LSU moved to No. 1 in the second edition of the College Football Playoff rankings after a 46-41 win over Alabama.
The Tigers swapped spots with Ohio State after Week 11 thanks to a win over the then-No. 3 Crimson Tide. Alabama fell two spots to No. 5 in the rankings and got bypassed by Georgia. The Bulldogs’ move to No. 4 from No. 6 means the SEC has three teams in the top five of the rankings.
Clemson is at No. 3 in the rankings behind LSU and Ohio State. The defending national champions blitzed NC State on Saturday night. Ohio State, meanwhile, beat Maryland 73-14.
Minnesota moved from No. 17 to No. 8 after beating Penn State 31-26. The Nittany Lions were at No. 4 in the first set of rankings. Penn State is now at No. 9 after the Minnesota loss.
None of the 25 teams in the rankings are in the same position they were in last week.
Oregon and Utah move up during off weeks
No. 6 Oregon and No. 7 Utah stayed ahead of undefeated Minnesota in the rankings despite not playing in Week 11. The Pac-12 division leaders have a chance to meet each other at 11-1 in the Pac-12 Championship Game. If they both enter that game with one loss, that title game could end up being a play-in game for the playoff.
Oklahoma drops a spot
The Big 12’s playoff hopes don’t look too great. Oklahoma fell from No. 9 to No. 10 after a 42-41 win over Iowa State when the Cyclones’ late two-point conversion was intercepted. Iowa State was down 21 points and scored 20-unanswered in the fourth quarter to make the game a nailbiter.
Baylor, undefeated at 9-0, is the lowest undefeated team in the rankings. The Bears are at No. 13 after beating TCU in triple-overtime on Saturday.
Baylor and Oklahoma meet each other in Week 12. The winner of the game figures to move up. But just how much? If none of the teams ahead of Oklahoma lose this upcoming week it’s hard to see the Sooners moving up more than a couple of spots at most.
That could spell trouble for the Big 12. Unless the nine non-Big 12 teams at the top of the rankings start losing, the conference could be out of playoff luck.
Can Alabama make the playoff at 11-1?
The biggest rankings question after Saturday’s games centered around the Crimson Tide. Just how far would Alabama fall after a five-point loss to a team ranked above it?
The answer was two spots. Does that mean that Alabama can make the playoff without appearing in the SEC Championship Game?
It seems unlikely at the moment. LSU is in the driver’s seat in the SEC West and looks set to head to the SEC title game at 12-0. That game could be a matchup with No. 4 Georgia, who could be 11-1.
Alabama fans should be rooting for LSU if that scenario comes to fruition. A Tigers win would knock Georgia from the top four. A Bulldogs win would keep Georgia in the top four. And probably LSU. A 12-1 LSU with a head-to-head win over 11-1 Alabama would have a significant advantage.
Assuming an LSU win in that scenario doesn’t automatically benefit Alabama, however. A 12-1 Oregon or Utah as the Pac-12 champion would have an extra win and a conference title. So could a 12-1 Oklahoma team even though the Sooners are now five spots behind. Heck, what about a 12-1 Minnesota team that loses to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game?
There are way too many teams who could end up with better playoff cases than an 11-1 Alabama. Start rooting for LSU to keep winning and everyone else behind Alabama to start losing, Tide fans.
Nick Saban through his career
Nick Saban through his career
Louisiana State University head coach Nick Saban celebrates as his players hold the national championship trophy after the Tigers' 21-14 win over the University of Oklahoma in the Nokia Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, January 4, 2004. REUTERS/Marc Serota JLS
The Miami Dolphins' new coach Nick Saban talks during a press conference at the Dolphins training center in Davie, Florida, January 4, 2005. Saban is one of the most successful collegiate coaches over last five years. REUTERS/Carlos Barria CB/SV
Miami Dolphins new head coach Nick Saban watches his team run drills on the first day of camp in Davie, Florida, July 25, 2005. REUTERS/Marc Serota MS/LA
Miami Dolphins head coach Nick Saban argues a call during a game against the Atlanta Falcons in Miami, Florida, November 6, 2005. Atlanta defeated Miami 17-10. REUTERS/Marc Serota
Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban argues a call against the New England Patriots in Miami, Florida November 13, 2005.The Patriots defeated the Dolphins 23-16.REUTERS/Marc Serota
Miami Dolphins head coach Nick Saban (C) watches as Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu (R) intercepts a pass meant for Miami receiver Chris Chamber (84) in the fourth quarter of their NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 7, 2006. REUTERS/Jason Cohn (UNITED STATES)
University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban takes the field as he returns to Tiger Stadium to take on Louisiana State University during their NCAA football game in Baton Rouge, Louisiana November 8, 2008. Saban is the former head coach of LSU. REUTERS/Sean Gardner (UNITED STATES)
University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban poses with Heisman Memorial Trophy award winner running back Mark Ingram (R) at a news conference in New York December 12, 2009. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Alabama coach Nick Saban throws during team practice for the BCS Championship NCAA college football game in Costa Mesa, California January 4, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban directs his team against the LSU Tigers during the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game in New Orleans, January 9, 2012. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban (C) watches Josh Chapman hold up the trophy after their team defeated the LSU Tigers during the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 9, 2012. REUTERS/Sean Gardner (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban points upwards after his team defeated the Georgia Bulldogs during the NCAA SEC college football championship in Atlanta, Georgia, December 1, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Keane (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban speaks during media day for the 2013 BCS National Championship NCAA football game in Miami, Florida January 5, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Skipper (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
University of Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban stands next to the Coaches' Trophy after his team beat Notre Dame in the NCAA college football 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game during a news conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida January 8, 2013. This is Saban's fourth title and third at Alabama. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Jan 1, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban on the field prior to the 2015 Sugar Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 5, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban celebrates with his team after winning the 2015 SEC Championship Game against the Florida Gators at the Georgia Dome. Alabama won 29-15. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide running back Derrick Henry (2) dunks head coach Nick Saban with Gatorade after the game against the Clemson Tigers in the 2016 CFP National Championship at University of Phoenix Stadium. Alabama won 45-40. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 2, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; President Barack Obama holds an honorary game ball presented by Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban (left) during a ceremony honoring the 2015 national champion Crimson Tide in the East Room at the White House. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters Picture Supplied by Action Images (TAGS: Sport American Football NCAA) *** Local Caption *** 2016-03-02T220115Z_870359777_NOCID_RTRMADP_3_NCAA-FOOTBALL-ALABAMA-WHITE-HOUSE-VISIT.JPG
Nov 4, 2017; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban holds up two fingers on the field against the LSU Tigers during the forth quarter quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban after the game against the Clemson Tigers in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 4, 2017; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban holds up two fingers on the field against the LSU Tigers during the forth quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 25, 2017; Auburn, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban greets Bo Jackson (left) before the game against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 1, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban reacts during the fourth quarter against the Clemson Tigers in the 2018 Sugar Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 1, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban wears a hat backwards as he talks to quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) after the game against the Clemson Tigers in the 2018 Sugar Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 8, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban reacts after beating the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2018 CFP national championship college football game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 9, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama head coach Nick Saban speaks to media after wining the National Championship during a press conference at the Sheraton Downtown hotel. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
COLLEGE STATION, TX - OCTOBER 07: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide at Kyle Field on October 7, 2017 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 23: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs onto the field with his team prior to a game against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the first half at Vanderbilt Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 23: Alabama head coach Nick Saban arrives at the stadium before a college football game between the Vanderbilt Commodores and the Alabama Crimson Tide on September 23, 2017 at Commodore Stadium in Nashville, TN. (Photo by Jamie Gilliam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)