The second edition of this season's College Football Playoff Rankings was released Tuesday night, and the first seven team in the top 25 were unchanged from last week. Alabama remains the No. 1 team in the nation with Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State filling out the top four. Two more SEC teams, Texas A&M and Florida, are in the "last two out" positions, while Cincinnati remains the highest-ranked Group of Five team in CFP history at No. 7.
Following a close victory over Texas, it is Iowa State that made the key jump in these CFP Rankings, moving up four spots into the top 10 at No. 9. The Cyclones are likely on their way to the Big 12 Championship Game and will probably face Oklahoma in what could be a top-10 showdown by the time the game is played. Georgia -- given more respect by the CFP Selection Committee than other other pollsters, remains the top-ranked two-loss team at No. 8.
Let's take a look at the entire CFP Rankings top 25. Keep on reading for analysis from CBS Sports bowls expert Jerry Palm.
College Football Playoff Rankings, Dec. 1
- Alabama (8-0)
- Notre Dame (9-0)
- Clemson (8-1)
- Ohio State (4-0)
- Texas A&M (6-1)
- Florida (7-1)
- Cincinnati (8-0)
- Georgia (6-2)
- Iowa State (7-2)
- Miami (7-1)
- Oklahoma (6-2)
- Indiana (5-1)
- BYU (9-0)
- Northwestern (5-1)
- Oklahoma State (6-2)
- Wisconsin (2-1)
- North Carolina (6-3)
- Coastal Carolina (9-0)
- Iowa (4-2)
- USC (3-0)
- Marshall (7-0)
- Washington (3-0)
- Oregon (3-1)
- Tulsa (5-1)
- Louisiana (8-1)
Analysis by bowls expert Jerry Palm
Most of the talk before these rankings came out centered around whether Ohio State would be in trouble for having played so few games, especially after having last week's game with Illinois canceled. Some wondered whether the committee would send it a message about playing too few games.
That's not really the committee's job. Its job is to evaluate teams knowing what they know about them so far. They are not yet concerned about the Big Ten championship or anything like that. That is a problem for another week.
However, committee chairman Gary Barta said that the number of games played so far did become part of the discussion between Ohio State and Texas A&M for the No. 4 spot this week.
"A lot of discussion about a number of games a team plays. It's not anybody's fault, but trying to evaluate a team that's four games in vs. a team that is seven, eight or nine games in is a problem, and it's created by the pandemic. The more games a team brings in, the more we have to evaluate," explained committee chairman Gary Barta.
"It was talked about a lot and specifically talked about in the room about whether Ohio State goes to four or whether Texas A&M goes to four and Ohio State goes to five. A lot of discussion about that. At the end of the day, the offensive firepower of Ohio State, all the weapons they have, the win over Indiana [factored in]. And then we did have an additional game to evaluate Texas A&M -- they beat LSU 20-7. At the end of the day, the committee just decided that Ohio State was still a better team than Texas A&M, deserved to be No. 4. But definitely a lot of discussion about number of games played."
It's obvious that the disparity of games played is affecting the Pac-12. The committee learns more about a team every time it takes the field. When teams do not do that often, it is difficult to fairly evaluate them.
Ohio State's game with Michigan State looks more promising as the Buckeyes returned to team activities. However, Michigan is showing signs of trouble, and that is the Ohio State's opponent on Dec. 12. Can you imagine the outcry if Michigan canceled that game, thereby denying Ohio State a shot at the Big Ten title? It does not look like the Wolverines can stop the Buckeyes any other way.
One team is in the Big Ten Championship Game already, and that is No. 14 Northwestern, which fell six spots after its 29-20 loss to Michigan State on Saturday. The Wildcats were the only team in last week's top 10 to lose. They still have room to move up and would be high if they were able to win the league and beat Ohio State in that game.
It was not very good week for the Pac-12 in the rankings. Oregon dropped eight spots to 23rd after a 41-38 loss at Oregon State. USC fell two spots to No. 20 after the Trojans' game with Colorado was canceled. They were jumped by Iowa and Coastal Carolina. Did you think you would ever see a day when mighty USC would be jumped in a poll by a Sun Belt team without losing?
The good news for the league is that Washington entered the rankings at No. 22. The Huskies are one of two new teams on the list, along with No. 25 Louisiana. The Ragin' Cajuns definitely belong in the rankings and probably should be higher.
Texas and Auburn, which lost to Iowa State and Alabama respectively, fell out of the top 25 this week.
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