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AP photo by Butch Dill / Alabama football coach Nick Saban talks with his players during a timeout in the first half of Saturday's game at Auburn.

Saturday afternoon was the perfect example of why I never bet on sports. Never. Ever.

May I merely repeat two scores?

No. 1) Michigan 42, Ohio State 27.

No. 2) Alabama 24, Auburn 22 — in four overtimes after the No. 3 Crimson Tide entered the 86th Iron Bowl favored by as much as 20 points.

Which brings up the second reason I don't bet. Let's say you bet on the team you're rooting for and they win the game, but you lose the bet because you were on the wrong side of the point spread. So even if your team wins, you feel like you lost, which kind of takes the fun out of the whole day.

And as much as we learned Saturday — two-loss Ohio State would now seem to be out of the College Football Playoff and probably headed to the Sugar Bowl — it would now seem that what we need to know regarding who will ultimately join currently undefeated Georgia in football's final, fortunate four won't be known until the close of next weekend, when the conference title games are completed.

Assuming that Cincinnati wins the American Athletic Conference title to run its record to 13-0, you'd have to believe the Bearcats have to be in, especially if Notre Dame is again allowed in, despite losing at home to them early in the season.

Also, before anyone goes whining about Cincinnati's schedule other than that win in South Bend, Indiana, take a look at Notre Dame's schedule. One could easily argue that the Fighting Irish's biggest win was a home rout of Wisconsin. But the Badgers lost at Minnesota on Saturday, which means that Iowa, not Wisconsin, will face Michigan in the Big Ten title game.

Given that, and Cincy's road win against the Irish, how can you not make the Bearcats the first team outside of the Power Five conferences and powerful independent Notre Dame to reach the four-team playoff as long as they win their league title game against Houston?

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AP photo by Vasha Hunt / Auburn football coach Bryan Harsin walks off the field after his Tigers' 24-22 four-overtime loss to visiting Alabama on Saturday.

Let us briefly return to Alabama, which would reach the CFP with ease if it beats Georgia in the Southeastern Conference championship game. The problem for Bama is that everything it has struggled with in a loss at Texas A&M and Saturday's overtime win at Auburn — namely, aggressive pass rushes and blitzes and physical defensive back play — are areas Georgia is the best in the country at executing.

In fact, for much of the late afternoon, Auburn roughed up the Tide's offensive line as it has not been roughed up since Clemson crushed Bama 44-16 in the national championship game at the close of the 2018 season.

So are you ready to see a College Football Playoff consisting of Georgia, Michigan, Cincinnati and perhaps the Big 12 title game winner, as long as that team has a single loss?

You better be, because it's all but impossible to see either the Buckeyes or Bama getting in with two losses, though at least the Tide's second loss would come in its 13th game rather than its 12th, which should cement the Buckeyes' exclusion.

Which begs the question: Could Bama get in with two losses? Perhaps, especially if it takes four overtimes for the Dawgs to defeat the Tide. But Alabama shouldn't.

Still, you have to have four teams. What if, for instance, Iowa shocks Michigan in the Big Ten title game. A little like Tennessee showing up flat for the SEC title game in 2001 after winning at Florida the weekend before, then losing to LSU with a spot in the BCS national title game on the line, the Wolverines could understandably be a bit dead emotionally against the Hawkeyes.

Then we've got the kind of mess that makes so much of the public, and more than a few coaches, long for an eight-team playoff, if only to avoid Notre Dame being the last team in.

But all of that took a backseat to the action on the field Saturday. To Michigan. To Alabama. To Georgia's continued excellence in its rout of Georgia Tech. To Tennessee's continued improvement in its victory over Vanderbilt, which secured a 7-5 regular-season record and a shot at a highly respectable bowl game.

As a CBS reporter stuck a microphone in Nick Saban's face after that fourth overtime, the rarely grinning Bama coach said of his reaction to the Tide's outlandish comeback: "I can't put it into words."

Up in Michigan they understand. Quite possibly in Knoxville, too, given the meager expectations over the summer.

If the College Football Playoff matches the surprises of this weekend, we may all be at a loss for words, though right now it would seem as if Georgia not only has all the words, but all the answers needed to win its first national championship since 1980.

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Mark Wiedmer

Contact Mark Wiedmer at mwiedmer@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @TFPWeeds.

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