The 2017 season's penultimate College Football Playoff rankings dropped Tuesday night, and they were riddled with change after the Alabama Crimson Tide and Miami Hurricanes—who were Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, a week ago—suffered their first losses of the season.
Specifically, the top four now features the No. 1 Clemson Tigers (11-1), No. 2 Auburn Tigers (10-2), No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners (11-1) and No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers (12-0).
Meanwhile, the Crimson Tide tumbled down to No. 5, while the Hurricanes—who will have a chance to make one final statement in the ACC championship game against Clemson—dropped five spots to No. 7 in one of the more dramatic swings in CFP history, per ESPN Stats & Info:
The Tide, however, can be encouraged despite falling several positions now that their most notable wins are looking better by virtue of the updated rankings, as The Athletic's Stewart Mandel observed:
College Football Talk's Bryan Fischer added CFP precedent suggests Alabama could sneak into the final four should No. 8 Ohio State (10-2) upset Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game:
ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg provided additional perspective on the Tide's chances, while USA Today's Dan Wolken provided a contrasting viewpoint:
Elsewhere, the Georgia Bulldogs—who will participate in a de-facto quarterfinal Saturday when they clash with two-loss Auburn in the SEC Championship Game—moved up a spot to No. 6.
The Sooners also received a one-spot bump, but Fischer and Mandel were both of the opinion that they don't seem to be darlings with the committee:
The committee also hasn't been particularly kind to the undefeated UCF Golden Knights, who were ranked 14th following a 49-42 win over the South Florida Bulls.
Naturally, UCF athletic director Danny White wasn't thrilled:
The Athletic's Matt Fortuna and college football insider Brett McMurphy noted that if UCF can't wiggle its way inside the top 10, hope may be lost for future Group of Five contenders:
UCF will return to the field Saturday for the American Athletic Conference Championship Game against the Memphis Tigers, but it appears clear at this point that even the most resounding win won't catapult the Golden Knights into esteemed CFP territory.