The top seven spots in the College Football Playoffs rankings remained unchanged Tuesday night, with the selection committee taking a wait-and-see approach with No. 5 Alabama, which will be without quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for the rest of the season.
LSU (10-1) remains No. 1 in the third rankings of the season, followed by Ohio State (10-0), Clemson (11-0) and Georgia (9-1).
No negative Tua impact – yet
“Our job is to evaluate the teams through Week 12,” said selection committee chairman Rob Mullens, the athletic director at Oregon.
“Obviously, we’re aware of the injury to the quarterback late in the second quarter of last week’s game, but Alabama continued on to a convincing win in that, so it didn’t impact the rankings this week.”
Tagovailoa suffered a dislocated hip late in the first half, when Alabama was up 35-7 at Mississippi State. The Crimson Tide finished with a 38-7 win.
Alabama, which turns to sophomore Mac Jones at quarterback, plays FCS opponent Western Carolina this week in its home finale before finishing the regular-season at rival Auburn. The Tide (9-1) have appeared in all five College Football Playoffs — winning after the 2015 and 2018 seasons — but would need to win out and then get some help to make the final four this season.
Oregon (9-1) is sixth, with Utah (9-1), Penn State (9-1), Oklahoma (9-1) and Minnesota (9-1) rounding out the top 10.
“There is a lot of discussion in four through six,” Mullens said. “Georgia added to their resume with an impressive win at Auburn, and Oregon went on to an easy win against Arizona. There is a lot of debate, a lot of discussion, among all those teams.”
Penn State can throw a wrench in things
The key matchup nationally this week is Penn State at Ohio State. The Buckeyes can clinch the Big Ten East with a win.
There was a flip in the highest-rated team from the Group of Five conferences (American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, Sun Belt). The committee last week had Cincinnati (9-1) at No. 17 and Memphis (9-1) at No. 18, but while the Tigers held their spot this week, the Bearcats dropped to 19th after needing a last-play field goal to win 20-17 at South Florida.
It doesn’t matter much right now as the teams will meet in Memphis on Nov. 29 — and perhaps again in the American Athletic Conference title game. The highest-ranked team among the Group of Five conferences earns a spot in a New Year’s Six Bowl, which this season will be the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas.
Texas, Navy and Kansas State dropped out this week after losses. Newcomers are No. 22 Iowa State, No. 23 USC and No. 25 SMU.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)