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College Football Playoff Projections after Week Four

So far, the 2014 college football season has been filled with some exciting matchups, offensive fireworks, breakout stars (Texas A&M's Kenny "Trill" Hill) and a lot of major kicking woes. But, what has not appeared yet is four clear College Football Playoff contenders. Sure, there are going to many things that change between now and when the committee sits down and tries to break things down, but here are is my Playoff if the season ended today:

The Four

1 Oregon Ducks
Devon Allen

The fact of the matter is, no team has any wins close to the pedigree of Michigan State. But, it isn't just that victory that earns Oregon my team spot. They have blown out the teams they should and they look much more balanced and more physical than they have been in years past. Now, the Ducks aren't devoid of problems. Due to injuries at both tackle spots, Marcus Mariota was thrown down a ton against a Washington State pass rush that isn't particularly lethal. Plus, All-American cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu was embarrassed on multiple occasions against the Cougars, leading to some long-term questions. But, as of right now, Oregon gets the nod because quite frankly, they've played the best.

2 Oklahoma Sooners
I had my reservations about Oklahoma when the season began. Every time big things have been expected under Bob Stoops in Norman things seem to fall apart. And, were we looking too much into Oklahoma's dominant Sugar Bowl win over Alabama? Up to this point, it has looked like a different Oklahoma team. They aren't one dimensional like they have been under Stoops in the past, their defense is more athletic and smarter than it has been in a long time, and they are going to perform when expectations get high. While Tennessee and West Virginia aren't huge wins they will add two strong wins to the Sooners' resume, and outside of Baylor, there isn't a clear team in the Big 12 ready to step up and challenge Oklahoma.

3 Alabama Crimson Tide
So much questions hit me after Alabama's slim victory over West Virginia on opening weekend: is Blake Sims really the guy to lead the Tide? Has the kicking game improved? Is the secondary a real issue? Will Lane Kiffin and Nick Saban ever be able to work things out and coach together? Well, after that game, they have answered many of those questions. Kiffin is leading a dynamic offense, one that has Sims at the helm, throwing to Heisman candidate Amari Cooper. The defense appears to have fixed its issues and so far, the kicking game doesn't appear to be a significant weakness. The SEC West is one heck of a division, but Alabama is the most talented team in it. If they don't choke a long way (and even if they do, one less with their schedule won't push them out of the Playoff) they are in.

4 Texas A&M Aggies
While some other major playoff contenders like Auburn and Florida State struggled, the Aggies once more rolled, this time to a great victory over SMU. Sure, Kansas State and Clemson are certainly tougher teams than SMU, Texas A&M hasn't shown any real weaknesses. They absolutely demolished South Carolina in their one meaningful game to this point and have then proceeded to blow out anybody else in their path. They have the nation's hottest quarterback under center, a skilled O-Line, a plethora of receivers and a vastly improved defense. While a huge meeting with Arkansas will tell us a lot, the Aggies have shown no sign of slowing down. While the committee might be hesitant to put two teams from the same division into the four-team playoff, Texas A&M deserves it if they go 11-1 or undefeated with their schedule.

Just Missed the Cut
Florida State Seminoles: There has to be a point where people stop automatically putting FSU in just because of how dominant they were last season. This team has no running game to speak of, the O-Line has been a major disappointment and the defense lacks leadership. The good news is, outside of Notre Dame, there isn't any team that can knock them off down the stretch before a likely appearance in the ACC Championship game.
Auburn Tigers: It is a pretty worrying sign when your main strength struggles the way it Auburn's run game struggled last week. Nick Marshall, Cameron Artis-Payne nor Corey Grant could get anything going for the Tigers against KSU. The Tigers needed three missed field goals by KSU's Jack Cantele to sneak out a win, and there schedule is just daunting.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish: It is really hard to know how good the Irish are at this point. They have looked terrific so far, but Michigan, Rice and Purdue aren't exactly tough opponents. Though, the Irish just can't lose with Everett Golson, they are now 14-0 with the formerly suspended QB in the regular season.
Georgia Bulldogs: Just a few weeks ago, Georgia topped a lot of people's power rankings and Todd Gurley was the Heisman frontrunner. While Gurley is still very much in the race for the Heisman, many have dropped the Bulldogs out of contention, following their slim loss to South Carolina. But, Georgia outplayed the Gamecocks in that meeting and if they can get through the SEC East unscathed and win the conference, they are for sure in.

Others Still in the Mix
Baylor Bears
South Carolina Gamecocks
Mississippi State Bulldogs
Wisconsin Badgers
Michigan State Spartans
UCLA Bruins
USC Trojans
BYU Cougars
East Carolina Pirates
Ole Miss Rebels
Oklahoma State Cowboys

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