Navy could get New Year’s bowl

Mids rise to 19th; OSU looks sure for na­tional semi­fi­nals

Baltimore Sun - - VARSITY - By Bill Wag­ner The Or­lando Sen­tinel’s Matt Murschel con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle.

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

CFP rank­ings

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.

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