Navy could get New Year’s bowl
Mids rise to 19th; OSU looks sure for national semifinals
Navy’s chances of earning the lone Group of Five berth in a New Year’s Six Bowl received a significant boost with the release of the latest College Football Playoff Committee rankings.
The Midshipmen moved up five spots to No. 19 in the most recent rankings, announced Tuesday night. Navy (9-2) hosts Temple (9-3) in the American Athletic Conference championship game Saturday.
Western Michigan (12-0) remains the highest-ranked member of a Group of Five conference and thus still has the inside track on earning a bid to the Cotton Bowl. Western Michigan will meet Ohio on Friday night in the Mid-American Conference championship game.
The CFP Committee will reward the highest-ranked Group of Five conference champion with a trip to the Cotton Bowl, Jan. 2 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. If Navy and Western Michigan win this weekend, strength of schedule could make the difference.
The Mids are ranked far higher than the Broncos in every strength-of-schedule indicator. Navy’s opponents have a combined record of 53-48, while Western Michigan’s are 46-62.
All postseason matchups are scheduled to be announced Sunday after the conference championship games have been played. However, the CFP Committee has stated that it might hold off on announcing the Group of Five selection until after the Army-Navy game Dec. 10.
“If on Sunday the committee believes the ArmyNavy result would affect Navy’s selection, then we will wait,” said Bill Hancock, executive director of the CFP system.
Alabama (12-0) remained at the top of the rankings for the fifth consecutive week, and Ohio State (11-1) was right behind the Crimson Tide. The Buckeyes are coming off an impressive 30-27 double-overtime win
1. Alabama 2. Ohio State 3. Clemson 4. Washington 5. Michigan 6. Wisconsin 7. Penn State 8. Colorado 9. Oklahoma 10. Oklahoma State 11. USC 12. Florida State 13. Louisville 14. Auburn 15. Florida 16. West Virginia 17. Western Michigan 18. Stanford 19. Navy 20. Utah 21. LSU 22. Tennessee 23. Virginia Tech 24. Houston 25. Pittsburgh 12-0 11-1 11-1 11-1 10-2 10-2 10-2 10-2 9-2 9-2 9-3 9-3 9-3 8-4 8-3 9-2 12-0 9-3 9-2 8-4 7-4 8-4 9-3 9-3 8-4 against Michigan.
Clemson (11-1) and Washington (11-1) rounded out the top four, with the Tigers and Huskies set to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference and Pac-12 championship games this weekend.
Michigan (10-2) dropped two spots to No. 5 just ahead of Big Ten counterpart Wisconsin (10-2) at No. 6. The Badgers will face No. 7 Penn State (10-2) in the Big Ten title game Saturday in Indianapolis.
It seems unlikely Penn State will bump Ohio State from the No. 2 spot by winning the Big Ten title.
“They are not close in the eyes of the selection committee,” CFB committee chair Kirby Hocutt said.
Hocutt said the gap between Nos. 4 and 5 is tight.
“I would say the separation [between] Washington at No. 4 and Michigan at No. 5 is extremely small,” he said. “We’ve said there is a lot to like about Washington over the course of this year … but the strength of schedule has been a concern and continues to be a concern for us.”
Ten of the 25 teams in last week’s rankings lost over the weekend, and nine of those were ranked No. 11-23. It led to a crowded group of three-loss teams jockeying for New Year’s Six bowl bids.