College Football Playoff Rankings: Five Things We Have Learnt Ahead of Week 12

Newsweek Sports 1 month ago

The second release of the College Football Playoff rankings was expected to deliver major changes and it lived up to its billing.

As expected, LSU is now the No.1 ranked team in the nation, leapfrogging Ohio State at the top after beating Alabama on Saturday, while the Crimson Tide has now fallen out of the top four to No. 5.

Clemson, meanwhile, has climbed up two spots and slots in at No.3.

Here's five talking points from Tuesday.

LSU can afford to lose

As it stands, the Tigers are the best team in the nation and the debate is not particularly close either.

LSU has topped the Associated Press Top 25 poll for the last three weeks now and the 46-41 win in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Saturday saw it claim top spot in USA Today's coaches poll and in the CFP ranking.

The Tigers are in the driver's seat to win the SEC West and play in the SEC Championship Game. The win over Alabama means LSU can probably afford a loss in its remaining three regular season games and still make the top four.

Given their next three opponents are Ole Miss, Arkansas and Texas A&M, don't expect the Tigers to lose any time soon.

Ed Orgeron, LSU Tigers

Alabama could miss the playoffs

Following its 46-41 defeat at home to LSU on Saturday, Alabama fell out of the top four for the first time since November 28, 2017 and now faces the concrete possibility of missing out on the playoff altogether.

Last week, much had been made of the committee's decision to list Alabama at No.3 and Clemson at No. 5, despite both teams being undefeated and having a less than stellar schedule.

On Tuesday, however, Alabama didn't get the rub of the green, as the committee ranked it behind Georgia, who is also 8-1. The Bulldogs' only defeat came against South Carolina, but they also have two wins over top-16 teams, which were seemingly enough to offset the loss.

Alabama, meanwhile, lost to LSU and hasn't defeated a Top 25-ranked program this season yet—although that may change when it faces Auburn on November 30. As it stands, the Crimson Tide won't play in the SEC Championship Game and may not have enough time nor chances to change the committee's mind.

The SEC hype continues

The SEC is the only conference with two teams currently making the playoff and it has three teams in the top five for the third time since the CFP's inception in 2014—no other conference has achieved the feat even once.

LSU is a shoo-in for the playoff and Georgia should make the playoff if it runs the table. If the Bulldogs were to win the SEC Championship Game it is realistic to expect both teams to be included in the top four, but the scenario becomes trickier if Georgia was to lose.

Similarly, should Georgia lose to Auburn this weekend, the Bulldogs' path to the playoff may become a lot harder.

For the time being, the SEC may have to representatives in the playoffs, but that can still change between now and Selection Sunday on December 8.

Jake Fromm, Georgia Bulldogs

The Big 12 has work to do

Oklahoma is the conference's highest-ranked team and sits at No.10, while Baylor slotted in at No.13, the lowest-ranked of the five undefeated programs left in the FBS.

The two programs meet this weekend, meaning one of them will secure a Top-25 win. The Sooners have defeated No. 22 Oklahoma State and No.19 Texas, while the Bears have also won against the former and take on the latter next week.

That means either Oklahoma or Baylor could finish the season with with three Top 25 wins if they run the table, but if the Sooners lose on Saturday their season is as good as over.

Clemson is back

The reigning national champions were snubbed by the committee last week, debuting at No. 5 despite being 9-0. The Tigers, however, have climbed back in the playoff spots after a 55-10 rout of North Carolina State on Saturday, which extended their winning run to 25 games.

Clemson's relatively easily schedule has long been considered a potential Achilles heel but if the Tigers keep winning it'll be hard to leave them out.

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