Michigan moves to No. 2 after Ohio State win

Michigan moved up to No. 2 behind No. 1 Georgia in the penultimate College Football Playoff rankings after beating Ohio State on Saturday.

Washington and Florida State each moved up a spot and into the top four. All four teams are undefeated. Oregon rounds out the top five and is the top 11-1 team in the rankings.

The Buckeyes fell to No. 6 after the loss and still have a chance to make the playoff despite not playing during conference championship weekend. Ohio State would need some serious help, but the possibility still exists. A season ago, the Buckeyes made the playoff at 11-1 after USC lost the Pac-12 title game.

Texas and Alabama stayed at No. 7 and 8 respectively. The Longhorns demolished Texas Tech on Black Friday while Alabama needed a heroic fourth down to get a win over Auburn. Texas has been ahead of Alabama in each of the rankings so far this season thanks to a road win over the Crimson Tide in Week 2.

What’s at stake in conference championship weekend

Each of the top four teams in the rankings should be in with a win. That’s easier said than done, especially for Georgia and Washington. The Bulldogs take on Alabama in the SEC championship game while Washington plays Oregon on Friday night. It’s fair to believe the winner of the Pac-12 title game is a near-lock for a playoff spot given that both teams are in the top five.

Florida State takes on No. 15 Louisville in the ACC title game while Michigan plays No. 16 Iowa in the Big Ten championship game.

Texas, meanwhile, has No. 19 Oklahoma State in the Big 12 title game. How much help do the Longhorns need to jump up three spots if they beat the Cowboys? It’s fair to assume Texas could jump over Ohio State and the loser of the Pac-12 title game. But if there are four undefeated teams or three unbeatens and a 12-1 Oregon, Texas is probably locked out.

The same scenario applies to Alabama. While the Crimson Tide would have a great win, they need more than that to make the playoff. If Texas wins convincingly, would its head-to-head win still be the tiebreaker if both the Longhorns and Crimson Tide are 12-1?

Ohio State’s playoff hopes are probably even more complicated. The Buckeyes likely need a Georgia win, a Washington win, an Oklahoma State win and a Louisville win to have a shot at the playoff.

The Florida State question

The Seminoles beat rival Florida in Week 13 to stay undefeated. It was the first game without star QB Jordan Travis after his season-ending left leg injury against North Alabama and Playoff committee chairman Boo Corrigan admitted that the committee views FSU differently without Travis.

“Different team without Jordan Travis,” Corrigan, the NC State athletic director said. “Tate Rodemaker continues in the game and a half that he’s been playing has done well, managed the game … it’s more than just one player but obviously they’re a different team without Jordan Travis.”

If Florida State impresses against Louisville, the case for playoff inclusion is pretty clear. But if the Seminoles struggle — especially on offense — Corrigan’s comments at least make it worth wondering if the committee will look more favorably at a 12-1 Texas or Alabama if either or both teams win convincingly than a 13-0 Florida State on Sunday.

College Football Playoff rankings

1. Georgia (12-0)

2. Michigan (12-0)

3. Washington (12-0)

4. Florida State (12-0)

5. Oregon (11-1)

6. Ohio State (11-1)

7. Texas (11-1)

8. Alabama (11-1)

9. Missouri (10-2)

10. Penn State (10-2)

11. Ole Miss (10-2)

12. Oklahoma (10-2)

13. LSU (9-3)

14. Louisville (10-2)

15. Arizona (9-3)

16. Iowa (10-2)

17. Notre Dame (9-3)

18. Oklahoma State (9-3)

19. NC State (9-3)

20. Oregon State (8-4)

21, Tennessee (8-4)

22. Tulane (11-1)

23. Clemson (8-4)

24. Liberty (12-0)

25. Kansas State (8-4)


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