The top five remained the same, but four teams ranked between 6 and 10 suffered losses, causing a shake-up in the bottom half of the top 10. With Stanford and Utah both losing late Saturday night, the Pac 12 seems all but out of the playoff barring serious turmoil. Clemson retained its spot at No. 1, but it's hard to imagine the committee doesn't have Alabama right on the Tigers' heels.
1. Clemson (Last Week: 1)
The Tigers' closer-than-expected win over Syracuse probably didn't help strengthen their grip on the top spot, but they hold serve.
2. Alabama (Last Week: 2)
We know the committee has essentially forgiven Alabama for its loss, so it was almost surprising to see them not go balls to the wall and move the Tide to No. 1 after they blasted Mississippi State. At the end of the day, Clemson (rankings-wise) has two wins better than Alabama's best win, and that likely kept things in the Tigers' favor.
3. Ohio State (Last Week: 3)
It would be interesting to see how the committee treated Ohio State if it weren't the defending national champion, considering the Buckeyes don't have a single quality win. Honestly, even Iowa has a better resume at this point. Regardless, Ohio State will get its shot to actually earn its top-4 spot this weekend when Michigan State comes to town.
4. Notre Dame (Last Week: 4)
It's hard to understand committee chair Jeff Long's claim that Notre Dame is solidly No. 4 when there are two undefeated teams behind it. But if you can rationalize Alabama at No. 2, you can certainly make a case for the Irish, whose loss is much more forgivable.
5. Iowa (Last Week: 5)
Perhaps the Hawkeyes should be ranked above Notre Dame, but they control their own destiny to make the playoff, as a 13-0 Big Ten champ won't be left out. Iowa again was not convincing in victory, but they remain unbeaten.
6. Oklahoma State (Last Week: 8)
Same story as Iowa for the Cowboys, who won't be left out with an undefeated regular season. They appeared primed to take a loss at Iowa State but stormed back for a win they absolutely had to have.
7. Oklahoma (Last Week: 12)
Oklahoma scored the weekend's biggest win with a 10-point road triumph at Baylor. The Sooners may be the favorites to win the Big 12 now, but unlike their in-state rival, they would need a little help to make the playoff. If it came down to Oklahoma and Notre Dame (both with one-loss and neither with a conference championship win), their results against common opponent Texas would likely make the Irish the choice for the fourth playoff spot.
8. Florida (Last Week: 11)
The Gators haven't looked impressive in a while, but they continue to remain in good position for a playoff berth should they win out. The problem is that would include wins over Florida State and Alabama, which is tough sledding.
9. Michigan State (Last Week: 13)
We told you Michigan State was far from out of it despite its terrible loss to Nebraska, but even we didn't think the Spartans would re-emerge this quickly. You never know when chaos will occur, however. Beat Ohio State this weekend? All of a sudden you're right back in the mix, Sparty.
10. Baylor (Last Week: 6)
We knew when the Bears lost Seth Russell they would be fighting an uphill battle the rest of the season. After its loss to Oklahoma, Baylor has to win out and hope for a Sooners loss to either TCU or Oklahoma State to have a realistic shot to make the playoff field.
11. Stanford (Last Week: 7)
Is it just me, or do Oregon and Stanford always sabotage each other's best seasons? Stanford now has two losses and has to beat Cal just to guarantee it spot in the Pac 12 Championship Game. With Notre Dame and the Pac 12 South winner still on the docket, opportunities for quality wins still remain, but the Cardinal need a lot to happen in front of them to be able to sniff the playoff now.
12. Michigan (Last Week: 14)
Michigan still has a path to a Big Ten championship, so we can't rule the Wolverines out altogether. Like Stanford, however, they need a ton of help.
13. Utah (Last Week: 10)
We have been saying for a while now that the Utes were due for at least a couple losses, and the overtime loss at Arizona may have sealed their playoff fate.
14. Florida State (Last Week: 16)
The Seminoles bounced back nicely from their loss to Clemson (once Jimbo finally decided to play Sean Maguire), but there is still no feasible path to the playoff for them.
15. LSU (Last Week: 9)
Same goes for LSU after an embarrassing home loss to Arkansas. Was Alabama's win over the Tigers really that special?
16. Navy (Last Week: 20)
You would have to think Navy's success is really helping Notre Dame, which handed the Midshipmen their only loss of the season.
17. North Carolina (Last Week: 23)
It took back-to-back shellackings for the Tar Heels to get a little love in the rankings, but they are still too low for my taste.
18. TCU (Last Week: 15)
Even ranked this low, one-loss TCU technically isn't out of playoff contention. By my count, however, the Frogs would need to win out and have Oklahoma State lose its last two games to be able to make a case. And with the health of both Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson in question, that scenario seems far-fetched.
19. Houston (Last Week: 24)
The Cougars incredibly erased a 20-point fourth quarter deficit with a backup quarterback at the helm to stun Memphis. They are one of just six remaining undefeated teams.
20. Northwestern (Last Week: 18)
Northwestern's resume is groan-inducing, but the ones below it aren't a whole lot better.
21. Memphis (Last Week: 21)
The Tigers have now lost back-to-back games after an 8-0 start that had them on the periphery of the playoff talks.
22. Ole Miss (Last Week: NR)
Anything to help Bama, right?
23. Oregon (Last Week: NR)
We wrote the Ducks off after a 3-3 start, but they have won four in a row since.
24. USC (Last Week: NR)
Ditto for Southern Cal, which unbelievably controls its own destiny in the Pac 12 South.
25. Wisconsin (Last Week: 25)
What sort of spell does Barry Alvarez have over this committee?