Alabama re­turns to No. 1 rank­ing

Ge­or­gia’s loss made it easy for panel; Clem­son now No. 2

Chicago Tribune - - COLLEGES - By Matt Murschel mmurschel@or­lan­dosen­tinel.com

Alabama re­turned to a fa­mil­iar po­si­tion, earn­ing the No. 1 spot in the lat­est Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off rank­ings re­leased Tues­day evening.

It’s the 11th time the Crim­son Tide have been ranked No. 1 dur­ing the 21 edi­tions of the play­off poll first launched in 2014.

Alabama (10-0, 7-0 SEC) moved to the front of the pack this week thanks to a com­bi­na­tion of its 31-24 come-from-be­hind win over Mis­sis­sippi State and a loss by for­mer No. 1 Ge­or­gia, which fell to Auburn on Satur­day.

Clem­son moved up to No. 2 with a 31-14 win over Florida State. The Tigers (9-1, 7-1 ACC) have been ranked in the top four in 15 con­sec­u­tive polls dat­ing to the start of the 2015 sea­son.

Mi­ami burst into the third spot of the rank­ings af­ter the Hur­ri­canes (9-0, 6-0 ACC) thrashed Notre Dame 41-8 to re­main un­de­feated. It’s the first time the ACC has fea­tured two teams in the top four of the play­off rank­ings.

Ok­la­homa cap­i­tal­ized on an­other im­pres­sive win against a ranked op­po­nent to move into the top four for the first time since the fi­nal rank­ings of 2015. The Soon­ers (9-1, 6-1 Big 12) de­feated then-No. 6 TCU 38-20 on Satur­day to claim the top spot in the Big 12 race.

Wis­con­sin (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten) re­mains on the out­side look­ing in as it per­tains to the top four spots de­spite be­ing one of four un­de­feated teams in the Foot­ball Bowl Sub­di­vi­sion. The Badgers, who moved up to No. 5, con­tinue to be ham­pered by what the se­lec­tion com­mit­tee per­ceives as a weak strength of sched­ule.

Auburn (8-2, 7-1 SEC) moved up to No. 6 with its im­pres­sive rout of Ge­or­gia. The Tigers, the high­est ranked two-loss team in the poll, con­trol their fate with a matchup against Alabama loom­ing in two weeks. A win over the Tide would put Auburn in the SEC cham­pi­onship game and set up a re­match with the Bull­dogs.

Ge­or­gia (9-1, 6-1 SEC) dropped to sev­enth with the loss to Auburn but still could find its way back into one of the semi­fi­nals with a win in the SEC ti­tle game.

UCF (9-0) con­tin­ues to be the high­est-ranked among the non-au­ton­o­mous con­fer­ences at No. 15. That ties Western Michi­gan last sea­son as the high­est spot a Group of Five team has ever been ranked.

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