Clemson leads college playoff pack, but Alabama is lurking

Clemson leads college playoff pack, but Alabama is lurking

At the top of the CFP rankings are No. 1 Clemson (11-1), No. 2 Auburn (10-2), No. 3 Oklahoma (11-1) and No. 4 Wisconsin (12-0).

Alabama fell from No. 1 to fifth in the new rankings Tuesday night after losing to Auburn, and Georgia was sixth. Not only did the Tigers have a compelling stash of wins already, but they added to it last weekend with their 34-10 nonconference blasting of SC, which had debuted in the rankings last week at No. 24.

Following the 26-14 pummeling it took at Auburn last Saturday, how far might Alabama descend from its familiar home at No. 1, where it has resided for a mind-boggling 52 percent of the rankings across four years?

The Miami Hurricanes have dropped out of the top four in the penultimate College Football Playoff poll. That's two wins better than Alabama's best win over No. 17 LSU. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Ohio State football, recruiting, basketball and more. Wisconsin meets Ohio State in the Big Ten title game Saturday. MSU (9-3, 7-2 Big Ten) finished its regular season with a 40-7 win over Rutgers on Saturday. Even less likely. An idle, two-loss Penn State or a 12-0 UCF wouldn't make a dramatic jump in the final weekend, either.

"This group has earned the right to have the opportunity to play in the Big Ten championship", he said. The victor will get the Group of Five's guaranteed spot in a New Year's Six bowl game, but those teams are not even an afterthought in the playoff conversation. If TCU beats Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game, it's almost unfathomable that the Horned Frogs move all the way up from No. 11. "Alabama needs help. They need Oklahoma or Wisconsin to lose and then they could get in".

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Northwestern is No. 21 as Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, N.C. State and Fresno State round out the CFP top 25. Auburn advanced to the SEC Championship Game to face Georgia, while Alabama must await its postseason fate. Ohio State would own a conference championship, but Oklahoma decisively beat the Buckeyes in Columbus on September 9. Alabama also will sit out conference championship weekend for the first time since 2013. The Sooners and Buckeyes would both be 11-2 with a loss to a top-10 team and a loss to a 7-5 team.

Also keep in mind that Clemson beat Auburn on September 9, too, and they would have the same records if Clemson lost to Miami and Auburn beat Georgia.

Clemson: Win and you're in 2.

No. 11 Southern California (minus 4) vs. Should the eighth-ranked Buckeyes win, they could provide their own compelling argument for a spot in the semifinals. Oklahoma State (9-3), 20.

The Big Ten serves up the most interesting situation because of the team involved.

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