CFP rankings: What’s next for top competitors, plus a 12-team

11:22 PM ET ESPN staff The College Football Playoff choice committee will never ask coaches to add the score, and the procedure specifically states that comparing games against a common opponent is done “without incenting margin of victory.”That doesn’t suggest they do not appreciate a great old-fashioned drubbing.With no modifications to the top 5 of the third ranking on Tuesday night–

No. 6 LSU and No. 7 USC earned small promotions at the expense of two-loss Oregon, which

sank to 12– Week 12 will offer numerous chances for the top contenders to leave no doubt they’re the much better team.In the case of No. 7 USC, now the committee’s top-ranked Pac-12 group, the one-loss Trojans can make a declaration against a ranked competitor in No. 16 UCLA– or eliminate the Pac-12 totally with a loss. No group is better positioned to end up in the leading four than No. 1 Georgia, which clinched the SEC East and will deal with LSU in the conference title game. A definite win at Kentucky, though, would be another emphasize the committee could indicate if Georgia finishes as SEC runner-up. No. 3 Michigan has an opportunity to continue to assert itself versus unranked Illinois, a three-loss group that left of the CFP Top 25 but might still win the Big 10 West.

Tennessee and TCU, meanwhile, need to cruise against unranked, unheralded conference opponents.With just 2 weeks staying in the regular season, here’s how Week 12 might possibly affect the committee’s evaluation on Choice Day, ranked in order of biggest impact: Jump to: Anger Index|12-team bracket|Résumés | A win over UCLA in Week 12 would

go a long way for USC. Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire

1. USC at UCLA

Why it is very important: USC has no margin for mistake, and the road game versus the ranked community competitor is the next action in cushioning a résumé that might ultimately defeat one-loss Tennessee. USC is the Pac-12’s best hope at the playoff, and while many seem to assume No. 5 Tennessee will end up in the top four since the Vols are presently ranked ahead of USC, it will be far more complicated for the committee once the conference titles are contributed to the résumés and Tennessee does not have one. USC might end up the season with 3 straight wins versus ranked challengers– UCLA, Notre Dame and the Pac-12 title game challenger– which would put it squarely in the discussion for the top 4.

2. TCU at Baylor Why it’s important: No. 4 TCU didn’t get a bump today, even though it played its best defense of the season, earned a roadway win against what used to be a CFP Top 25 group in Texas, and clinched a spot in the Huge 12 title game. That indicates the Horned Frogs still do not have much if any margin for error, and a loss on Saturday to an unranked Baylor( 6-4 )team that K-State just hammered 31-3 would be tough to get rid of on Selection Day. If TCU surfaces as an unbeaten Big 12 champion, the Horned Frogs will finish in the leading four, however a loss to either Baylor or Iowa State along the way will put them in a precarious position. It assisted TCU that No. 22 Oklahoma State popped back into the Top 25, offering the Frogs two wins against ranked challengers, along with Kansas State. That would most likely match Clemson, if it ends up as a one-loss ACC champ, but they could both be looking up at USC or Tennessee– or both.

3. Tennessee at South Carolina Why it is very important: If you’re not playing on championship weekend, you’re praying. Without a department or conference title, Tennessee needs to impress the committee every possibility it gets, and a roadway win versus a bowl-bound SEC challenger is another boost for the Vols– even if South Carolina isn’t ranked. Presuming the SEC and Big 10 champs are in the leading 4, Tennessee requires to be concerned about undefeated TCU and one-loss USC. The Vols will need their wins versus LSU and Alabama to overcome not having a conference title. Where it might get interesting is if LSU wins the SEC, since Tennessee could then declare a resounding 40-13 win over the SEC champs– in Baton Rouge. The Vols can’t manage any of that, though, so ending up the season in design is their best bet.

