After coming through tough games against unranked opponents, the top four teams in the College Football Playoff standings stayed even Tuesday night as LSU held on to one spot ahead of No. 5 USC.
Georgia topped the CFP selection committee rankings for the third straight week, followed by Ohio State at #2, Michigan at #3 and TCU at #4. The Buckeyes and Wolverines, who play next Saturday in Columbus, they trailed the second half of last week before keeping their unbeaten records intact. Michigan and TCU needed last-minute go-ahead field goals to hold off Illinois and Baylor, respectively.
USC’s dramatic road win over crosstown rival UCLA wasn’t enough to top LSU with two losses, which beat UAB 41-10 at Tiger Stadium. Lincoln Riley’s team appeared at No. 5 in both the AP and coaches’ polls Sunday, USC’s first AP top-five ranking since September 2017. The Trojans’ lone loss was by one point. on the road against Utah, which dropped to No. 14 after its loss in Oregon.
“That was a dominant conversation over the last couple of days, to make sure we were looking at it the right way,” CFP committee chair Boo Corrigan, NC State’s athletic director, said on ESPN’s ratings release show. regarding the choice. at No. 5. “There are reasons for USC to be at No. 5, there are reasons for LSU to be at No. 5.”
Tennessee, which was ranked No. 5 last week, fell to No. 10 after its 63-38 road loss to South Carolina.
LSU finishes the regular season at Texas A&M before facing Georgia in the SEC championship game. USC hosts Notre Dame this week, which moved up three spots to 15th in the selection committee standings. The Trojans’ Pac-12 championship opponent will be determined next weekend, though Oregon, which moved up three spots to No. 9 after Utah’s win, can clinch a spot in Las Vegas by beating No. 21 Oregon. Be on the road.
A loss to Oregon this week would open the door for No. 13 Washington and Utah to reach the Pac-12 championship.
Alabama and Clemson moved up one spot in the standings to No. 7 and No. 8. Clemson won’t host a ranked team from South Carolina on Saturday, but it does have wins over Florida State, which moved up three spots to No. 16, and Louisville. , which entered the rankings at No. 25. Clemson is set for an ACC championship showdown with North Carolina, which dropped just four spots to No. 17 after losing to a Georgia Tech team 4-6 at home. last Saturday.
“You’re looking for football judgment, and that game against Notre Dame … that continues to be part of the discussion,” Corrigan said of the Tigers’ 35-14 loss to the Irish. “Overall, we saw Alabama at seven and Clemson at eight.”
TCU, which hosts Iowa State on Saturday, will face No. 12 Kansas State or No. 23 Texas in next week’s Big 12 championship game. Kansas State, which moved up three spots in Tuesday’s standings, can clinch a spot if it beats Kansas. If Kansas State goes down, Texas would go if it beats Baylor.
“We go through the same thing every week,” Corrigan said. “TCU has done a very good job of finding ways to win games.”
Tulane is once again the highest ranked Group 5 team at No. 19, following their home win over SMU and UCF’s home loss to Navy. The Green Wave visits No. 24 Cincinnati on Friday, with the winner hosting the American Athletic Conference title game next week. The Tulane-Cincinnati winner could face a championship rematch, but No. 22 UCF and Houston could also make it into the game.