Georgia remained No. 1, while Michigan moved up one spot to No. 2 and Washington is No. 3. The Wolverines beat the rival Buckeyes 30-24 on Saturday to clinch a spot in the Big Ten championship game and deal a big blow to Ohio State’s playoff hopes.
“As we look at it, it was a really good weekend, rivalry weekend, you get a little bit of everything,” CFP committee chair Boo Corrigan said on ESPN’s rankings release show. “What a great season it’s been so far.”
The Buckeyes were ranked No. 1 in the first CFP rankings Oct. 31. Ohio State also lost to Michigan last year but made it into the playoff after USC lost in the Pac-12 championship game. There is one key difference from last year: Ohio State dropped to No. 5 after the loss to Michigan. This year, the Buckeyes will need more help to finish in the top four.
That would include a Florida State loss to Louisville in the ACC championship game Saturday night in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Seminoles played their first game without starting quarterback Jordan Travis on Saturday against rival Florida, and while new starter Tate Rodemaker looked shaky at times, Florida State found a way to win 24-15.
“Different team without Jordan Travis,” Corrigan said of the Seminoles. “It’s more than one player, but obviously, they are a different team without Jordan Travis.”
The big question headed into Tuesday night’s rankings was how the committee would view the Seminoles with Rodemaker behind center. After dropping to No. 5 last week — based on what the committee said was Washington’s stronger strength of schedule — Florida State was able to get back into the top four with the Ohio State loss and stay ahead of the four one-loss teams stacked behind. That is seemingly good news for its playoff hopes should it remain undefeated.
Every conference championship game this weekend is bound to have playoff implications — starting with the SEC championship between Georgia and No. 8 Alabama in Atlanta on Saturday.
The Pac-12 championship game between Washington and No. 5 Oregon on Friday night is likely to produce one playoff team as well. The Huskies beat the Ducks earlier this year at home 36-33 in a game that went down to the final play. Oregon has had far more decisive wins than Washington down the stretch. If the Ducks win, as the highest-ranked one-loss team, they would all but assuredly be in.
“Oregon has continued to dominate,” Corrigan said. “With the season that [Ducks quarterback] Bo Nix is having, they have continued to impress with both the offense and the defense.”
Michigan plays No. 16 Iowa in the Big Ten championship game on Saturday. A win and the Wolverines would have their third straight CFP appearance.
Tulane remains the top-ranked Group of 5 school at No. 22. The Green Wave play SMU in the AAC championship game Saturday. A win would all but ensure a spot in a New Year’s Six game for the second straight season.
The final CFP rankings will be announced Sunday (noon ET, ESPN).