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Bohls: Final Four shouldn't automatically guarantee ACC two spots

Kirk Bohls
Austin American-Statesman
Head coach Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide still sit atop of Kirk Bohls' Associated Press Top 25 poll.

The balloting is nearing a close.

With just two weeks left before the College Football Playoff selection committee’s final results, the top of the standings is looking very familiar these days.

In fact, thanks to commissioner John Swofford basically usurping the CFP’s role and announcing the ACC race is done before it's, well, done, the Final Four is shaping up as a potential group of Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State. But the CFP might not look favorably on the ACC forcing its hand.

My Associated Press Top 25 vote remained the same at the top as it’s been since Oct. 24 and largely unchanged (although Texas reappeared at No. 25 with its rout of lowly Kansas State for its fourth win in five games).

It reads Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State.

Texas A&M, Florida and Cincinnati need not apply. And that’s a shame.

If the Irish double down and beat the Tigers a second time in the ACC title game, Dabo Swinney’s bunch should be excused from playoff consideration with its second loss because the ACC didn't put up much of a fight on its schedule. If Clemson wins the rematch, we will probably get served up Catholics and Carolinians Part III, which might not excite anybody.

I’d contend also if Clemson clobbers Notre Dame, the CFP should look seriously at the Aggies, Gators, Bearcats and possibly — just possibly — the Big 12 champion as the fourth team.

Very little shakeup on my Top 25 ballot. BYU came up a yard short in the improvised matchup with impressive Coastal Carolina after traveling more than 2,000 miles across the country to play a game arranged on Thursday and fell to 13th while the impressive Chanticleers moved up four spots to 12th.

Marshall fell five spots to 19th after falling to Rice, and Oklahoma State, Wisconsin and Oregon dropped out of my standings after losses. Besides Texas, newcomers to my poll are North Carolina and Iowa.

Here’s my ballot:

1. Alabama

2. Notre Dame

3. Clemson

4. Ohio State

5. Texas A&M

6. Florida

7. Cincinnati

8. Miami

9. Indiana

10. Iowa State

11. Oklahoma

12. Coastal Carolina

13. BYU

14. Northwestern

15. Georgia

16. Louisiana-Lafayette

17. USC

18. Tulsa

19. Marshall

20. North Carolina

21. Liberty

22. North Carolina State

23. Iowa

24. Buffalo

25. Texas