Who’s No. 5? USC or LSU? Key concerns for new

7:00 AM ET Heather Dinich Close ESPN Senior Writer College football press reporter Joined ESPN.com in 2007 Graduate of Indiana University Adam Rittenberg Close ESPN Elder Author College football press reporter. Signed up with ESPN.com in 2008. Graduate of Northwestern University.Week 12 was a”gut it out, just get the W” sort of week, with each

  • of the leading 4 teams staring down too-close-for-comfort scenarios in
  • their respective games.Because all four won ugly, though

, very little, if anything, ought to change Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET when the College Football Playoff selection committee reveals its 4th of 6 rankings.

No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 TCU need to hold constant at the top as the nation’s only remaining undefeated teams.The No. 5 spot will be the most fascinating, as one-loss USC and two-loss LSU can both make a case to replace Tennessee following the Vols’sensational 63-38 loss to unranked South Carolina on Saturday night.Only one game stays in the routine season before the leading contenders have an opportunity to stress their résumés with a conference title. No Week 13 game will have a greater effect on Choice Day than The Video game, the annual rivalry matchup in between Ohio State and Michigan, which will identify the winner of the Big Ten’s East division.What the committee reveals Tuesday night, however, will supply more hints at how the group will arrange whatever out on Choice Day. Here’s what to search for, along with Adam Rittenberg’s case for USC being ranked greater than LSU and the leading four choices of ESPN’s

college football reporters.Who’s No. 5? LSU will remain the committee’s highest-ranked two-loss group, but while the Tigers were battering on UAB 41-10, USC was clinching an area in the Pac-12 national championship with a 48-45 immediate classic against crosstown competing No. 16 UCLA. The Bruins now have three losses and will drop in the new rankings, but they should still be a CFP top 25 win for USC. According to ESPN’s strength of record metric, USC is ranked No. 9 and still searching for at No. 8 LSU.The choice committee doesn’t look ahead, so while USC still has 2 opportunities to impress the committee in games against Notre Dame and the Pac-12 championship, the Trojans may not have actually done enough yet to usurp LSU. USC’s finest wins protest Oregon State and UCLA. LSU’s best wins protest Alabama and Ole Miss, which has actually lost 3 of its past four. LSU’s 40-13 house loss to Tennessee now looks even worse. If USC leaps LSU for that No. 5 spot, the loser of Ohio State-Michigan and Clemson Tigers should be concerned.Does the loser of The Game actually stand a chance?The climb would appear more intimidating if USC lands the 5th spot Tuesday– and if TCU occurs to leap Michigan to No. 3. The committee identified recently that Georgia separated itself from the remainder of the nation, however there was discussion about Nos. 2, 3 and 4 before the committee ultimately chose the status quo. Will TCU’s 2nd roadway win modification that, although it wasn’t the Frogs’finest performance? If TCU

jumps Michigan, it will put more pressure on the Wolverines to win Saturday. According to ESPN’s analytics, Michigan’s nonconference lineup of home games versus Colorado State, Hawai’i and UConn was the second weakest in the FBS.2 Associated With Tennessee’s loss, the Big Ten has the very best possibility to send out several groups to the CFP. According to the Allstate Playoff Predictor, the Big Ten has a 67%possibility to have multiple groups, while the SEC has a 29%opportunity. The truth in the committee meeting room, though, is that Ohio State would have a much better chance than Michigan as East Division runner-up because of its win against Notre Dame. The Buckeyes ‘win against the Irish would have to look much better than whatever USC does Saturday to its competitor because if the Trojans run the table and win the Pac-12, that common challenger will be a factor in the debate.Will Clemson complete its season with two Top 25 opponents?At No. 9, one-loss Clemson is presently stuck behind two-loss groups LSU and Alabama. Will Clemson also be looking up at two-loss Tennessee, too ?! That would absolutely suggest Clemson is in a precarious position. In strength of record, Clemson, at No. 7, ranks behind No. 6 Tennessee.Regardless, the Tigers need help, and they could get it Tuesday if four-loss South Carolina slips into the CFP top 25 after its resounding upset of Tennessee. Of course, that assists just if Clemson beats its in-state competing Saturday. Clemson’s finest win presently is against No. 19 Florida State, followed by No. 24 NC State, however the Wolfpack lost their second straight game Saturday at Louisville and should drop out of the rankings Tuesday.That leaves No. 13 North Carolina, which will deal with Clemson in the ACC championship game.How far will the two-loss Tar Heels topple after their humiliating 21-17 loss to Georgia Tech(

5-6)? A win for Clemson over the Tar Heels won’t impress the committee as much as the opportunities TCU and USC will have in their respective conference title games.What the committee will– and should– do play 0:48 Paul Finebaum discusses USC’s course to the playoff after a win over UCLA in Week 12. The top 4 teams in the CFP rankings made it through Week 12 in spite of dealing with differing degrees of difficulty.

