As we inch closer to the end of the season, it’s the last real chance for teams to boost or hurt their case in the eyes of the College Football Playoff committee. While the AP Poll is not part of the equation, it’s still a good chance to see where public opinion, at least in the eyes of the writers, stands ahead of Tuesday’s rankings reveal.
There was a shakeup once again after Saturday’s games, as No. 8 Ohio State moved up from No. 13 after beating Michigan State. The Spartans fell from No. 7 to No. 12. Mississippi State and Florida State remained at one and two, respectively, while Oregon jumped to No. 3, Alabama held strong at No. 4. TCU rounds out the top five.
The full rankings are below (with first-place votes in parentheses), followed by three quick thoughts on the poll.
1. Mississippi State (48)
2. Florida State (12)
8. Ohio State
10. Ole Miss
12. Michigan State
13. Kansas State
15. Notre Dame
23. Colorado State
24. Georgia Tech
• The Big 12 field still has a good shot at the playoff. Baylor’s convincing win over Oklahoma helped out the conference as a whole there. The Bears moved up from No. 10 to No. 6, and with just one loss (and a win over TCU), their conference performance is helping to negate a rather uninspiring nonconference slate. As for the Horned Frogs, their ability to easily handle a solid Kansas State team (who had previously lost to Auburn) should look good to the committee.
• Ohio State still has that Virginia Tech win weighing it down. The AP voters gave due credit to the win in East Lansing on Saturday, but it’s hard to believe had the Hokies played better this season that a Buckeyes team with a new quarterback early in the season would be penalized this badly amongst the rest of the one-loss teams. We’ll see how the committee feels.
• The Pac-12 hasn’t completely cleared up, but there are really two teams in contention for a playoff spot: Oregon and Arizona State. The No. 7 Sun Devils really helped their cause in Tempe by dispatching Notre Dame, and with one loss and some good wins, Todd Graham’s team probably controls their own destiny. Win out and a date with the Ducks is likely for the Pac-12 crown. That game could be a play-in game for the top four.