Each week during the college football season, Dispatch sports writers Todd Jones, Tim May, Rob Oller and Bill Rabinowitz and sports editor Ray Stein make their choices for the College Football Playoff field.

Each week during the college football season, Dispatch sports writers Todd Jones, Tim May, Rob Oller and Bill Rabinowitz and sports editor Ray Stein make their choices for the College Football Playoff field.

Todd Jones, Dispatch college football writer

1. Clemson

2. Alabama

3. Oklahoma

4. Michigan State

How I see it: Here's how it plays out in simple fashion: Clemson wins, it is in. Alabama wins, it is in. Michigan State wins, it is in ... or ... Iowa wins, it is in. Oklahoma is already in. What if Clemson and/or Alabama lose? Ohio State and North Carolina will then start screaming that they deserve a spot. Stanford will do the same, provided it wins the Pac-12 Championship game, even though the Cardinal has two losses. The Tar Heels will argue that they're a one-loss team, conference champ and beat the No. 1 team.

OSU is a one-loss team that didn't win its conference and never beat any team with less than three losses. Alabama should crush offensively inept Florida in the SEC Championship game. Clemson, however, will be challenged by North Carolina, winner of 11 straight, in the ACC Championship game. Still, I expect the Tigers to survive. They're 12-0 for the first time since being named national champion in 1981. Oklahoma was No. 15 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings, but the Sooners have moved up, just as OSU did last season.

The Buckeyes went from being No. 16 to winning the national title in 2014. Michigan State has now won 11 or more games in five of the past six seasons. The Spartans are making their third appearance in Big Ten championship game, and their only loss was at Nebraska on a controversial play. They should prevail. However, don't discount Iowa. The Hawkeyes are on a magic carpet ride. They're undefeated for a reason, no matter how much critics harp about their schedule. Barring any upset, OSU will be left wondering what if Ezekiel Elliott had called the plays against Michigan State?

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Ray Stein, Dispatch sports editor

1. Clemson

2. Michigan State

3. Alabama

4. Oklahoma

How I see it: That sound you heard a little after 11 p.m. Saturday was a huge exhale from the College Football Playoff committee in Dallas as Stanford's winning field goal split the uprights and sent Notre Dame to the playoff sideline once and for all. If the Fighting Irish had won, there would be Trump-like politicking this week as arguments raged about one-loss ND vs. one-loss Oklahoma - and how each team did against a common opponent, Texas. But Stanford settled that, and now everything falls into place - as long as these conference championship games go according to chalk.

New to the party: Oklahoma, hot at the right time - and likely helped, it says here, by the fact that the Big 12 was locked out of the fun a year ago. That league still needs a title game, though, because it never hurts to leave a good final impression.

Shown the door: Notre Dame. Such a PR battle royale that would have been between the Irish and the Sooners, and my guess is that Notre Dame would have won that fight, it being expert at public relations.

The OSU road: Week late and a dollar short, but beating Michigan so thoroughly will have the Buckeyes sitting strong at No. 5 after the games are played Saturday night. Whether they are still there when the committee makes its selections 12 hours later will depend entirely on what happens in the SEC and ACC championship games. A loss by either Alabama or Clemson might open the door for Ohio State, which appears more attractive than either a two-loss (and toothless) Florida team and a one-loss North Carolina bunch that played no one and lost to three-win South Carolina. It's hard to imagine either favorite losing, though Clemson looks more vulnerable. Chaos reigned in 2007, though, so it's not like it can't happen

Rob Oller, Dispatch sports columnist

1. Clemson

2. Alabama

3. Oklahoma

4. Michigan State

How I see it: To the undefeated go the spoils. I have the Tigers getting past North Carolina -- barely -- in the ACC championship game, while Bama blows away Florida in the SEC title game. Sorry, Iowa, but MSU has your number in the Big Ten, which leaves Boomer Sooner as the fourth playoff team. As for the Beef Bowl, the complainants include Ohio State (only loss was on last-second FG), Notre Dame (still undefeated if not for two plays against Clemson and Stanford) and some order of Baylor, Houston and even one-loss Iowa. The Hawkeyes' only loss, after all, will have come vs. MSU in the championship game. Is that not better than what Alabama and OU can sell? But that's not how the committee works. Not how this vote works, either.

Tim May, Dispatch OSU football beat writer

1. Clemson

2. Alabama

3. Oklahoma

4. Michigan State

How I see it: Another week, another shakeup in my elite four. But what's a man to do when his third-ranked team, Notre Dame, loses for a second time and his fourth-ranked team, Iowa, mully-gullies to a win at Nebraska? He does what poll voters do every week. He knee-jerks in reaction and goes with what his gut tells him. As for what will be the final final four – my gut has been telling me for weeks that North Carolina is going to outscore Clemson in the ACC title game, thus opening the door for a possible re-entry by defending national champion Ohio State on selection Sunday. But the key is where the CFP committee slots North Carolina tonight. If the Tar Heels suddenly are within a spot of Ohio State, the committee is setting up UNC to take one of the final four slots if it upsets Clemson. Of course, if Florida shocks the world and knocks off Alabama, I think the Buckeyes would be in. Notice I've got Michigan State already in the top four. Thus I reveal my sentiment in regard to the Big Ten title game vs. unbeaten Iowa.