We were introduced to the first College Football Playoff rankings of the year last Tuesday, and now, a week later, we’re digesting the chaos that followed. After a huge win against Penn State (then-No. 2 CFP), Ohio State was obliterated on the road against Iowa 55-24 and was eliminated from the playoff race, and Penn State failed to bounce back and took a loss at Michigan State 27-24. Alabama survived a challenge against LSU, Clemson and Oklahoma battled their ways to victory on the road and each of the remaining undefeated teams kept its perfect season intact.
For the second consecutive week, Georgia remains atop the CFP rankings and is followed by Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson and Oklahoma, who round out the top five. After defeating Texas at home, TCU jumped up two spots to No. 6 CFP. After being ranked below Wisconsin, Miami jumped three spots and the Badgers to find itself sitting at No. 7 CFP. Meanwhile, Wisconsin only moved up to No. 8 CFP. Sneaking back into the playoff conversation are Washington and Auburn, who moved up into the top 10 for the first time this year.
With a plethora of season-defining matchups this weekend, the playoff outlook will either become clearer or be flipped upside down.
In what are arguably their biggest tests of 2017, Georgia travels to Auburn, Alabama, for a potential SEC championship precursor, and Miami (No. 7 CFP) will host Notre Dame (No. 3 CFP), whose only loss came by one point to the top-ranked Bulldogs. The third top 10 game of the weekend will see TCU face Heisman-frontrunner Baker Mayfield’s Oklahoma team for what could be a Big 12 Championship preview. For all six teams, a loss could be lethal to their playoff hopes.
Other big movers in the most recent playoff rankings are USC, who jumped six spots to No. 11 CFP; Michigan State, who leaped an incredible 12 spots to No. 12 CFP; and Washington State, who moved from No. 25 CFP to No. 19 CFP. Ohio State dropped seven spots and fell out of the top 10 to No. 13 CFP, and Penn State followed suit, landing at No. 14 CFP. Iowa State was also amongst the fallen, dropping six spots after its loss to West Virginia. Iowa State will have a chance for redemption at home against Oklahoma State (No. 15 CFP) in what could be a “winner advances to the Big 12 Championship” matchup Saturday.
In other stiff tests for top 25 teams, an injury-plagued Alabama team travels to Starkville to face Mississippi State (No. 16 CFP), and undefeated Wisconsin hosts Iowa (No. 20 CFP), who is coming off of a home-field massacre of Ohio State. Hoping to bounce back from their deflating defeat, the Buckeyes host a surging Spartan team, who sits at No. 12 CFP, in a game likely to determine the Big Ten East.
With the matchups this weekend, nothing is certain, and the top 25 is a couple wins and losses away from complete insanity. For now, all the playoff committee can do is enjoy the weekend slate and await the pandemonium.