4. Miami at Clemson Why it is essential: Clemson and the ACC stay in the worst playoff position of any of the Power 5 conferences, so the Tigers can not pay for to have a hard time at home versus a mediocre Miami group. Clemson hasn’t exactly controlled anybody this season, either. The Tigers are 2-1 against groups presently ranked in the CFP, and have a point margin of minus-5 in those three games(wins versus NC State and FSU, loss to Notre Dame). If the SEC, Big 10 and unbeaten TCU are in, Clemson needs to stress over one-loss Tennessee. The Vols ‘wins against LSU and Alabama would be more impressive than Clemson’s wins against NC State, Florida State and UNC. The Tigers might likewise lose a résumé debate with one-loss USC. Their bigger issue, though, is that they’re already searching for at 2 two-loss teams, including Alabama.The updated #CFBPlayoff leading 25 has arrived Agree with the

rankings?!.?.!— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB)November 16, 2022

5. Illinois at Michigan Why it is very important: No, Illinois isn’t ranked, however the three-loss Illini are at least above.500, and that’s more than you can state for the majority of Michigan’s opponents. Because the only ranked win up until now protests Penn State, and just the Nittany Lions, Maryland, Iowa, Illinois and UConn have winning records, Michigan requires to make the most of every chance it has against a respectable group in case it does not beat No. 2 Ohio State. It’s possible for the loser of The Game to end up in the leading 4, however it would be harder for the Wolverines. The choice committee isn’t thrilled with Michigan’s schedule, which at No. 82 is easily the worst of any CFP competitor. Michigan might face Illinois two times if they win their respective departments and meet in the Big 10 championship game.

6. Ohio State at Maryland Why it is essential: The Buckeyes haven’t clinched the East yet, and if they do not beat Michigan in the regular-season ending, there’s no possibility Ohio State will finish in the leading 4 if it can’t win in College Park. Ohio State has actually currently struggled this season in bad weather versus 1-9 Northwestern. Another unsightly win might raise some eyebrows in the committee conference room if Ohio State does not win its division. Saturday will also provide a look into the health status of their two star running backs, TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams, who have actually been injured and will be key to making a severe playoff run. Ohio State coach Ryan Day informed reporters he would not know their statuses up until Thursday. The selection committee considers injuries to essential players, however up until now, the Buckeyes have actually continued to piece it together however have actually relied heavily on their death game.

7. Georgia at Kentucky Why it’s important: What if LSU wins the SEC? It’s most likely Georgia also finishes in the leading four, however it’s not a warranty– specifically with Tennessee sitting there with a win over the SEC champs. The choice committee considers common challengers, and there is no example more vital than this one. Would the committee put in the group that lost to the SEC champs, and not the one that beat them? It’s not the only part, however. Head-to-head results also matter, and Georgia owned Tennessee in a game that was far more uneven than the last rating showed. Georgia could continue to improve its case with a road win against a department challenger, and would not be a terrific appearance if the Bulldogs struggled against a group Vanderbilt just found a method to beat.

Anger index There are simply 2 weeks remaining in the routine season, which means we have actually got simply 3 more sets of rankings to go before the committee retires to its underground lair to start plotting against the Group of 5 for another offseason. This week’s CFP Top 25 offered couple of surprises. If anybody expected the committee to challenge standard knowledge, they were sorely dissatisfied. But that does not mean nobody has cause for frustration in the aftermath of the release. This is college football, after all. Anger is the default setting. So, let’s get to this week’s Anger Index. Washington sits 5 spots behind competing Oregon, who they beat in Week 11. Tom Hauck/Getty Images

1. Washington Huskies (8-2)

We yap about résumé when it comes to the College Football Playoff rankings, however we seldom define what exactly an excellent résumé appears like. So, here’s one recommendation:

– A minimum of one win vs. a great to great opponent (in the top 10% of FBS groups) to prove you can play with the best of the best.

– 3 or more wins versus excellent groups (in the top one-third of FBS teams) to show you can survive the week-in, week-out grind.

– 2 or more wins in true road games to show you can go into a hostile environment and hold your own.Add those 3 things up, package them with a sterling win-loss record, and you’ve got a resumé worthwhile of playoff consideration.So, who fits that expense right now?As of this week, there are nine groups. Eight of them are ranked amongst the top 9 teams in the country (No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 TCU, No. 5 Tennessee, No. 6 LSU, No. 8 Alabama and No. 9 Clemson).

