FOX Sports College Football Analyst
There’s a new team atop the College Football Playoff rankings, and it’s a very familiar face: the defending champion Georgia Bulldogs.
The Dawgs were announced as the new No. 1 team when the CFP Committee released its latest rankings Tuesday. Rounding out the top four were No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 TCU. Tennessee, which was No. 1 last week before being dismantled by Georgia on Saturday, fell to No. 5.
It went pretty much as expected. Perhaps the most surprising thing about Tuesday night’s revelation was that the selection committee dropped a ranking that most of us agree with. You could even say it was sensible.
Now that we’re all in agreement, it seems pretty straightforward who is in contention for one of the four coveted CFP spots and who isn’t.
CFP Ranking Reactions: What to Watch Ahead
RJ Young shares his thoughts on the top six teams in the CFP rankings and looks at the upcoming matchups that will change those rankings.
Here are my takeaways:
TCU controls its own destiny
If you’re the Horned Frogs, you should be thrilled that the CFP selection committee is recognizing your undefeated resume and handful of ranked wins heading into Week 11.
With just three games left in the regular season, the Horned Frogs control their own destiny. All they have to do is win.
This is the best you can hope for in the CFP era. With the Horned Frogs playing at No. 18 Texas on Saturday, they’ll have a chance to match Tennessee’s tally with five ranked wins, further bolstering their resume and maybe even find themselves out of the kill spot — the No. 4 to sink. by No. 1: Just in time for Selection Sunday if Ohio State and/or Michigan were to travel and fall.
While it doesn’t seem likely that the Buckeyes and Wolverines will lose before their Nov. 26 date in Columbus, Ohio, what is certain is that one of them will lose that day. And the winner will likely enter the Big Ten title game as the presumptive favorite.
The Wolverines still have an interesting matchup with No. 21 Illinois on their schedule, perhaps an appetizer for a rematch in the league title game, but it seems certain that if the Buckeyes or the Wolverines win the their conference, they will have a guaranteed place. the CFP.
Ohio State and Michigan are on a collision course
RJ Young looks at the CFP rankings and compares No. 2 Ohio State to No. 3 Michigan.
Tennessee is far from out
Tennessee ran into the buzzsaw that is Georgia’s defense last Saturday, but their performance did little to convince the committee, or me, that the Volunteers are bad. If anything, that game showed the difference between the defending national champions and the other 131 FBS teams in the sport.
This is also a team that has wins against two of the top three teams in the SEC West: LSU and Alabama.
If the Vols can run the rest of their schedule without losing, it’s conceivable they could earn a chance to avenge their loss to UGA in the CFP, even without appearing in their conference title game.
Oregon needs USC be a team with a loss to the Pac-12 title game
A 46-point loss is hard to overcome, but the Ducks could do it. They need three of the four teams in front of them to pull off an upset, maybe TCU or one of the Big Ten schools, and UCLA/USC to get into the Pac-12 title game with just one loss. That would make the Ducks’ resume palatable to the CFP committee, assuming they win out.
However, there are still No. 25 Washington, No. 13 Utah and a strong Oregon State team to dispatch if their chances of making the CFP remain. Like Tennessee, the Ducks would love another chance to avenge their loss to the Bulldogs.
LSU needs carnage and a win against UGA
There has never been a two-loss team selected to the CFP. But as the top team in the SEC West, the LSU Tigers could still be the first to accomplish that feat.
However, that means beating Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, which would be such a monumental accomplishment that the committee might have no choice but to respect LSU’s win over Alabama, overlook the loss to Tennessee, and include the Tigers in the CFP.
The acc it can be toast
With No. 10 Clemson and No. 15 North Carolina, the two top-ranked teams in the ACC, both losing to Notre Dame, the ACC’s CFP hopes may be lost.
It’s not just that ND beat the two teams most likely to play in the ACC title game. It’s just that ND is coming off a 3-6 loss at Stanford and putting money in the bag against Marshall.
Even with North Carolina State and Florida State earning a top-25 ranking this week, it’s hard to believe the ACC is one of the top four conferences in the sport, and it’s likely the their conference champion stays out of the CFP.
Here are the rankings:
1. Georgia (9-0)
2. Ohio State (9-0)
3. Michigan (9-0)
4. TCU (9-0)
5. Tennessee (8-1)
6. Oregon (8-1)
7. LSU (7-2)
8. USC (8-1)
9. Alabama (7-2)
10. Clemson (8-1)
11. Ole Miss (8-1)
12. UCLA (8-1)
13. Utah (7-2)
14. Penn State (7-2)
15. North Carolina (8-1)
16. NC State (7-2)
17. Tulane (8-1)
18. Texas (6-3)
19. Kansas State (6-3)
20. Our Lady (6-3)
21. Illinois (7-2)
22. UCF (7-2)
23. Florida State (6-3)
24. Kentucky (6-3)
25. Washington (7-2)
RJ Young is a national college football writer and analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the podcast “The number one college football show.“Follow him on Twitter at @RJ_Young i subscribe to “The RJ Young Show” on YouTube.
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