Alabama moves to front of the pack
Clemson, Miami, Oklahoma follow Crimson Tide
(TNS) — 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 Saturday.
Clemson moved up to second with a 31-14 win over Florida State. The Tigers (91, 7-1 ACC) have now been ranked in the top four in 15 consecutive polls going back to the start of the 2015 season.
Miami burst into the third spot of the rankings this week after the Hurricanes (9-0, 6-0 ACC) thrashed Notre Dame, 41-8, and remained undefeated this season. 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, Saturday and 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, which moved up to No. 5 this week, continue to be hampered by what the selection committee perceives as a weak strength of schedule.
Auburn (8-2, 7-1 SEC) moves up to No. 6 with its impressive rout of Georgia. The Tigers, the highest ranked two-loss team in the top 25 poll this week, control their own 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 5 team has ever been ranked.
This is the third of six rankings released by the 13-member selection committee. The final poll will be revealed live on ESPN at noon Sunday, Dec. 3. The top four teams qualify for the two semifinal games, which
will be held at the Rose and Sugar bowls on New Year’s Day. The winners will meet in the national championship game on Monday, Jan. 8, at Mercedes- Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The remaining games comprise the New Year’s Six access bowl games — Orange, Cotton, Peach and Fiesta — which will select the highest- ranked remaining teams that fill their criteria. The highestranked conference champion from the Group of 5 conferences ( American, Conference USA, MidAmerican, Mountain West
and Sun Belt) also will receive a spot.
The selection committee is composed of 13 members, including chair Kirby Hocutt, Frank Beamer, Jeff Bower, Herb Deromedi, Chris Howard, Tom Jernstedt, Bobby Johnson, Jeff Long, Rob Mullens, Dan Radakovich, Gene Smith, Steve Wieberg and Tyrone Willingham.