- Washington claims the fourth spot, the Big Ten is in good shape and several teams along with the Big 12 were the losers in this week's College Football Playoff rankings.
The College Football Playoff selection committee released its second set of rankings Tuesday night. Here are three thoughts from the playoff committee's second top 25:
1. Washington takes over fourth spot in rankings
After being topped by Texas A&M in last week's rankings, the Washington Huskies took advantage of the Aggies' loss to claim the No. 4 spot this week. Quarterback Jake Browning continues to impress each week, and Washington has been dominating its weaker opponents in recent weeks. As an undefeated Power 5 conference team, it would have been very difficult to explain denying the Huskies for a second straight week.
By ranking Washington ahead of Ohio State, the committee is saying that the Huskies' resume of remaining undefeated, blowing out opponents and beating No. 15 Utah on the road is stronger than the Buckeyes' loss to No. 10 Penn State and their three wins over ranked opponents (at No. 7 Wisconsin, at No. 11 Oklahoma and vs. No. 19 Ohio State). Committee chairman Kirby Hocutt said the margin between the Aggies and Huskies was very small last week and that the big difference in comparing Ohio State to Washington versus Texas A&M to Washington was that the loss to Penn State was weighed more as a negative than the Aggies' loss to the Alabama.
With USC entering the rankings at No. 20, it provides Washington with a great opportunity to pick up another statement win next week.
It's a tough call and both sides have a case, but each team still controls its own destiny, so regardless of your thoughts on who is better at the moment, both teams just need to keep winning.
2. Could the Big Ten have two playoff teams?
Imagine a scenario where Ohio State beats Michigan and Washington loses a game. Or imagine a scenario where a two-loss Wisconsin beats Michigan in the Big Ten title game, Washington loses a game and Louisville doesn't impress over the final few weeks. The Big Ten is loaded with teams in the top 10 of the rankings with Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State. Given the relative weakness of the Big 12, Pac 12 and ACC, it's not crazy to see how two teams from either the Big Ten or SEC (Auburn and Alabama would be the only possibility) could get two teams into the playoff. There are ways that both Michigan and Ohio State could make it, and Wisconsin certainly has the ability to make things interesting as well as the top ranked two-loss team in the country.
Assuming the Wolverines and Buckeyes each win their next two games, the winner of The Game on November 26 in Columbus could serve as a play-in game to the playoff regardless of the Big Ten championship game outcome. But that would rely on chaos around the nation from other teams. The Big Ten clearly has the respect of the committee, and has the more teams ranked in the top 10 than any other league.
3. Florida, LSU, Nebraska and Big 12 all losers
Florida was the biggest loser of the week, dropping out of the rankings after coming in at No. 11 last week. That's what a 31–10 loss to Arkansas will do. The committee was also not thrilled with LSU's loss to Alabama, and dropped the Tigers from No. 13 to No. 24.
Nebraska was blown out by Ohio State, which resulted in the Cornhuskers falling nine spots to No. 19, ending their dark horse chances at the playoff.
The Big 12 again failed to place a team in the top 10, with Oklahoma being the closest to breaking the mark at No. 11. One-loss West Virginia was ranked behind nine teams with two losses at No. 16, and Baylor fell out of the rankings after losing to TCU. It's difficult to see a path into the playoff for the conference. It would take massive chaos at the top of the rankings and would mean Oklahoma would have to win out.
Full College Football Playoff rankings
5. Ohio State
8. Texas A&M
10. Penn State
13. Oklahoma State
14. Virginia Tech
16. West Virginia
17. North Carolina
18. Florida State
21. Western Michigan
22. Boise State
23. Washington State