clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Washington Slides Up to 3rd in College Football Playoff Rankings

The Huskies skip over Ohio State after the Buckeyes fell at Michigan

Utah v Washington Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The latest edition of the College Football Playoff rankings have been released and Washington, as expected, has moved into the #3 spot. Previous #2-ranked Ohio State fell on the road against #3 Michigan to drop down to 6th overall in order to create room for Washington to ascend.

Across the rest of the Pac-12, Oregon jumped Ohio State to 5th overall, Arizona rose up to 15th, and Oregon State fell to 20th. Utah did not get back into the top-25 at 8-4 and ends up behind Tennessee, Clemson, and Kansas State who all finished with the same record.

As we head into conference championship weekend, there are a few seemingly absolute truths. If Washington defeats #5 Oregon on Friday they will make the CFP as somewhere between the #1 and #3 seed. None of the teams immediately behind them can get a better win than the Huskies would have over Oregon in order to leapfrog the Dawgs.

It’s also true that even with a second win over the Ducks it seems unlikely that Washington would surpass either Georgia or Michigan should both win. The committee hasn’t seemed to view UW close enough to either that such a jump is realistic. Although there is really no difference between 2nd and 3rd in terms of matchup since the better seed doesn’t get home field which means it’s largely irrelevant unless UW were in position to jump both.

If either or both of Georgia and Michigan somehow lost their conference championship games, then you would expect Washington to continue to move up one spot at a time. A loss by Georgia to Alabama seems plausible even with the Tide needing a miracle to beat Auburn last week. A win by Iowa over Michigan seems...less plausible.

Things are much more messy if Washington falls in the rematch in Vegas on Friday. In that case, the Huskies will be hoping for chaos everywhere except the SEC. Washington at 12-1 without a conference title game win would be certain to finish below the following: 13-0 Georgia (SEC champ), 13-0 Michigan (B1G champ), 13-0 Florida State (ACC champ), 12-1 Oregon (Pac-12 champ), 12-1 Texas (Big 12 champ), 12-1 Alabama (SEC champ).

If you get chalk all across the board then Washington finishes no better than 6th. The committee values a win in the conference championship game even if you go undefeated in the regular season which means UW gets leapfrogged by schools like Texas even if it were a 3OT loss to the Ducks.

It becomes a more contested decision by the committee to judge Washington against the following teams: 12-1 Georgia, 12-1 Michigan, 11-1 Ohio State, 11-2 Louisville (ACC champ). And the Dawgs even with a loss would almost certainly be ahead of the following: 12-1 Florida State, 11-2 Texas, 11-2 Alabama.

Only one set of circumstances seems to line up to give Washington a legitimate shot at the #4 seed with a loss. That is: Georgia (13-0) beats Alabama (11-2); Oklahoma State (10-3) beats Texas (11-2), Louisville (11-2) beats Florida State (12-1). In that world you have 13-0 Georgia at #1, 13-0 Michigan at #2, likely 12-1 Pac-12 champ Oregon at #3 and then a battle between 12-1 UW, 12-1 Florida State, and 11-1 Ohio State for the 4th seed. The Huskies would have started out higher ranked than FSU and lost to a better team so it seems likely they win out there. It then becomes a battle between the Dawgs and OSU. One conference did away with divisional structures to allow a rematch of their top-two teams. The other didn’t. Which model would serve to get 2 teams in the dance?