3rd set of College Football Playoff rankings creates myriad possibilitiesBy Kelly Sanders Nov 20, 2016
Well, wasn't that a fun college football weekend? 2, 3, 4, 8 and 9 teams lose last Saturday, the College Football Playoff Selection Committee burned the midnight oil getting ready to release its third set of rankings of the season Tuesday night.
Following a freakish weekend of upsets, Ohio State (9-1) is back in the mix at No. 2. MI holds the tiebreaker on Penn State, which holds that same edge on Ohio State. The only way that'll change is if the Buckeyes lose - to MI next Saturday.
The Big Ten placed four teams in the top 10 this week as Wisconsin (8-2) and Penn State (8-2) checked in at Nos. Ohio State, who won 62-3, vaulted up to #2 because of the losses.
That's because every season is unique, with different teams with different strengths and different flaws.
This year's legitimate contenders include two teams (Louisville and Ohio State) who might not even win their divisions. That should be enough to keep Clemson in the field, but the Tigers basically eliminated their margin for error.
The committee only dropped Washington two spots in the rankings because it was "impressed with the quality of wins at Utah, another quality win against a 7-3 Stanford team, and their only loss is to a good Southern California team", according to committee chair Kirby Hocutt.
In the latest ranking, Alabama is still the clear No. 1 team as the lone undefeated team from a Power-5 conference. The ACC and Big 12 are each projected to have three schools in the top 25. As of right now, Western Michigan still has the inside track on the New Year's Six bowl bid thanks to Boise State's loss to Wyoming, which is keeping those Broncos out of the Mountain West title game. And would it be enough to get past Louisville?
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Clemson has two regular-season games remaining - at Wake Forest on Saturday and at home against SC on November 26.
If Wisconsin wins the Big Ten championship. And what if 'Bama loses one of its final three games?
"Penn State sitting at No. 8, I am absolutely comfortable with Penn State getting into the playoff if it runs the table", analyst Joey Galloway added, "because the head-to-head matters".
No. 2 Ohio State stands a great chance, if it wins its last two games, of being the first non-conference champion selected. Auburn and LSU find themselves there as one rose and one fell.
Want a sleeper two-loss team to watch?
The other big movers this week are No. 12 Colorado (8-2) and No. 13 Oklahoma State (8-2), each up four spots. Louisville has one more game in ACC play, but it's against lowly Wake Forest.
So which four teams do you think ultimately make the playoffs? While bureaucracy rarely gives us exactly what we want, we can at least state our case to put the pressure on them.
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