The second set of College Football Playoff rankings are out, and there wasn’t a change in the top four heading into Week 11 of the college football season.
No. 1 Georgia (9-0), No. 2 Alabama (9-0), No. 3 Notre Dame (8-1) and No. 4 Clemson (8-1) maintained their spots in the top four, but there were some big moves worth talking about. Here are five things we learned about the second set of rankings:
WEEK 11 PICKS: Straight up | Against the spread
1. Sooners will press committee
Assuming the chalk holds this weekend, then that would mean No. 5 Oklahoma (8-1) beats No. 6 TCU (8-1) in yet another Big 12 showdown one week after beating No. 15 Oklahoma State (7-2). Oklahoma also beat No. 13 Ohio State (7-2) this season. And, by the way, Baker Mayfield is the Heisman Trophy front- runner.
So, the committee is going to leave out a 12-1 Oklahoma team with all those wins piled up? Do you think that happens if Mayfield wins the Heisman? We think not. If Oklahoma stays on course, then they will have a compelling case for the top four not just at the end of the road, but by next week.
2. Canes, Badgers shunned again
TCU shouldn’t be ranked ahead of No. 7 Miami (8-0) or No. 8 Wisconsin (9-0), but once again, the Hurricanes and Badgers are operating on a one-loss-and-you’re-out-standard. That’s not fair, but they can play their way in.
Miami would get all the light it needs if it beat Notre Dame and Clemson.
Wisconsin, meanwhile, plays No. 20 Iowa (6-3) this week and unranked Michigan (7-2) next week. The Wolverines are the only two-loss Power 5 team not ranked in the top 25. The fact No. 25 Northwestern (6-3) is ranked ahead of Michigan — likely by virtue of a victory against No. 12 Michigan State (7-2) — shows the committee values big wins over win-loss record.
3. Washington could make a run
No. 9 Washington (8-1) is the top-ranked team in the Pac-12, the last Power 5 conference in the pecking order. The Huskies, however, are in position to make a run as long as they keep winning. Washington faces No. 19 Washington State (8-2) in the regular season finale and could face No. 11 USC (8-2) in the Pac-12 championship. The Huskies should be rooting for USC. That would give them the most light on championship weekend. The Huskies might be the last of the one-loss teams, but their path is negotiable.
MORE: Week 11 bowl projections
4. Two-loss Auburn ranked on potential
No. 10 Auburn (7-2) leads the two-loss heap, one spot ahead of USC and the Big Ten East trio of Michigan State, No. 13 Ohio State (7-2) and No. 14 Penn State (7-2). The Tigers have the most potential of all those two-loss teams, but it’s more about their schedule and games against No. 1 Georgia and No. 2 Alabama the next three weeks than anything else.
Would you pick the Tigers over the Trojans? Maybe. Over the Spartans, Buckeyes and Nittany Lions? Doubtful. Still, no two-loss team has a better path to the College Football Playoff than Auburn.
5. Next week will be fun
The good news is we have three top-10 showdowns with Notre Dame at Miami, TCU at Oklahoma and Georgia at Auburn. If Georgia, Notre Dame and Oklahoma win, then these rankings won’t change much next week.
If Miami, TCU and Auburn win, however, that would unlock some severe carnage. Who should root for that scenario.
Ohio State and Michigan State play this weekend, and the winner likely will represent the Big Ten East in Indianapolis. The Spartans jumped 12 spots this week after beating Penn State, and the Buckeyes fell seven after losing to Iowa. Six Big Ten teams are ranked, the most of any conference. While the playoff hopes are a lot slimmer for some of those teams now, they aren’t quite dead yet.
|3||Notre Dame (8-1)|
|12||Michigan State (7-2)|
|13||Ohio State (7-2)|
|14||Penn State (7-2)|
|15||Oklahoma State (7-2)|
|16||Mississippi State (7-2)|
|17||Virginia Tech (7-2)|
|19||Washington State (8-1)|
|21||Iowa State (6-3)|
|23||N.C. State (6-3)|