Few Saturdays will be more impactful in the College Football Playoff race than this past one.
Most notably, there was a changing of the guard atop the rankings with the reigning national champion Georgia Bulldogs reminding Tennessee who is the king of the SEC East. But that was just the beginning of the developments, as Alabama and Clemson—two of the programs that have largely defined the CFP era—are now likely to be on the outside looking in after noteworthy losses.
As a result, the door remains cracked open for undefeated TCU and three one-loss Pac-12 contenders in Oregon, USC and UCLA to make a late-season charge.
Here is what the updated rankings look like after a weekend of chaos and Tuesday's reveal:
2. Ohio State
11. Ole Miss
14. Penn State
15. North Carolina
16. NC State
19. Kansas State
20. Notre Dame
23. Florida State
The first clue that things would be anything but typical this past Saturday came bright and early in the day.
Well, it was not exactly bright.
Ohio State has largely cruised all season behind an unstoppable offense and much-improved defense, but it found itself trailing 7-0 to what is now a 1-8 Northwestern team with fewer than three minutes remaining until halftime during the opening slate of games.
Gusts of wind that reached 55 mph didn't exactly help an offense that relies so much on C.J. Stroud's ability to throw the ball, and the Buckeyes looked as vulnerable as they have all year even as they finished a 21-7 comeback victory.
But looking vulnerable in a win is much preferable for one of the sport's powerhouses than seeing one's CFP hopes crumble with a second loss. That was the case for another blue-blood program in Alabama, as the Crimson Tide may have slipped out of realistic playoff consideration entirely with a 32-31 overtime loss to LSU.
Nick Saban's team is now looking up at the Tigers and Ole Miss in the SEC West race. It will need a significant amount of help down the stretch to reach the Top Four thanks to LSU head coach Brian Kelly's decision to go for the two-point conversion and quarterback Jayden Daniels' execution on the final play in overtime.
At least Alabama can say its losses to Tennessee and LSU were competitive.
Clemson cannot say the same about its 35-14 defeat to Notre Dame, which wasn't even as close as that score indicates considering the Tigers didn't score until the game was well in hand in the fourth quarter.
Dabo Swinney's team was bullied at the line of scrimmage by a Fighting Irish group that lost to Marshall and 3-6 Stanford earlier in the season. Clemson now has arguably the ugliest loss for any potential playoff contender.
It wasn't all smooth sailing elsewhere, as Michigan trailed to Rutgers at halftime before pulling away in the third quarter and TCU needed a late comeback against Texas Tech to remain unblemished on the season.
USC and UCLA also survived late-night scares from Cal and Arizona State, respectively, meaning the Pac-12 still has three potential playoff challengers.
Yet Saturday's headline win belonged to the Bulldogs, who left little doubt they were better than their conference rivals from Tennessee. Georgia put a major dent into Hendon Hooker's Heisman chances by preventing him from throwing a touchdown pass and physically overpowered the Volunteers during a 27-13 victory.
Georgia seems like the surest bet to make the field of four at this point, but any given Saturday can drastically alter the college football landscape.