WithOhio State,LSU,ClemsonandGeorgiaremaining atop the College Football Playoff rankings,Alabama‘s loss toAuburnopened the door forUtahandOklahomato move up to No. 5 and No. 6, respectively, entering this weekend’s conference championship games.
“We spent considerable time on [ranking teams] 4 through 7 and we understand where those are this week and we’ll look to see the games this weekend, “Rob Mullens, the CFP selection committee chairman, said Tuesday on ESPN. “There’s a bunch of teams that are tightly matched.”
Mullens said ranking Georgia, Utah, Oklahoma and Baylor – all 11 – 1 – was the focal point of this week’s discussion while completing the rankings.
“We spent more time on those teams than anybody else on the board, “Mullens said. “That right there tells you that there’s a lot of conversation among the committee on those teams.”
Alabama – which will miss the playoff for the first time since its inception in 2014 after suffering its second loss of the season in Saturday’s thriller at Auburn – fell to No. 12.
With Ohio State 56 – (over Michigan), LSU (50 – 7 over Texas A&M), Clemson (38 – 3 over South Carolina (and Georgia) 52 – 7 over Georgia Tech) all winning easily Saturday, the focus entering Tuesday’s rankings was squarely on Utah and Oklahoma, to see which would emerge with the fifth spot.
Both teams moved up one spot after the Utes beat Colorado 45 – 15 and the Sooners beat Oklahoma State 34 – 16.
“You’re looking at Oklahoma and their win over a ranked opponent, so you check that box there, “Mullens said when asked to characterize the discussions. “You look at Utah, you say, ‘Boy, they have been so consistent all season long and they’ve been dominant. Their defense is incredible.’ Those are the kind of conversations. “
Utah will look to state its case for a spot in the College Football Playoff on Friday night when it meets No. (Oregon) 10 – 2) for the Pac – 12 title.
question for Utah, Oklahoma and Baylor is whether a victory this weekend in their respective conference title games will be enough to earn a top-four spot; the Utes and Bears are seeking their first CFP berth, while the Sooners are aiming for a fourth appearance.
LSU (12 -0) and Georgia square off for the SEC title on Saturday afternoon, and Ohio State 12 – 0) meets 10 – 2 Wisconsin in Saturday night’s Big Ten title game. Clemson 12 – 0) faces Virginia (9-3) in Saturday night’s ACC championship game.
A loss by Georgia could open the door for Utah, Oklahoma or Baylor to gain a CFP berth.
“[Baylor] played Oklahoma really tough,” Mullens said, referencing the Sooners’ 34 – 31 road victory against the Bears. “They followed that up with an impressive win over Texas. They put a third win together (61 – 6 over Kansas) this weekend, so there’s a lot of respect for Baylor. “
The final rankings, which will reveal the New Year’s Six teams and set the field for the College Football Playoff, will be released Sunday
Wisconsin’s victory at Minnesota saw it move to No. 8, a gain of four spots, while Florida moved to No. 9, gaining two spots. Penn State held its position to round out the top 10.