We’re down to one last regular season game as the season moves to Rivalry Weekend, and from there to Championship Saturday, and finally to College Football Playoff Selection Sunday. But first, there are rankings to be announced.
As expected, there wasn’t any change as far as the First Four In are concerned, with that elite group of teams staying put this week — but it won’t stay that way.
Arch-rivals Ohio State and Michigan will play this weekend, with the loser expected to fall out of the top four, and ultimately out of the playoff picture altogether.
That will allow for one team currently not inside the top four to make a play for inclusion, provided of course that they can keep winning, too.
USC and Clemson are the best bets to take advantage — the Trojans get a resurgent Notre Dame this week and are already guaranteed a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game, while the Tigers have a date in the ACC title bout.
Where do things stand right now? Here’s your look at the new College Football Playoff rankings as we head into the regular season finale.
10. Tennessee. Despite that very ugly loss at South Carolina, allowing 63 points on the road and quarterback Hendon Hooker to a knee injury, the Volunteers remain in the top 10 and in line for a good bowl game.
9. Oregon. Beating Utah at home puts the Ducks in position to clinch the other spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game provided they beat Oregon State this weekend.
8. Clemson. The favorite to win the ACC title at one loss, the Tigers are still clinging to playoff contention, and with wins over Florida State and Louisville looking better all the time as those teams rise in the rankings.
7. Alabama. Likely out of the College Football Playoff hunt, the Crimson Tide are still in line to win 10 games and qualify for a quality New Year’s bowl game. But even so, the committee’s decision to keep Alabama ahead of the presumptive ACC title favorite Clemson is noteworthy.
Outside looking in
6. USC. A statement win on the road against rival UCLA books the Trojans a ticket to the Pac-12 title game. By beating Notre Dame at home and likely Oregon for the league crown, Lincoln Riley could get into the top four in Year 1 on the job. He certainly has the offense to do it. the defence? That’s an open question.
5. LSU. Still sitting at two losses and guaranteed a spot in the SEC Championship Game, the Tigers have a road tilt against Texas A&M hoping to avoid dropping a third as they still stand a chance of sneaking into the playoff, even if most observers don’t think Brian Kelly’s bunch have a shot against Georgia in Atlanta.
4.TCU. Another late-game deficit for the Horned Frogs, on the road at Baylor, but they recovered just in time with a last-second field goal to stay undefeated. All eyes are on Arlington as TCU heads into the Big 12 title game in two weeks with its first playoff berth on the line.
3. Michigan. Sitting at 11-0 for the first time since 2006 after edging Illinois at home, the Wolverines continue to ride a ferocious ground attack into College Football Playoff contention as a trip to Columbus looms, but with some concern about Blake Corum, the nation’s premier running back, who injured his knee last weekend. Whoever wins The Game plays for the Big Ten title, and the likely No. 2 seed going into the semifinal.
2. Ohio State. Another close road game for the Buckeyes last weekend, as Maryland’s potent offense kept poking holes in the secondary unit, but the defense got its revenge with a late touchdown to clinch the win. Depth has been an issue as Ohio State’s top weapons — receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and back TreVeyon Henderson — have missed time with injuries, but CJ Stroud still has very elite targets to stretch the field keep this team squarely in the playoff chase.
1. Georgia. As expected, the Bulldogs maintained their hold on the top spot in the rankings after a dominant perfect record in regular season conference play that clinched a berth in the SEC Championship Game. This looks like the most complete team in college football right now, and it’s not all that close.
Selection Committee top 25 rankings
- Ohio State
- LSU (Up 1)
- USC (Up 1)
- Alabama (Up 1)
- Clemson (Up 1)
- Oregon (Up 3)
- Tennessee (Down 5)
- Penn State (No change)
- Kansas State (Up 3)
- Washington (Up 4)
- Utah (Down 4)
- Notre Dame (Up 3)
- Florida State (Up 3)
- North Carolina (Down 4)
- UCLA (Down 2)
- Tulane (Up 2)
- Ole Miss (Down 6)
- Oregon State (Up 2)
- UCF (Down 2)
- Texas (NR)
- Cincinnati (Up 1)
- Louisville (NR)
College Football Playoff selectors create top 25 rankings based on their evaluation of teams’ performance on the field.
The committee employs several metrics to select the best teams.
- Strength of schedule
- Head-to-head game results
- results vs. teams in top 25 rankings
- results vs. common opponents
- Conference championships
College Football Playoff electors also use advanced analytics to gauge teams’ play, but those numbers don’t play a formal role in the committee creating its top 25 rankings.
Dec. 31, 2022 Fiesta Bowl
Dec. 31, 2022 Peach bowl
Jan. 9, 2023 National Championship
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