College Football Playoff Rankings: Top four hold, Wisconsin moves into top six
The fourth CFP Rankings release of 2016 is here and these are the top 25 teams in the nation
A Saturday filled with chalk saw the top four teams in the College Football Playoff Rankings all win, leaving little room for movement in the fourth edition of the rankings released Tuesday.
The spot able to be filled was just outside the top four as as Houston upset Louisville 36-10 last Thursday. Washington moved up to No. 5 and Wisconsin took the last spot in the "first two out" at No. 6.
It is not surprising that there are no changes at the top of the rankings this week. Despite ESPN's attempt to create suspense by taking basically forever to reveal the top six teams in the rankings, there was no suspense at all. The top 10 teams in this week's rankings are in the exact same order as they were last week with the exception of Louisville.
In fact, the highest-rated team in the rankings that jumped over other teams that won is No. 15 Florida. It was a week where the rankings behaved like a poll, although that's really a function of circumstance rather than a criticism of the committee.
The intriguing part of the rankings is near the bottom where the race for the Group of Five spot in the New Year's Six bowl games got more interesting. We will take a look at that below.
Here's how the CFP Selection Committee's new top 25 has shaken out.
1. Alabama (11-0)
2. Ohio State (10-1)
3. Michigan (10-1)
4. Clemson (10-1)
5. Washington (10-1)
6. Wisconsin (9-2)
7. Penn State (9-2)
8. Oklahoma (9-2)
9. Colorado (9-2)
10. Oklahoma State (9-2)
11. Louisville (9-2)
12. USC (8-3)
13. Auburn (8-3)
14. Florida State (8-3)
15. Florida (8-2)
16. Nebraska (9-2)
17. Tennessee (8-3)
18. West Virginia (8-2)
19. Boise State (10-1)
20. Houston (9-2)
21. Western Michigan (11-0)
22. Utah (8-3)
23. Washington State (8-3)
24. Stanford (8-3)
25. Navy (8-2)
Though Western Michigan is still the top-rated team from a Group of Five conference that controls its own destiny for its conference title -- the Group of Five spot in the New Year's Six goes to the highest-rated conference champion -- Boise State is currently ahead of WMU, as is Houston, which jumped back into the rankings after demolishing then-No. 5 Louisville on Thursday.
The Cougars are a weird team and not easy to judge for the committee. They are the only team this season to win two games as a 14+ point underdog and lose 14+ point favorite.
Neither of those teams matter to Western Michigan, though. The Broncos have to watch their backs for Navy, which is back in the rankings at No. 25. The Midshipmen beat Houston, which is surely bolstering their ranking. They are at SMU this week, and they will play either South Florida or Temple for the AAC crown. If it wins that, there is a chance that Navy could jump WMU. I don't think it would happen, but there is a chance. Navy also plays Army, but that game will not be played before all the bowl pairings are announced, so it has no bearing on whether Navy will earn the right to be the Group of Five representative in a New Year's Six game.
Tennessee appears to be in a good position to play in the Sugar Bowl, but don't be deceived. Even though the Vols are only two spots behind the Gators, they may need Florida to lose twice to get that spot. The committee has been kind to teams that lose their conference championship game in the first two years of this system. Last year, the only one of the four major conference championship game losers to fall more than one spot was USC, which picked up its fifth loss in the Pac-12 title game. Iowa and Florida only fell one spot. North Carolina didn't drop at all. If Florida beats Florida State, it may take annihilation by Alabama to drop the Gators below the Vols in the final rankings.
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