The ninth team? That ‘d be the Washington Huskies, who check in at a less-than-exciting No. 17 in this week’s rankings, behind four other Pac-12 groups, including two-loss Utah at No. 10 and two-loss UCLA at No. 16 along with two-loss Oregon, ranked five areas higher, regardless of losing last week in the house to … Washington!So, why does the

committee dismiss the Huskies? It’s all about style points.Washington led Michigan State 39-10 in the

2nd half, however the game ended up 39-28. The Huskies were up 30-7 on Stanford at the end of the 3rd

quarter, but the Cardinal rallied late for a 40-22 loss.They were up 42-24 on Arizona in the second half, too, however that game ended 49-39.

Essentially, Washington has gone up big then gone on autopilot, and the end outcome is a handful of wins versus dull challengers that look completely mediocre.Well, that and the loss to Arizona State. How can anybody explain that one? A choice six? Three turnovers on downs?

Some sort of voodoo curse? Your guess is as great as ours.The very first eight teams we consisted of here are 23-0 versus the bottom half of FBS groups(per FPI) and have an average margin of triumph of 40 points.Washington is 4-1 and has actually won

by an average of 10 points.But is it sensible to judge Washington by what it did against Arizona State when we have actually seen the Huskies fell Oregon in Eugene?The Pac-12 is essentially a five-team stalemate today, so a lot can alter.

But there’s actually extremely little case for Washington as the 4th of those five teams, and if we simply look at the credits rather than the debits on the Huskies’resumé, there’s actually a fairly strong case for putting them at the top of the stack.2. The ACC Plainly the committee is not a fan of the ACC, in spite of the league’s 9 groups with six wins or better already. That pesky Notre Dame deal, which keeps causing unsightly losses for the league and no redemption from adjustment from the

Irish is a real problem.This week’s rankings put the ACC in a little bit of a bind. Clemson is ranked No. 9, the most affordable by any of the expected playoff competitors, a spot behind two-loss Alabama. Yes, Clemson’s résumé is far remarkable to, state, No. 7 USC. And yes, Clemson beat a Florida

State group that beat two-loss LSU (ranked 3 spots greater ). And yes, the Tigers rebounded perfectly from the Notre Dame loss last week with an emphatic win over Louisville. But the committee isn’t buying, which suggests the Tigers can win out and still be at the bottom of the conference champ pecking order.That’s two times as true for North Carolina. Here’s a fast comparison: Group A: 9-1, No. 11 strength of record, No. 75 strength of schedule, road loss to ranked group, Heisman competitor QB, shaky defense, previous Big 12 coaching fantastic at the helm, sort of a wine-and-cheese fan base.Team B:

9-1, No. 10 strength of record, No. 65 strength of schedule, roadway loss to a ranked group, Heisman competitor at QB, former Big 12 training terrific at the helm, sort of a wine-and-cheese fan base.Not much separating the 2, right? And yet, six spots separate Team A(North Carolina )from Team B(USC) in the rankings

.3. Everyone outside the Big Ten 2 Associated Ohio State is No. 2. Michigan is No. 3. Both, by any eye test or analytical metric, are excellent teams.And yet, take a look at the résumés.Michigan beat Penn State.

It’s next finest win is by a touchdown in the house vs. Maryland. Seven of its 10 wins are against groups.500 or even worse (and the other is Iowa, which … sorry, we dropped off to sleep while typing Iowa. )Ohio State beat Penn State. It’s next best win was a rather unimpressive affair in the opener versus Notre Dame. In Big 10 play, the very best group the Buckeyes have actually beaten is … sorry, we slept again thinking of Iowa.So the lynchpin for both groups to be ranked in the leading 3 is Penn State. And yet, Penn State’s best wins are Purdue, Auburn and Minnesota– all unranked.None of this is to

suggest Michigan and Ohio State aren’t two of the three finest teams in the nation. They may well be. However even before the season began, it was apparent the course to get here was just a two-step process: Beat Penn State

, fulfill up in Columbus on Nov. 26. Should be nice.

