After an eventful weekend that saw several top-ten teams lose, there’s been a major shakeup at the top of the College Football Playoff rankings.
A familiar face tops this week’s ranking, as the Alabama Crimson Tide claim the top spot with a 10-0 record. No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Miami, No. 4 Oklahoma join Alabama in position for the four-team playoff.
The first two teams out are No. 5 Wisconsin and No. 6 Auburn, both of whom scored wins over ranked opponents this week.
Alabama came back from a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit to eek out a 31-24 road win at Mississippi State. The Crimson Tide have been No. 1 in both the AP and USA TODAY Coaches’ poll since the preseason, but the committee rewarded Georgia with the No. 1 spot for the first two weeks, as the Bulldogs had more impressive wins.
Last week’s top-ranked team Georgia fell six spots to No. 7 after a 40-17 loss to Auburn. If Georgia wins out, the Bulldogs will likely play the winner of the Auburn-Alabama game in the SEC championship game, the winner of which will be in great position to earn a Playoff berth.
Miami moved up five spots after its impressive 41–8 win over Notre Dame in primetime. The turnover chain-wearing defense kept its magic going by forcing four turnovers, and Miami’s game against No. 3 Clemson on Dec. 2 could go a long way in finalizing the playoff picture. Notre Dame, on the other hand, had its Playoff hopes crushed and tumbled to No.8.
In a matchup of last week’s No. 5 and No. 6 teams, Baker Mayfield cemented his status as the Heisman front-runner by throwing for 333 yards and three touchdowns as Oklahoma beat TCU 38–20. Despite the margin of victory over a quality opponent, the committee kept Clemson ranked above the Sooners. Clemson beat Florida State 31-14 on Saturday.
Wisconsin moved up after comfortably beating then-No. 20 Iowa 38-14. While it once appeared that Wisconsin might miss the playoff even if they went undefeated, the chaos at the top appears to have paved a path for the Badgers to reach the playoff should they win out. Saturday’s win clinched the Big Ten West title for Wisconsin, meaning they’ll get the chance to post another much-needed impressive victory in the Big Ten championship game.
The Pac-12’s Playoff hopes were all but ended with Washington’s loss at Stanford on Friday night. The Huskies dropped ten spots to No. 18, and the Pac 12’s highest-ranked team is two-loss USC at No. 11. The Trojans did not move a spot after winning 38-24 at Colorado.
The AAC championship game could well serve as a one-game playoff for the group-of-six conferences’ guaranteed bid in a New Years Six bowl. No. 15 Central Florida is is leading the AAC East and is currently the highest ranked non-Power 5 team, while No. 21 Memphis is the second-highest ranked group-of-six team and leads the AAC West. Should those teams falter down the stretch, No. 25 Boise State of the Mountain West could claim the bid.
The full ranking is as follows:
1. Alabama (10-0, SEC)
2. Clemson (9-1, ACC)
3. Miami (9-0, ACC)
4. Oklahoma (9-1, Big 12)
5. Wisconsin (9-0, Big Ten)
6. Auburn (8-2, SEC)
7. Georgia (9-1, SEC)
8. Notre Dame (8-2, Independent)
9. Ohio State (8-2, Big Ten)
10. Penn State (8-2, Big Ten)
11. USC (9-2, Pac 12)
12. TCU (8-2, Big 12)
13. Oklahoma State (8-2, Big 12)
14. Washington State (9-2, Pac 12)
15. UCF (9-0, AAC)
16. Mississippi State (7-3, SEC)
17. Michigan State (7-3, Big Ten)
18. Washington (8-2, Pac 12)
19. NC State (7-3, ACC)
20. LSU (7-3, SEC)
21. Memphis (8-1, AAC)
22. Stanford (7-3, Pac 12)
23. Northwestern (7-3, Big Ten)
24. Michigan (8-2, Big Ten)
25. Boise State (8-, MWC)