime slot.

That’s the big reason why you didn’t hear my geek out this week about the Penultimate College Football Playoff rankings. Because if you’re wondering why in the history of this show you’ve never heard me say the word “Penultimate” before, it’s because you don’t need a dictionary to know what that word means: NOTHING.

Because if you got worked up about the 2nd to last rankings, you clearly haven’t figured out how this thing works. Ohio State showed you in Year 1, when they hit the spring board and jumped into the 4 spot before ripping the title. It’s a hard reset, back to zero when they actually put this thing in ink and stop making it a weekly reality show troll job. And basically, if your team is in the Top 8 right now, you’re still in this.

So that top four of Clemson, Auburn, Oklahoma and Wisconsin — take it from Emilio: Georgia and Miami fans sweating their fate, do the same thing and then sit back and trust the committee to do the right thing.

But know this: Two 800-pound gorillas are waiting outside the gate, with Bama and Ohio State looking for someone to give them an inch before they kick that door down. And while they might not have the resume to deserve a shot at it this year — try telling that to Nick and Urb, two guys who know how to put their thumb on the scale if they need to do it. Two guys who — fair or not — will find a way to work their way into this thing if Ohio State beats Wisconsin — and they’re a touchdown favorite to do it, even with J.T. Barrett’s injury — or if Auburn ends up losing to Georgia.

So congrats, gentlemen. You made it this far. You’re alive for the last weekend of the college football regular season. Now let’s hope for one more weekend of chaos before it goes to the committee’s hands.