The committee isn’t likely to shuffle the order, so the real intrigue boils down to No.

5 after Tennessee’s historic loss at unranked South Carolina. Other than Georgia, Tennessee relatively had the most safe and secure course to the CFP up until Saturday night. The Vols will be dropping in Tuesday night’s ranking, but which group replaces them at No. 5? That leads to our weekly debate.What the CFP selection committee will do: Put LSU at No. 5 over USCWhat

the CFP selection committee should do: Put USC at No. 5 over LSU The preliminary rankings had USC ahead of LSU, but the

teams flipped after LSU’s dramatic win against Alabama. LSU remained one spot ahead of USC in last week’s rundown and didn’t do anything to harm its standing Saturday night, pulling away from UAB in the second quarter for a 41-10 success. The expectation here is that the committee will merely drop Tennessee and move up LSU and USC, because order.But how should USC be seen after its significant 48-45 win over UCLA at the Rose Bowl? The UCLA game drew out the very best in USC’s offense and quarterback Caleb Williams, who enhanced his case in the Heisman Trophy race with 470 passing lawns. Until Saturday night, USC’s profile had actually been defined by wins over mainly bad teams and a decent road loss to Utah. The Trojans now have two noteworthy road success, over UCLA and Oregon State, which might enter the committee’s leading 20 Tuesday. How will Saturday’s top games impact the College Football Playoff chase after? What are the present odds for the leading 4? The Allstate Playoff Predictor has the answers. Examine back every week as the chances are upgraded following that week’s games. To be clear, USC doesn’t have a win that pops as much as LSU’s over Alabama. The Trojans ‘best chances are ahead, versus Notre Dame today and, preferably, Oregon in the Pac-12 title game. But their leading two wins happened on the road, while LSU’s best road victories have come versus Arkansas and Florida, two 6-5 groups that are under.500 in SEC play.USC’s only loss, to Utah, is rather similar to LSU’s 24-23 season-opening setback versus Florida State, a three-loss team that should be slotted around the exact same spot as Utah in the brand-new rankings. The only distinction is USC’s loss took place on the road, while LSU was up to FSU in New Orleans

, hardly a real neutral site.USC also does not have a second loss, particularly not a 27-point problem at home, like LSU sustained against Tennessee last month. Of note: Since dismantling LSU in Death Valley, Tennessee dropped its next 2 roadway games by a combined score of 90-51. LSU’s second-best win, a 45-20 accomplishment over Ole Miss on Oct. 22, also has actually been devalued. The Rebels were mainly noncompetitive in Saturday’s loss at Arkansas and likely will be slotted around Oregon State in Tuesday’s rankings.A case can be made that LSU is more well balanced than USC, which hasn’t stopped many offenses when it isn’t taking the ball away. LSU has actually increased to 20th nationally in points permitted, while USC languishes at 68th. But USC boasts a similar edge on offense, especially after Saturday night’s magic.These are comparable teams, but USC now carries the stronger profile since of what has occurred on the road– two great wins and a respectable loss. LSU can’t rather match that.– Adam Rittenberg ESPN reporters’top-four picks Blake Baumgartner: 1. Georgia 2. Ohio State 3. Michigan 4. TCU Bill Connelly: 1. Georgia 2. Ohio State 3. Michigan 4. TCU Heather Dinich: 1. Georgia 2. Ohio State 3. TCU 4. Michigan David Hale: 1. Georgia 2. Ohio State 3. TCU 4.

Michigan Chris Low: 1. Georgia 2. Ohio State 3. Michigan 4. TCU Harry Lyles Jr.: 1. Georgia 2. Ohio State 3. Michigan 4. TCU Ryan McGee: 1. Georgia 2. Ohio State 3. TCU 4. USC Adam Rittenberg: 1. Georgia 2. Ohio State 3. Michigan 4.

TCU Alex Scarborough: 1. Georgia 2. Ohio State 3. TCU 4. Michigan Paolo Uggetti: 1. Georgia 2. Ohio State 3. TCU 4. Michigan Tom VanHaaren: 1. Georgia 2. Ohio State 3. Michigan 4. TCU Dave Wilson: 1. Georgia 2. Ohio State 3. Michigan 4. TCU

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