The College Football Playoff Committee released its rankings for Week 13 on Tuesday, with few surprises at the top. Below, we'll review those rankings and examine the playoff picture as the regular season winds to a close.
3. Notre Dame
8. Washington State
10. Ohio State
12. Penn State
13. West Virginia
18. Mississippi State
21. Utah State
22. Texas A&M
23. Boise State
25. Iowa State
There wasn't much movement in the Top 10, as only West Virginia lost this past week. While Michigan didn't have its most convincing win of the season over Indiana and Ohio State needed overtime to beat Maryland, the top teams largely prevailed in Week 12.
In fact, the biggest surprise was UCF jumping up to No. 9, with mixed responses to that ranking:
The Knights moving into the top 10 in these rankings could have huge implications going forward, especially if a number of teams ahead of them drop down the rankings. However, a team like Ohio State could also jump ahead of them, rendering UCF's current ranking irrelevant.
Week 13 alone could drastically reshape the college football landscape.
Oklahoma faces a threat in West Virginia on Friday. The Apple Cup between Washington State and Washington will determine the Pac-12 North that same day. On Saturday, the Big Ten East is up for grabs between Michigan and Ohio State, while Alabama will face a test against Auburn.
And while USC is in the midst of a down year, Notre Dame can't afford to take the Trojans lightly. Add in the Georgia vs. Georgia Tech rivalry matchup, and the Week 13 slate is loaded.
Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan all control their own fate. If they win out, they'll be heading to the College Football Playoff. Alabama or Clemson could lose next week and still perhaps get into the playoff with wins in their respective conference title games.
If Alabama suffers its first loss of the season against Georgia in the SEC title game, that could lead to some chaos. Would the selection committee put both Alabama and Georgia into the playoff, perhaps at the expense of the Big Ten winner? Or would either Alabama or Georgia get pushed out of the playoff? If so, which one?
The top nightmare scenario for the committee is if Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan win out and Georgia hands Alabama its lone loss of the season. In that scenario, undefeated Clemson and Notre Dame would almost assuredly be in.
Another nightmare scenario would be Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Washington State and Ohio State all winning out. The first three teams would each be in, but how would the committee choose between three one-loss conference champions?
Ohio State would have the best win (over Michigan) and the worst loss (against Purdue). Oklahoma would have the best loss (against Texas), and in this scenario, it would have avenged that loss with a victory over the Longhorns in the Big 12 title game. A down year from the Pac-12 would likely leave Washington State out of the running, even if wins against Washington and Utah down the stretch would bolster its resume.
Enough chaos may ensue over the next few weeks to create a new doomsday scenario for the committee, leaving it with an impossible decision that will fuel debate and leaves fanbases either thrilled or irate.