The top five teams in the penultimate college football playoff rankings, released Tuesday, remained unchanged, while Iowa State playoff hopes received a boost and Cincinnati dealt another blow.
Alabama continues to lead the rankings at # 1, followed by Notre Dame # 2, Clemson # 3, Ohio State # 4 and Texas A&M # 5. Notre Dame and Clemson meet for the second time on Saturday Season in the ACC championship game.
Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide (10: 0) goes into the SEC championship game and meets Florida No. 7, which lost just one place after a home defeat of 37: 34 against 3: 5 LSU. The state of Ohio, which last played on December 5th and has only played five games this season, ranks 14th in the Northwest for the Big Ten championship.
Iowa State, who was idle last weekend, moves up to 6th and enters the Big 12 championship game against Oklahoma No. 10. The Cyclones, Gators and No. 8 Georgia all have two losses but are ahead of the unbeaten No. 9 Cincinnati (8-0), who have lost a place in each of the last two rankings despite not having played at UCF since November 21.
The Bearcats finally have a chance to impress the committee in the American Athletic Conference title game against Tulsa # 23. But even a win could hold them back behind the Big 12 champion and possibly Texas A&M, who are slated to face untapped Tennessee this week. Georgia is inactive after its game against Vanderbilt was canceled due to COVID-19 and other rosters availability issues with the Commodores.
Neither Notre Dame nor Clemson played last weekend, but Notre Dame’s CFP chances improved after North Carolina beat Miami 62-26 on the road. The Tar Heels moved up two places to 15th place, while Miami dropped eight places to 18th place. Notre Dame defeated North Carolina on November 27 at Chapel Hill with 31-17. Even if the Fighting Irish lose to Clemson, their profile appears strong enough to stay in the top four.
Coastal Carolina (11-0) needed a late touchdown at Troy to become the first FBS team to win 11. The Chanticleers advance to # 12 and enter the Sun Belt title game against Louisiana # 19.
USC (5-0) remains the top-rated Pac-12 team in 13th place and has moved up two places. The Trojans, however, are lacking a win after canceling a game with Colorado that dropped to 25th place after its first game loss of the season. Clay Helton’s team plays unranked Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game on Friday.
After a 6-0 start, San Jose State made its debut in the CFP rankings at number 24, the team’s best since 1939. The Spartans meet Boise State on Saturday in Las Vegas in the championship game Mountain West against Boise State.
BYU and NC State are among the nine teams moving up one place in this week’s leaderboard, checking in at 17th and 22nd respectively.
The CFP selection committee will announce its final rankings on Sunday, including the four semi-final teams.