There were no changes to the top five in the College Football Playoff’s Third Ranking Tuesday night, with No. 1 Georgia and No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 TCU remaining the nation’s only undefeated teams, followed by No. 5 Tennessee.
After a 66-24 win over unranked Missouri, the Vols remained the highest-ranked team on the committee with one loss, leaving them in playoff contention without winning their division. Georgia clinched the SEC East championship and will face No. 6 LSU, the highest-ranked team that has lost twice, in the SEC Championship game. If LSU wins its conference, it can make history as the first losing team to reach the CFP.
“The committee believes there is a disconnect with Georgia,” said selection committee chairman Bo Corrigan, who is also North Carolina State’s athletic director.
Tennessee could become the fifth team to make the CFP without winning a conference title and the third not to win its division, along with 2016 Ohio State and 2017 Alabama. The SEC has had multiple teams in the CFP twice – including last season when Georgia beat Alabama to win the national title.
Without a conference championship, the Vols will face more scrutiny from the selection committee and will count on impressive wins against Alabama and LSU to win a debate against the Power 5 conference champ.
USC (9-1) is now the highest-ranked team in the Pac-12 at No. 7 after Oregon’s loss Saturday to Washington dropped the two-lost Ducks to No. 12. The Pac-12 boasts six teams ranked at the top of the CFP. 25 with the addition of No. 23 Oregon State, including two in the top 10 (USC and No. 10 Utah).
USC can clinch a spot in the conference title game Saturday with a win over UCLA, and Oregon will take on Utah in another game that will help decide the Pac-12 tournament participants.
TCU clinched a berth in the Big 12 tournament with a 17-10 win over Texas, but the four-loss Longhorns fell off No. 18 of the CFP Top 25 this week. It helped the Horned Frogs get No. 22 Oklahoma State back into the rankings this week, giving TCU a second win against a ranked opponent, along with No. 15 Kansas State.
There are three more rankings, including a Top 25 release on selection day December 4. No team has been seeded outside the panel’s top 10 at this point in the season and still holds the top spot. The lowest was Michigan in 2015 and Oklahoma in 2019, when both ranked ninth.
Twice-lost Alabama is No. 8 this week, before one loss to No. 9 Clemson, which will play No. 13 North Carolina in the ACC tournament.
After a 38-31 win at Tulane, No. 20 UCF was the leader of the five group to win the New Year’s Six bid as the conference champion, followed by No. 21 Tulane.
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