College Football Playoff Rankings: Michigan moves to No. 2, Florida State returns to field in new top 25

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College Football Playoff Rankings: Michigan moves to No. 2, Florida State returns to field in new top 25

The fifth and penultimate edition of the College Football Playoff Rankings was released Tuesday night with a bit of a shakeup coming to the top four. By virtue of a head-to-head win last Saturday in “The Game,” it is Michigan that has taken over the No. 2 spot from Ohio State with Washington moving up to No. 3 and Florida State returning to the top four.

As such, with Georgia maintaining its stranglehold on the No. 1 spot, the four remaining undefeated Power Five programs are currently slated to play in the CFP should they win their respective conference championship games this weekend.

The Buckeyes did not fall far as they now sit at No. 6; however, Ohio State does not have an opportunity to play itself into the playoff field, while the teams surrounding it — No. 5 Oregon, No. 7 Texas and No. 8 Alabama — all compete in league title games this weekend. No program outside of those top eight has a chance at the playoff.

Unlike 2021, when Cincinnati opened at No. 6 in the CFP Rankings and eventually became the first Group of Five team to reach the playoff, the highest-ranked Group of Five program Tuesday is Tulane at No. 22 with Liberty the only other such team ranked at No. 24. That will not create a scenario in which the Green Wave or Flames can advance to the playoff, but in an expanded 12-team field set to be introduced in 2024, Tulane would be in pole position to earn a bid as the highest-ranked potential Group of Five champion.

Let’s take a look at the entire CFP Rankings top 25. Check out analysis by bowls expert Jerry Palm below.

College Football Playoff Rankings, Nov. 28

  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)

Analysis by bowl expert Jerry Palm

The most uneventful season in the CFP era — at least at the top of college football — has finally had a change among the top eight. It happened because two of last week’s top eight played each other. Michigan knocked off Ohio State, and the CFP Selection Committee dropped the Buckeyes to No. 6.

We have two more matchups of top eight teams in conference championship games this weekend, so something will have to give.

Do not get too worked up over where teams are right now. The CFP Rankings are not a poll. There are no conference champions yet, and the committee has a preference for conference champions in the playoff. That said, it is not intended to be strictly a tournament of champions. That is more of a tiebreaker, per se.

Another factor that the committee takes to heart is head-to-head results, especially involving one-loss teams. We have seen Texas ahead of Alabama all season in part because of the Longhorns’ win in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It’s also the best win any team has this season, and that will still be true on Sunday. The committee has been consistent all season with the relative placement of those teams. Alabama beating Georgia, should that happen, is unlikely to change that.

One more thing to keep in mind is that the committee does not care about the history of these programs or their conferences in this event. Their job is to evaluate these teams based on what they have done this season. That’s it.

Fans care about Georgia’s 29-game winning streak and back-to-back championships, but the committee does not. The committee does not have any desire, or lack thereof, to put a team in from the SEC just because the SEC is always represented.

The only sure thing about the CFP this season is that the Pac-12 champion will get in. I cannot come up with a scenario where the winner of that game misses out.

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