How a 12-team playoff would look Everybody with the power to broaden the College Football Playoff wants the field to grow to 12 groups in time for the 2024 season.But currently, expansion is scheduled to start in 2026. So while conversations continue on how to move up the timeline, we’re taking a look at how a 12-team

playoff would look

today based upon the already-determined model launched by the commissioners and presidents.The field will be made up of the choice committee’s 6 highest-ranked conference champions and its next six highest-ranked teams. The 4 highest-ranked conference champs will earn the front runners and a first-round bye. The other 8 teams will play in the first round, with the higher seeds hosting the lower seeds on campus or at another site of their choice.Here’s what

the playoff would look like if the 12-team format were in place today: Seeds with byes 1. Georgia 2. Ohio State 3. TCU 4. USC Staying seeds(conference champs in bold)5. Michigan 6. Tennessee 7. LSU 8. Alabama 9. Clemson 10. Utah 11. Penn State 12. UCF First-round games No. 12 UCF at No. 5 Michigan No. 11 Penn State at No. 6 Tennessee No. 10 Utah at No. 7 LSU No. 9 Clemson at No. 8 Alabama Quarterfinal games No. 9 Clemson-No. 8 Alabama winner vs. No. 1 Georgia No. 10 Utah-No. 7 LSU winner vs. No. 2 Ohio State No.

11 Penn State-No. 6 Tennessee winner vs. No. 3 TCU
No. 12 UCF-No. 5 Michigan winner vs. No. 4 USC Leading résumés 1. Georgia Record: 10-0|SOS: 44|SOR: 2 Biggest win: Nov. 5

vs. Tennessee 27-13 Greatest staying regular-season game: Saturday at Kentucky Last playoff look: 2022 CFP Championship game, No. 3 Georgia 33, No. 1 Alabama 18

No. 2 Ohio State Record: 10-0|SOS: 60|SOR: 4 Biggest win: Oct. 29 at Penn State 44-31 Biggest staying

regular-season game: Nov. 26 vs. Michigan Last playoff look:
2021 CFP National Championship, No. 1 Alabama 52, No. 3 Ohio State 24 No. 3 Michigan Record

: 10-0 |

SOS: 82|SOR: 5 Most significant win: Oct. 15 vs. Penn State 41-17 Biggest remaining regular-season game: Nov. 26 at Ohio State Last playoff appearance: 2022 Playoff Semifinal at the Orange Bowl, No. 3 Georgia 34, No. 2 Michigan 11 No. 4 TCU Record: 10-0|SOS: 38|SOR: 1 Biggest win

: Oct. 22 vs. Texas 17-10 Greatest staying regular-season game: Saturday at Baylor Last playoff appearance: Never No. 5 Tennessee Record: 9-1|SOS: 3|SOR: 3 Biggest win: Oct. 8 at LSU 40-13 Greatest remaining regular-season game: Saturday at South Carolina Last playoff look: Never No. 6 LSU Record: 8-2|SOS: 11|SOR: 7 Biggest win: Nov. 5 vs. Alabama 32-31 Greatest staying regular-season game: Nov. 26 at Texas A&M Last playoff appearance

: 2020 CFP Championship Game: No. 1 LSU 42, No. 3 Clemson 25 No. 7 USC Record: 9-1|SOS: 65|SOR: 10 Most significant win: Sept. 24 at Oregon State 17-14 Greatest remaining regular-season game: Saturday

at UCLA Last playoff look: Never No. 8 Clemson Record: 9-1|SOS: 55|SOR: 8 Biggest

win: Oct.

1 vs. NC State 30-20 Most significant remaining regular-season game: Nov. 26 vs. South Carolina Last playoff look: 2021 Playoff Semifinal at the Sugar Bowl
, No. 3 Ohio State 49, No. 2 Clemson 28

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