No. 3 Oregon, No. 4 Ohio State, and No. 5 Cincinnati all moved up one place behind No. 1 Georgia and No. 2 Alabama in the second college football playoff rankings released Tuesday night.
Two Southeastern Conference teams sat at the top of the rankings for the second straight week, but after Michigan State lost last weekend, it was certain that at least one place in the top four would change.
The CFP selection committee simply upgraded the Ducks, Buckeyes and Bearcats, leaving Michigan State 7th behind Michigan No. 6.
“It’s worth noting that the teams in second through sixth all won, but the committee just saw no separation,” said Iowa committee chairman and sporting director Gary Barta.
The Spartans defeated the Wolverines 37:33 just two weeks ago, but the head-to-head result did not spark debate with the committee.
“The discussion in the states of Michigan and Michigan started last week,” said Barta. “The committee went back and forth. Michigan is statistically likely a more complete team. “
For the second straight week, Cincinnati re-branded top ranking for a team outside of the Power Five conferences. The Bearcats took sixth place in the first ranking.
The unbeaten Oklahoma stayed in 8th place, and Notre Dame and Oklahoma State rounded out the top 10.
There are three more regular season leaderboards before the CFP selection committee picks up the semi-finals and other New Year’s Six Bowls with its final top 25 on December 5th.
The semi-finals of the College Football Playoffs will be played at the Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl on December 31st.
The national championship game is scheduled for January 10th in Indianapolis.
The Sooners and Big 12 still have some catching up to do but still have plenty of fuel on the schedule to get a boost.
Oklahoma’s next three are against Baylor, the No. 13 team on the committee, the state of Iowa (unranked but 6-3) and the state of Oklahoma. The Cowboys have already shared games with Baylor and Iowa State.
“The committee found that moving the quarterback to Caleb Williams, like probably anyone who has watched Oklahoma, changed that team,” said Barta.
Newcomer Williams took over for Spencer Rattler four games ago, and Oklahoma’s offense has grown since then.
No undefeated Power Five Conference champion has ever been excluded from the playoffs and it is doubtful that the Sooners would be the first.
The Sooners also went this way into the playoffs. In 2015 they were 12th in the ranking at this point and made it into the field. In 2019 they were 10th at this point in time and got on.
It should be noted, however, that by this point Oklahoma had already lost one game in both seasons.
So far, Notre Dame’s impact on the rankings has been mainly felt in how the win against the Fighting Irish (8-1) has strengthened Cincinnati.
Don’t count the Irish out yet.
Assuming they win and are favored in all of the remaining games (at Virginia vs. Georgia Tech, at Stanford), the Irish could make an interesting team 11-1 if the Big Ten and Big 12 teams cannibalize each other and Georgia clears out the rest of the SEC.
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