Georgia, Ohio St., Michigan, TCU atop the CFP rankings
After overcoming tough games against unranked opponents, the top four teams in the College Football Playoff rankings remained the same Tuesday night, with LSU one spot ahead of USC at No. 5.
Georgia leads the CFP Selection Committee rankings for the third straight week, followed by Ohio State at No. 2, Michigan at No. 3 and TCU at No. 4. The Buckeyes and Wolverines, who play next Saturday in Columbus, are both trailing. Before keeping their unbeaten record intact in the second half last week. Both Michigan and TCU needed late-minute field goals to hold off Illinois and Baylor, respectively.
USC’s dramatic road win over crosstown rival UCLA wasn’t enough to snap two-loss LSU, which beat UAB 41-10 in Tiger Stadium. Lincoln Riley’s team appeared Sunday at No. 5 in both the AP and coaches polls, USC’s first AP top-five ranking since September 2017. The Trojans’ only loss came by one point on the road against Utah, which dropped to No. 14. After his defeat at Oregon.
“It’s been an influential conversation for the last few days, to make sure we’re looking at it right,” CFP committee chair Boo Corrigan, NC State’s athletic director, said of the choices at ESPN’s rankings release event. At No. 5. “USC has a reason to be No. 5, LSU has a reason to be No. 5.”
Tennessee, which occupied the No. 5 spot last week, dropped to No. 10 after a 63-38 road loss to South Carolina.
LSU closes the regular season at Texas A&M before facing Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. USC hosts Notre Dame this week, which moved up three spots to No. 15 in the selection committee’s rankings. The Trojans’ Pac-12 Championship opponent will be determined this coming weekend, though Oregon, which moved up three spots to No. 9 after a win over Utah, can clinch a spot in Las Vegas by beating No. 21 Oregon State on the road.
A loss to Oregon this week would open the door for No. 13 Washington and Utah to reach the Pac-12 championship.
Alabama and Clemson both moved up one spot in the rankings to Nos. 7 and 8. Clemson will not host a ranked team in South Carolina on Saturday but has wins over Florida State, which moved up three spots to No. 16, and Louisville, which entered the rankings at No. 25. Clemson prepares for an ACC Championship matchup with North Carolina, which dropped just four spots to No. 17 after losing to a 4-6 Georgia Tech team last Saturday at home.
“You look for justice in football, and that game against Notre Dame … that’s going to be part of the discussion,” Corrigan said of the Tigers’ 35-14 loss to the Irish. “Overall, we saw Alabama at seven and Clemson at eight.”
TCU, which hosts Iowa State on Saturday, will face either No. 12 Kansas State or No. 23 Texas in next week’s Big 12 championship game. Kansas State, which moved up three spots in Tuesday’s rankings, can clinch a spot by beating Kansas. If Kansas State falls, Texas will go if it beats Baylor.
“We go through the same thing every week,” Corrigan said. “TCU did a really good job of finding ways to win games.”
After losses to Navy at home to SMU and UCF, Tulane is once again the highest ranked of the 5 teams at No. 19. The Green Wave visit No. 24 Cincinnati on Friday and the winner will host the American Athletic Conference title game next week. The Tulane-Cincinnati winner could face a rematch in the championship, but No. 22 UCF and Houston could also reach the game.
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