COLUMBUS, Ohio - As Ohio State football prepares for perhaps its two most challenging games of the regular season, it continues to control its own destiny in the College Football Playoff picture.
The Buckeyes landed in the No. 2 spot for the second straight week, behind No. 1 LSU. Ohio State was No. 1 in the initial rankings before it and the Tigers flipped spots last week.
The other two semifinal spots also held over from last week: No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Georgia. Alabama stayed at No. 5 and Oregon remained at No. 6.
Ohio State defeated last-place Rutgers 56-21 last week, following up on a 73-14 victory over similarly struggling Maryland. The Buckeyes will next face two teams in the CFP top 20 — No. 8 Penn State and No. 13 Michigan. Wins over both would help Ohio State catch up to LSU in number of quality victories this season.
The Nittany Lions, who were No. 4 in the first ranking before dropping to No. 9 after a loss at Minnesota, rose one spot.
If Ohio State wins Saturday it also locks up a spot in the Big Ten championship game. The most likely opponents are either No. 10 Minnesota or No. 12 Wisconsin.
LSU has two remaining home games — Arkansas on Saturday and Texas A&M the following week. The Aggies have not yet cracked the CFP Top 25, though they did move up into the Associated Press Top 25 this week. LSU also has the inside track to play in the SEC championship game against Georgia.
Cincinnati, which Ohio State defeated 42-0, dropped two spots to No. 19.
Minnesota dropped two spots to No. 10 Wisconsin and Michigan both climbed two spots to 12 and 13, respectively.
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