College Football Playoff Rankings: Top five holds as Big 12, Miami in striking distance

The second edition of this season's College Football Playoff Rankings had very little in terms of surprises, but there were still some noteworthy movements … or non-movements.

But first, let's start with the usual disclaimer:  Nothing in these rankings is meaningful in terms of where teams may be ranked at the end of the season.  It is possible that the current top four teams could win out with the possible exception of an Alabama-Georgia SEC title game, and still not be the top four teams at the end.  Even if they are the top four, the order may change.  This isn't like the polls, where you hold your position unless you lose.  In any given week, a team could lose and move up or win and move down.  We have seen examples of each over the first three years of this system.

My projections for this week had the top 10 teams correct, so I cannot say there are any surprises on top.  Some felt that Oklahoma would jump Clemson for the fourth spot, but both teams beat ranked opponents on the road, and Oklahoma's best win took an absolute beating.  If Ohio State takes down Iowa, there is a good chance the Sooners are fourth this week.

No. 7 Miami passing No. 8 Wisconsin this week was not a surprise either considering the Hurricanes comfortably beat then-No. 13 Virginia Tech for their first notable win. The Badgers also saw one of their victims crack the rankings this week with Northwestern sneaking in at No. 25.  Miami's schedule is better, though, and that is why the switch occurred.  Wisconsin's schedule will pick up from here, but so will the Canes'.  Miami hosts No. 3 Notre Dame this week, while the Badgers will face No. 20 Iowa, which is also new to the rankings this week.

With 10 weeks down and four weeks to go until the four playoff finalists are determined, let's take a look at how the CFP Selection Committee slotted its top 25 teams. Keep on scrolling for additional analysis.

College Football Playoff Rankings, Nov. 7

  1. Georgia (9-0)
  2. Alabama (9-0)
  3. Notre Dame (8-1)
  4. Clemson (8-1)
  5. Oklahoma (8-1)
  6. TCU (8-1)
  7. Miami (8-0)
  8. Wisconsin (9-0)
  9. Washington (8-1)
  10. Auburn (7-2)
  11. Southern California (8-2)
  12. Michigan State (7-2)
  13. Ohio State (7-2)
  14. Penn State (7-2)
  15. Oklahoma State (7-2)
  16. Mississippi State (7-2)
  17. Virginia Tech (7-2)
  18. Central Florida (8-0)
  19. Washington State (8-2)
  20. Iowa (6-3)
  21. Iowa State (6-3)
  22. Memphis (8-1)
  23. NC State (6-3)
  24. LSU (6-3)
  25. Northwestern (6-3)

One mild surprise this week No. 12 Michigan State coming in one spot ahead of its upcoming opponent in Ohio State. Some were surprised by such a large move but that kind of thing can happen with the committee's rankings.  They evaluate each team from scratch every week.  Michigan State's position last week was not relevant to this week's discussion.  While I did not predict that the Spartans would jump the Buckeyes, I think the move can be justified because MSU has a better schedule and better wins.  Despite that, OSU is a 15.5-point favorite at home this Saturday.

The Big Ten leads the way with six teams in this week's rankings, just ahead of the SEC, which has five.  However, one of those teams is not 7-2 Michigan, despite the Wolverines' ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 (21) and Coaches Poll (22).  This is an example of where poll voters get lazy.  They see the record and the name and vote them up.  What the voters do not see is that Michigan has yet to beat a team with a better record that Rutgers (4-5).  The committee cares a lot more about that than the name on the front of the jersey.

UCF fans gave me a hard time about not including the Knights in the list of undefeated CFP contenders in my column about the possibility of a two-loss playoff team. They were not omitted because I forgot about them but rather because, at No. 18, they are simply not a contender for a spot in the playoff.  They held fast this week despite three teams in the seven spots ahead of them in last week's rankings losing.  Only then-No. 15 Iowa State fell below UCF, but the Cyclones were replaced by Michigan State, which jumped the Knights.  UCF is still in the driver's seat for the Group of Five spot in a New Year's Six game.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Jerry Palm started writing about sports on the Internet right after Al Gore invented it. He was the first to bring RPI out in the open and is one of the pioneers of predicting the March Madness bracket.... Full Bio

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