College Football Playoff rankings: LSU moves to No. 1, Alabama drops to No. 5


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.

“Georgia, with wins against both Florida and Notre Dame, put them at No. 4 in the rankings this week,” playoff committee chairman and Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens told reporters. “The committee spent a lot of time comparing Georgia and Alabama. In the end, Georgia's two wins over ranked teams made the difference in the No. 4 spot. Alabama clearly is a strong team, but the committee gave the edge to Georgia.”

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.

“The conversation is when you're looking at Minnesota, their schedule was a concern, particularly their non-conference schedule, and just as it laid out up through Week 10, they had only played one team in their league that had a winning record, but the added win against Penn State obviously impressed the committee,” Mullens said.

Minnesota plays No. 20 Iowa on the road in Week 12 with another good opportunity to strengthen its position in the top 10.

None of the 25 teams in the rankings are in the same position they were in last week.

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) is carried off the field by his teammates after defeating Alabama 46-41 on Saturday. (AP)
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) is carried off the field by his teammates after defeating Alabama 46-41 on Saturday. (AP)

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.

Full rankings

1. LSU (9-0)

2. Ohio State (9-0)

3. Clemson (9-0)

4. Georgia (8-1)

5. Alabama (8-1)

6. Oregon (8-1)

7. Utah (8-1)

8. Minnesota (9-0)

9. Penn State (8-1)

10. Oklahoma (8-1)

11. Florida (7-2)

12. Auburn (7-2)

13. Baylor (9-0)

14. Wisconsin (7-2)

15. Michigan (7-2)

16. Notre Dame (7-2)

17. Cincinnati (8-1)

18. Memphis (8-1)

19. Texas (6-3)

20. Iowa (6-3)

21. Boise State (8-1)

22. Oklahoma State (6-3)

23. Navy (7-1)

24. Kansas State (6-3)

25. Appalachian State (8-1)

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports

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