After a weekend of Top 10 clashes in the SEC, the College Football Playoff selection committee has unveiled its second batch of official rankings, with a few usual suspects headlining the top of the list.
Below, we'll take a look at those rankings and analyze the results that got us here.
3. Notre Dame
8. Washington State
9. West Virginia
10. Ohio State
14. NC State
16. Mississippi State
17. Boston College
18. Michigan State
20. Penn State
22. Iowa State
23. Fresno State
The top of the rankings shouldn't come as any surprise, as Alabama was ranked No. 1 last week and beat LSU, previously the No. 3 team in the nation, last weekend. And Clemson put 77 points on Louisville, so it was locked in place at No. 2.
LSU was always likely to drop after losing 29-0 at home to the Crimson Tide, leaving questions as to which teams would round out the Top Four.
Notre Dame was No. 4 last week, though Northwestern gave the Fighting Irish all they could handle in a 31-21 Notre Dame victory. Nonetheless, a road win is a road win, so it was unlikely they would drop out of the Top Four and in fact gained a spot
Michigan was No. 5 last week and responded with a 42-7 shellacking of then-No. 14 Penn State, making the team a prime candidate to round out the Top Four selections, as it did. Given that the Wolverines lost to Notre Dame to start the season, however, they weren't going to jump the Irish despite their impressive win.
Georgia entered the week ranked sixth and made a case to be among the Top Four with an impressive 34-17 road win over Kentucky, which was No. 9 in the first rankings. That left a fascinating choice for voters, though ultimately Georgia was just left on the outside looking in.
The Bulldogs' best chance to sneak back in, without relying on a loss from the teams ahead of them, will come in the SEC title game Dec. 1, when they will face Alabama. A one-loss Georgia team with a victory over the Crimson Tide would be a lock for the College Football Playoff. It would be fascinating to see where such a result would leave Alabama, though that scenario remains a hypothetical for another day.
Dane Brugler @dpbrugler
@thorku @JoeyKnish22 I think Alabama and Clemson would be locks. Alabama has been too dominant. Georgia would have arguably the best resume in the country so they're in. Notre Dame is the tough one bc of the "13th data point" - but the committee can lean on the head to head there.
Indeed, several contenders remain in contention below Alabama and Clemson.
Ohio State is a threat to ascend to the Top Four, though the Buckeyes will have to beat Michigan State and Michigan down the stretch. Oklahoma will close the season with a matchup against West Virginia in three weeks, and a victory there could propel the Sooners up the rankings. Washington State may garner some consideration if it wins the Pac-12, though the Cougars probably need a few schools ahead of them to drop games.
A lot is left to be decided. But for now—and as usual—everyone is looking up at Alabama and Clemson.