The latest College Football Playoff ranking is out and the big winner is Clemson

The latest College Football Playoff ranking is out and despite losses this past weekend, both Michigan and Clemson would still be in the playoff if the season ended today.

Alabama is still No. 1 as the lone undefeated team from a Power-5 conference. They are followed by Ohio State, who jumps up from No. 5 after three of the top four teams lost in Week 11. The Buckeyes replace Washington in the top four after the Huskies lost to USC and fell to sixth.

The big winner in the latest ranking is Clemson. There was some debate about whether or not Louisville would be ranked ahead of Clemson despite losing the head-to-head matchup. The argument in favor of Louisville was that they have had fewer close calls than Clemson, their one loss was against a top-five team on the road that went down to the wire, and Clemson's lone loss was at home to unranked to Pitt.

But while Louisville has still been given a respectable ranking of No. 5, it is clear that the committee values Clemson's head-to-head win. This also means that with Clemson likely going to the ACC Championship game ahead of Louisville, the Tigers will be in the playoff if they win their remaining games and the ACC title.


Meanwhile the darkhorses outside of the top four both come from the Big Ten. No. 7 Wisconsin could get into the playoff if they win out and beat Ohio State, Michigan, or Penn State in the Big Ten Championship game. Meanwhile, if Ohio State beats Michigan and No. 8 Penn State doesn't lose another regular-season game, the Nittany Lions would go to the Big Ten Championship game and could play their own way into the playoff.

The big mystery is what happens when Ohio State and Michigan face each other. If the loser falls out of the top four, presumably Louisville would move up. But without a shot at the ACC title, will the committee be willing to give two spots to the ACC conference? If the committee isn't willing to do that, the final spot would then likely go to Washington as Pac-12 champs or a second Big Ten team, especially if Ohio State is still No. 2 and either Penn State or Wisconsin is the conference champ.

Here is the entire top 10 with each team's record and previous ranking in parentheses:

Alabama (1-0; 1)
Ohio State (9-1; 5)
Michigan (9-1; 3)
Clemson (9-1; 2)
Louisville (9-1; 7)
Washington (9-1; 4)
Wisconsin (8-2; 7)
Penn State (8-2; 10)
Oklahoma (8-2; 11)
Colorado (8-2; 12)

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Happiest college football fan bases

10. Alabama Crimson Tide

Sure, the Crimson Tide are No. 1, but this has become the norm for Alabama fans. At some point, they get a little numb to all of the success. Still, they’re very happy.

9. Virginia Tech Hokies

How about the Hokies so far this season? Virginia Tech has surged into the top 20 and the Blacksburg, Va. faithful have to be thrilled with their post-Frank Beamer program.

8. Miami Hurricanes

The loss to Florida State surely dampens The U fan base’s mindset, but Mark Richt has re-energized this program.

7. Wisconsin Badgers

The Badgers entered the season with pretty good expectations, but the brutal schedule had many people thinking this year could be a real struggle. So far, it hasn’t been. Wisconsin’s a top 10 team and the Badgers’ fans have to be ecstatic.

6. Tennessee Volunteers

The Vols could easily jump to No. 1 on this list if they can pull off a win (vs. Alabama) this weekend.

3. Texas A&M Aggies

The Aggies are probably the college football team that has most-surpassed its preseason expectations. Even the most-optimistic of Texas A&M fans likely couldn’t have predicted this start.

2. Ohio State Buckeyes

The Buckeyes entered the season with cautious optimism – they had to replace a ton of NFL talent, after all – and so far, they’ve looked every bit the part of a national title-caliber team.

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