Well, that was telling.

We had a lopsided game between top-3 teams in the regular season finale, which meant we were going to have a telling rankings show on Tuesday night.

There were plenty of questions. How far would Ohio State fall? Past USC? Past Alabama?

What about Michigan? Could the Wolverines possibly leapfrog Georgia and have the No. 1 spot?

We got answers to that. Here’s what the top 25 looked like:

Here were my takeaways from an interesting rankings show:

1. Kiss Alabama’s non-existent Playoff path goodbye

By coming in at No. 6, stick a fork in the Tide officially. Alabama will not jump fellow non-division champ Ohio State, who came in at No. 5. The Buckeyes will step in if USC falters and even if TCU gets blown out in the Big 12 Championship, it would still only be a 1-loss team.

I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen the last week or so that the Tide didn’t have a Playoff path. Even losses from Clemson, Ohio State and LSU didn’t make that happen. Why? Because Georgia, Michigan, TCU and Ohio State were going to have 1 loss at most in the final Playoff ranking. In what world was 2-loss Alabama suddenly going to break into that group with losses to the 2 best teams in its schedule?

And to be clear, that’s how it should be. This is never simply “how close were your losses.” For whatever reason, some tricked themselves into thinking that the Tide suffering 2 losses was going to win out over Ohio State’s lone loss. This wasn’t a vintage Alabama team. The best wins were against a pair of 4-loss teams. They had 3 wins (A&M, Ole Miss and Texas) that were decided in the last minute.

If your argument was “who would win on a neutral field,” I’d say why bother playing the games? Let’s just decide national championships based on recruiting rankings and transfer portal additions.

I’ll say it for the last time — Alabama’s Playoff hopes died in Death Valley.

2. Georgia deserved to stay at No. 1 and it did

Wait, didn’t Michigan just trounce Ohio State in Columbus and earn the best win of the year? Yep. That’s a nice feather in Michigan’s cap.

You know what’s a glaring demerit? Michigan decided not to schedule a single Power 5 opponent in non-conference play while Georgia scheduled 2. The precedent the selection committee would’ve set by rewarding Michigan’s lazy non-conference slate would’ve been rough.

Let’s also not forget that while Michigan has 2 decisive wins against the current top 10 (Penn State also happened), those are the only wins against the current CFP Top 25. Georgia has 4. And all of them (Oregon, Tennessee, South Carolina and MSU) were decisive and 3 of them were away from home.

If both teams win their respective conference championship games, I’d expect them to say locked into those top-2 spots.

3. Yes, Tennessee fans have every right to be upset

That is, to be ranked behind Alabama. That’s significant because the highest-ranked, non-Playoff SEC team goes to the Sugar Bowl. It appears Alabama has the fast track to that spot even after losing the head-to-head.

The side-by-side favors the Vols:

Current AP Top 25 wins
Wins vs. P5 bowl teams
Best win
20-19 at 8-4 Texas
52-49 vs. 10-2 Alabama
Worst loss
32-31 (OT) at 9-3 LSU
63-38 at 8-4 S. Carolina
Avg. scoring margin vs. P5
Common opponent record
Head-to-head matchup

What about Joe Milton, you say? Isn’t Tennessee significantly worse without Hendon Hooker?

Sure, there’s a drop-off. But we just watched Milton lead a 56-0 win to cool off a red-hot Vanderbilt squad (only slight sarcasm). And if it’s used to argue why an injury should impact a team’s ranking negatively, should we then elevate Ohio State in the event that Jaxon Smith-Njigba, AKA the best healthy receiver in the sport, returns? No way.

That’s why I don’t like that argument. Just base it on the résumé. Tennessee’s is better. Period.

The good news for the Vols is that while it doesn’t appear they’ll go to the Sugar Bowl, they should be locked into a New Year’s 6 Bowl (remember that gets sorted entirely by the Playoff rankings). It was a disappointing end to the Vols’ Playoff dreams, but not all is lost on Rocky Top.

4. There’s a decent chance this is all decided before Saturday

What a weird thought.

With USC taking on Utah in the Pac-12 Championship on Friday night, the Trojans could win and all but guarantee a spot in the Playoff with those 3 aforementioned unbeaten squads set to play in conference championships on Saturday.

There’s really no suspense going into Sunday if that’s the case. Perhaps the only debate would come with potential seeding if Georgia, Michigan or TCU were to lose. Go figure that it’s TCU who has the toughest conference championship matchup of the current top 4 with No. 10 Kansas State. That’s all the more reason why the selection committee has likely etched the Horned Frogs’ name into the field.

If chalk plays out with USC winning, it would give 4 conferences a team in the field for the first time since 2019. It would also mean that Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and Oklahoma would all be left out. At least 2 of those teams made the field each year of the Playoff era. They accounted for 21 of the 32 bids overall. Meanwhile, the 3 non-Georgia teams would be a combined 0-1 in Playoff games … with the lone appearance being Michigan’s blowout loss to UGA last year.

Does that mean we’re setting up for an anticlimactic ending?

Not so fast. If 2022 has taught us anything, it’s that bizarreness is always on the horizon.