College Football Playoff rankings: Ohio State leads LSU, Alabama and Penn State

Saturday’s showdown between LSU and Alabama won’t be a matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the College Football Playoff committee’s eyes.

Ohio State was ranked No. 1 in 2019’s first set of playoff rankings on Tuesday night ahead of both LSU and Alabama. The Tigers are at No. 2 and the Crimson Tide are at No. 3 while Penn State is at No. 4 ahead of Clemson at No. 5.

The Buckeyes have blown out their opponents in 2019 by an average margin of 48-8. Ohio State’s best win is a 38-7 victory over No. 13 Wisconsin and also beat No. 20 Cincinnati 42-0 in Week 2.

All those blowouts were enough for Ohio State to get the edge over LSU, who has beaten top-12 teams in Auburn and Florida this season. Alabama, meanwhile, has won handily throughout the season as well. But the Tide’s opponents so far don’t match up to the teams at Nos. 1 and 2. Alabama’s best win so far is a 47-28 win over a Texas A&M team that was No. 24 in the AP poll at the time. The Aggies are currently unranked.

Don’t freak out, Clemson fans

The defending national champions are behind four other undefeated teams in the rankings because of the ACC’s mediocrity. Wake Forest is the only other team in the ACC that’s in the top 25 and Wake and Clemson haven’t played each other yet.

But as long as Clemson keeps winning, the Tigers will end up in the playoff at the end of the year. It’s a straightforward formula.

We already know that either LSU or Alabama will have a loss as of Saturday. And Penn State plays Ohio State on Nov. 23. Two of the teams currently in the top four are guaranteed to have a loss.

That opens the door for Clemson, mediocre ACC and all. Because of that mediocrity, a loss to anyone not-named Wake Forest certainly dooms the Tigers’ playoff chances. But an undefeated Clemson at 13-0 with another ACC title to its name is not missing the playoff.

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Donald Trump's fast food feast for Clemson football team
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Donald Trump's fast food feast for Clemson football team
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: (AFP OUT) U.S President Donald Trump presents fast food to be served to the Clemson Tigers football team to celebrate their Championship at the White House on January 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump talks to the media about the table full of fast food in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, for the reception for the Clemson Tigers. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: (AFP OUT) U.S President Donald Trump watches as candles are lit as he presents fast food to be served to the Clemson Tigers football team to celebrate their Championship at the White House on January 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
French fries and pizza are some of the fast food items for the reception for the Clemson Tigers in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: (AFP OUT) U.S President Donald Trump presents fast food to be served to the Clemson Tigers football team to celebrate their Championship at the White House on January 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: (AFP OUT) Members of the Clemson Tigers football team prepare to dine on fast food served by President Trump to celebrate their Championship at the White House on January 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: (AFP OUT) Members of the Clemson Tigers football team prepare to dine on fast food served by President Trump to celebrate their Championship at the White House on January 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump talks to the press about the table full of fast food in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, for the reception for the Clemson Tigers. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
White House ushers plate chicken nuggets from McDonalds, some of the fast food the US president purchased for a ceremony honoring the 2018 College Football Playoff National Champion Clemson Tigers in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, January 14, 2019. - US President Donald Trump says the White House chefs are furloughed due to the partial government shutdown. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
A the table full of fast food in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, is ready for guests attending a reception for the Clemson Tigers. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: (AFP OUT) U.S President Donald Trump presents fast food to be served to the Clemson Tigers football team to celebrate their Championship at the White House on January 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Guests select fast food that the US president purchased for a ceremony honoring the 2018 College Football Playoff National Champion Clemson Tigers in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, January 14, 2019. - US President Donald Trump says the White House chefs are furloughed due to the partial government shutdown. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: (AFP OUT) Members of the Clemson Tigers football team prepare to dine on fast food served by President Trump to celebrate their Championship at the White House on January 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump talks to the press about the table full of fast food in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, during a reception for the 2018 college football playoff National Champion Clemson Tigers. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Guests attending a reception for the Clemson Tigers grab fast food sandwiches in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Guests attending a reception for the Clemson Tigers grab fast food sandwiches in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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Oklahoma has work to do

The Sooners are at No. 9 in the first rankings behind three one-loss teams in No. 6 Georgia, No. 7 Oregon and No. 8 Utah. Oklahoma is three spots behind Georgia despite losing to No. 16 Kansas State on the road while Georgia lost to 4-5 South Carolina at home. The committee really likes Georgia’s wins over Notre Dame and Florida. Texas is Oklahoma’s marquee victory and the Longhorns aren’t in the top 25.

Oklahoma has yet to play No. 12 Baylor and No. 23 Oklahoma State and could play one of those two teams (or Texas) again in the Big 12 Championship Game. If Oklahoma wins out the rest of the way, an 11-1 season on its own may not be enough to get the Sooners into the playoff for a third straight season.

Two Power Five unbeatens outside the top 10

Baylor came in at No. 12 and Minnesota is at No. 17. Both teams are 8-0.

The Gophers have a chance to rocket up the rankings with a win on Saturday against No. 4 Penn State. While Minnesota won’t come close to the top four with a win — even a convincing one — the Gophers should at least be much closer to the top 10 with a victory.

Baylor, meanwhile, may have to wait a bit to get near the top 10 unless teams ahead of it lose. The Bears play No. 9 Oklahoma on Nov. 16. A win there would put Baylor into the top 10 assuming it beats TCU on Saturday.

A top-10 showdown for the Pac-12?

The Pac-12 is just one of three conferences with multiple teams in the top 10. Raise your hand if you saw that coming at the beginning of the season.

Oregon and Utah each lead their respective divisions and could end up playing in a Pac-12 Championship Game with a playoff berth on the line. While a playoff spot doesn’t seem likely at this point, the conference is positioned for just its third top-10 showdown in nine championship games.

The AAC gets four teams in the top 25

The American conference has been wild in 2019. The bottom of the rankings are proof of just how tight it is at the top.

Four of the bottom six teams in the rankings all hail from the AAC. Cincinnati leads the pack at No. 20 and is followed by Memphis at No. 21, Navy at No. 24 and SMU at No. 25.

SMU lost its undefeated season on Saturday when it lost at Memphis. The Tigers, who have also beaten Navy, play Cincinnati at the end of the season while Navy faces SMU on Nov. 23. Those two games mean that the ACC won’t end up with four teams in the rankings at the end of the year. But if a one-loss champion emerges from that group of four, it should have an edge on No. 22 Boise State if the Broncos finish the season with just one loss.

Full rankings

1. Ohio State, 8-0

2. LSU, 8-0

3. Alabama, 8-0

4. Penn State, 8-0

5. Clemson, 9-0

6. Georgia, 7-1

7. Oregon, 8-1

8. Utah, 8-1

9. Oklahoma, 7-1

10. Florida, 7-2

11. Auburn, 7-2

12. Baylor, 8-0

13. Wisconsin, 6-2

14. Michigan, 7-2

15. Notre Dame, 6-2

16. Kansas State, 6-2

17. Minnesota, 8-0

18. Iowa, 6-2

19. Wake Forest, 7-1

20. Cincinnati, 7-1

21. Memphis, 8-1

22. Boise State

23. Oklahoma State, 6-3

24. Navy, 7-1

25. SMU, 8-1

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports

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