No change at the top of the rankings which decide who goes to the College Football playoff, as Alabama remain at number one, followed by Oregon, Florida State and Mississippi State to complete the final four picture, followed by TCU, Ohio State and Baylor, all three of them waiting for someone above to slip.
A team that did take a serious tumble was Ole Miss. After such a good season which included beating Alabama, they’ve now slipped way down to number 19 following their 30-0 loss at Arkansas. Their fall helped UCLA (coming off a win against USC) climb back up to number eight, followed by Georgia and Michigan State, completing the top 10 picture. Marshall are also ranked although the number is insignificant. They’re actually trailing a two-loss Boise State team, who might have more brand recognition helping them out.
But what matters aren’t the petty squabbling over the lower numbers. It’s about who can make the playoff. Right now we have four teams that aren’t budging, but things will change once the factor of conference championship, which should be quite important to the committee, gets pushed into the final decision. Mississippi State have a problem if that is truly the case, unless of course everything gets turned around in rivalry week.
Two teams from the SEC West don’t make it in to the playoff. What might actually happen is the SEC West champion losing in the conference championship game and messes everything up. However, if the top 7 teams right now win out, which means Alabama, Florida State, Oregon and Ohio State winning their conference championship games (if Alabama get through the Iron Bowl unscathed), Mississippi State will be bounced from the top 4 in favor of the Buckeyes.
What about TCU and Baylor, who can both finish with one loss and claim the Big 12 title? Not having a championship game hurts you, especially if Ohio State impress when they play Wisconsin or Minnesota. It’s not quite clear if the dynamics between the two Texas school changes once their season is over in terms of who gets ranked above who, but an SEC team that didn’t play for the conference title will be cast aside in favor of someone who did.
Are there other teams that can still make it? UCLA, maybe, if they win the Pac-12. Georgia, if they get help and see Missouri lose, and win the SEC championship game. Missouri winning the conference won’t help push them that far, as unlikely as that sounds anyway. Wisconsin or Minnesota winning the Big Ten? That might be nice, but it won’t make them part of the final four group. It’s not all about winning the conference. Previous rankings have to be taken into account.