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College Football Playoff Rankings Out

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How the heck did Alabama get dropped to #3?

College Football Playoff National Championship - Head Coach Press Conference Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

The latest and greatest College Football Playoff Rankings were released this evening.

In a surprise to no one, Alabama retained the pole position at #1 for the eleventybillionth straight week, and the top four remained the same for a second consecutive week:

  1. Alabama
  2. Ohio State
  3. Michigan
  4. Clemson

With Lousiville’s loss to Houston last week, the Washington Huskies moved up a spot to #5, with Wisconsin coming in at #6. Penn State is currently sitting at #7, followed by Oklahoma at #8, the Colorado Buffaloes at #9, and Oklahoma State rounds out the top 10.

Around the rest of the conference, USC is at #12, and is the highest-rated three loss team. Utah fell 10 spots to #22 after their loss to the Ducks. The committee obviously values the Buffs (and the Cuogs), as WSU fell only a single spot to #23 after losing by two scores in Boulder. Four straight wins against four teams without a pulse between them was enough to get the 8-3 Stanford Cardinal into the rankings this week, at #24.

Since no one asked, here’s one Husky fan’s take on the most reasonable, best way for things to fall the next two weekends to get Washington into the playoffs:

  1. Obviously, the Huskies win out. The question is what would be the best results from the Pac 12 South. Currently, the Huskies have wins over two ranked teams. A victory in Pullman will almost undoubtedly drop the Cuogs out of the poll. A Colorado win over Utah will clinch the division for the Buffs, but drop the Utes out of the poll. A Utah win would propel them to somewhere around 17th or so, and drop the Buffs to roughly the same spot. It would clinch the South for USC, meaning REMATCH!!, and leave the Huskies with quality wins over a ranked Utah team, a ranked Stanford team, and then USC in the title game. But beating USC would give them four losses, and the selection committee would likely forget their current love affair with all things latex, and drop USC disproportionately. So, a better result might very well be beating Colorado, who with only three losses, might not be as apt to plummet. The kicker in all of this is that the Huskies can actually hurt their own cause by winning big in either game, which would devalue their opponent and hurt their resume.
  2. Michigan wins out. This would mean a win over Ohio State, and then probably another win over Wisconsin. And it would put to bed any chance of the B14G getting two teams in to the playoffs, especially when one would be a multi-loss non-champion team chosen over a one-loss Pac 12 champion. But Michigan suddenly can’t play offense, so they’re likely to lose to OSU. Root for the the Buckeyes to win big. Really big.
  3. Penn State losing to Michigan State, or Wisconsin losing to Minnesota this weekend. Neither of these are likely to happen, as the games are at the homes of the favorites. Michigan State played inspired football against Ohio State, and Minnesota isn’t a “bad” team. But neither is likely to happen. That means the B14G comes down to Penn State and Wisconsin for the conference championship, with a one-loss, 2nd ranked non-champion Ohio State team as two possible entrants. With LSU’s loss to Florida last weekend, the Tigers are out of the polls. The only win over a ranked team on Wisconsin’s schedule is Nebraska, at #16. The Badgers next two best wins are actually close losses, to Ohio State and Michigan. Penn State has a truly great win, but was blown out by Michigan, and lost to a decent-but-not-great Pitt team early. If those two teams win out, the best hope for the Huskies is an unimpressive victory by the Nittany Lions, and that the playoff committee has the stones to include a team in Ohio State that couldn’t even win its division, and leave out the champion of what’s regarded as the toughest conference top-to-bottom in the country. This is how playoffs get expanded from four teams to eight, right here. Because when it comes down to it, I think that the committee would take Ohio State and Washington over that Penn State team.
  4. Clemson really only has negative opportunities left this season. South Carolina is a bad team, and Clemson can only hurt itself in this game, should they fail to blow the Gamecocks out of the water. The ACC title game will pit the Tigers against an unranked North Carolina team, that again, won’t do much for Clemson’s resume. And’s the surprise ending to all of this.........
  5. Clemson might actually be the one-loss conference champ that’s on the outside looking in, when the dust settles. If Florida beats up on Florida State, the Seminoles could drop substantially in the polls. That leaves Louisville as the lone really good win on Clemson’s schedule, and the luster has faded some on that win. Every other team in contention for the playoffs will enter the conversation quite likely coming off doing something impressive. Meanwhile, Clemson will show up to the meeting in a dirty 25 year-old suit, with toilet paper stuck to its shoe.....It could happen. Even if the Tigers are in, would anyone be shocked if they fall to #4, and Washington/Penn State/Wisconsin slides in to the third spot?

There’s two weeks left, but it seems like a lot of football to play. With that,