The top five teams did not move in the third ranking released by the College Football Playoff selection committee on Tuesday night, with No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 TCU, and No. 5 Tennessee remaining the only unbeaten teams in the country.
The Vols maintained their position as the committee’s highest-ranked one-loss club after beating unranked Missouri 66-24, keeping them in the playoff picture despite not winning their division. Georgia won the SEC East and will play No. 6 LSU, the highest-ranked team with two losses, in the league final. If LSU wins its conference, it might become the first team with two losses to make it to the CFP.
Boo Corrigan, who is also the athletic director at North Carolina State, stated of the selection committee, “The committee believes there’s been separation with Georgia.”
Along with 2016 Ohio State and 2017 Alabama, Tennessee would join them as the third team to fail to win their division without also winning a conference championship. Several SEC teams have qualified for the CFP twice, including Georgia last year, which defeated Alabama to win the title.
The Vols will be put under closer scrutiny by the selection committee without a conference title and will rely on impressive victories against Alabama and LSU to prevail in a debate against a Power 5 conference champion.
After losing to Washington on Saturday, Oregon fell to No. 12, making USC (9-1) the highest-ranked club in the Pac-12. With the addition of No. 23 Oregon State, the Pac-12 now has six teams ranked in the CFP top 25, including two in the top 10. (USC and No. 10 Utah).
In addition, Oregon will play Utah in a game that will help determine who will play in the Pac-12 championship game on Saturday. USC can earn a spot in the league title game with a victory at UCLA.
With their 17-10 victory at Texas, TCU secured a spot in the Big 12 championship game. However, the four-loss Longhorns dropped from No. 18 out of the CFP top 25 this week. The Horned Frogs benefited by the return to the rankings of No. 22 Oklahoma State and No. 15 Kansas State, which gave TCU two victories over teams in the rankings.
There are three additional rankings, including the declaration of the ultimate top 25 on the Selection Day of December 4. At this point in the season, no team has been placed outside the top 10 by the committee and yet qualified for the CFP. The two teams with the lowest rankings—Michigan State in 2015 and Oklahoma in 2019—were both ninth.
This week, No. 8 is two-loss Alabama, ahead of No. 9 with one loss, Clemson, which will play in the ACC championship against No. 13 North Carolina.
The highest-ranked conference champion in the Group of 5 after its 38-31 victory over Tulane is No. 20 UCF, who is followed by No. 21 Tulane in receiving a trip to a New Year’s Six bowl.
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