Projected College Football Playoff Rankings: Week 5

    Projected College Football Playoff Rankings for the top four. With Ohio State's big win over Michigan, can it get close to the top four?

    November 29, 2015


    Projected College Football Playoff Rankings

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    This just got a whole lot easier.

    Now we know the deal. Unless something absolutely insane happens inside the College Football Playoff committee world, thanks to Stanford’s thriller over Notre Dame, No. 3 – all rankings based on the Nov. 24 CFP rankings – Oklahoma is in after ending its regular season with a dominant win over Oklahoma State to become the Big 12’s One True Champion.

    The winner of the Big Ten championship between 12-0 No. 4 Iowa and 11-1 No. 5 Michigan State is all but a mortal lock to get in, as is No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabama if they win their respective conference championships.

    So if everything goes chalk and nothing weird happens, Clemson, Alabama, Iowa/Michigan State winner, Oklahoma. In some order, there’s the 2016 College Football Playoff.

    Where this gets interesting is if there’s an upset in the ACC or SEC championship games.

    If No. 14 North Carolina beats the unbeaten and No. 1 Clemson Tigers, is that enough to move all the way up to No. 4? The Tar Heels will likely be in the top ten in the latest rankings, and if they win, and they’re the ones who beat the top team, as the ACC champions they’ll likely get the nod over an Ohio State team that didn’t win its division, much less its conference championship.

    If Florida – who lost to Florida State – upsets Alabama, then the winner of the SEC is out and the ACC championship winner is almost certainly going to be in. But does the Pac-12 have any hope? How about Ohio State?

    Best guess is that it would take a Florida win over Alabama and a USC win over Stanford in the Pac-12 championship to get Ohio State in. Stanford would have to destroy USC and Florida would have to beat Alabama to have a shot.

    But for now, after everything that just happened, what will the College Football Playoff rankings probably be on Tuesday night?

    Projected College Football Playoff Rankings, Week 5

    1. Clemson

    Last Week: No. 1 … No reason to mess with it now. The Tigers struggled with South Carolina, but the Florida State win looks even better, even if the Notre Dame win doesn’t.

    2. Alabama

    Last Week: No. 2 … There’s a chance the Crimson Tide moves up to No. 1, but if it doesn’t have this week, it won’t after the championship games if Clemson beats North Carolina. It doesn’t matter, though. The win over Auburn means it’s all there for Bama to roll through the SEC title game and the playoff.

    3. Oklahoma

    Last Week: No. 3 … Could the Sooners move up to No. 2 after destroying Oklahoma State? Maybe, but at worst they’ll be no lower than third. The really interesting part in this will be the seeding – Oklahoma would love to play in the Cotton Bowl just a few hours down the road.

    4. Iowa

    Last Week: No. 4 … The Hawkeyes might get just enough credit for beating Nebraska on the road – and for being one of just two unbeaten teams – to move up, but they’re likely going to stay put. Beat Michigan State, go to the playoff.

    5. Michigan State

    Last Week: No. 5 … Could the Spartans somehow slip into the top four this week after blowing out Penn State? There’s no room in the penthouse right now, but they’ll get the keys if they beat Iowa.

    6. Ohio State

    Last Week: No. 8 … The Buckeyes might end up as the answer to a trivia question: which team finished No. 5 in a four-team playoff chase?

    7. Stanford

    Last Week: No. 9 … The win over CFP overloved Notre Dame – No. 6 last week – could be enough to move up to just outside of the top four. How brutally painful is that opening weekend clunker against Northwestern now?

    8. Notre Dame

    Last Week: No. 6 … Hated them at six, love them at eight. Brian Kelly is right – the Irish are two plays away from being the unbeaten No. 1 team in the country.

    9. Florida State

    Last Week: No. 13 … Dog the Florida offense all you want, but that was still a win in The Swamp over the No. 12 team in the country. The Seminoles can’t and shouldn’t be ahead of Notre Dame – the Georgia Tech loss ends that debate.

    10. North Carolina

    Last Week: No. 14 … This might be too low. As the Coastal champ on an 11-game winning streak, the Tar Heels might hover around No. 8. However, the committee hasn’t made gigantic leaps with teams coming off of big wins. Being in the top ten is okay – and don’t read into it. If UNC beats Clemson, it’s knocking on the door of the No. 4 spot in the final rankings.

    And the best guess on the rest …

    11. Northwestern

    12. Oregon

    13. Houston

    14. TCU

    15. Baylor

    16. Michigan

    17. Ole Miss

    18. Oklahoma State

    19. Florida

    20. USC

    21. Utah

    22. Temple

    23. LSU

    24. Navy

    25. Wisconsin

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