Alabama moves to front of the pack

Clem­son, Mi­ami, Ok­la­homa fol­low Crim­son Tide

The Star Democrat - - SPORTS -

(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.

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