With the top seven teams in the College Football Playoff rankings all winning, don’t expect the top of the committee’s field to look any different when the new top 25 is released on ESPN on Tuesday night.
Here’s a look at what will change.
What Minnesota’s Loss Means
The most immediate change after the Gophers’ loss to Iowa will be a new No. 8 team. Will it be Penn State after it beat a good, but largely ignored, Indiana team 34-27? Or will it be the Sooners, who came back from the dead to topple a previously-undefeated Baylor? And more importantly, does it actually matter? Oklahoma still has Oklahoma State and (probably) the Big 12 title game left on its schedule. Meanwhile, Penn State travels to Ohio State this week with a chance to get back in the playoff field with a big road upset. So who lands at No. 8 this week won’t make a whole lot of difference in the end.
As for Minnesota, the loss certainly derailed a dream 13-0 season. However, P.J. Fleck & Co. aren’t completely out of the playoff picture. If this group keeps rowing the boat through games against Northwestern, Wisconsin and either Ohio State or Penn State in the Big Ten title game, its résumé would definitely stack up well against a one-loss Pac-12 champion, a one-loss Big 12 champ and/or 11-1 Alabama. (This, of course, is assuming things don’t get messy with a Clemson loss or we don’t end up with two SEC teams in the final four.)
Georgia picked up a quality win on the road at Auburn, but we don’t see that being enough for the 9-1 Bulldogs to move ahead of 11-0 Clemson for the third spot.
Does UGA deserve the No. 3 ranking over a Clemson squad with a weak schedule in a down year for the ACC? Perhaps. You could certainly state a solid case by listing the Dawgs’ quality wins over ranked opponents Notre Dame, Florida and Auburn. The problem is Georgia is carrying an embarrassing loss against South Carolina and has very much not passed the eye test at all. (Well, at least it’s anachronistic offense hasn’t passed it.)
Dabo Swinney’s bunch remains undefeated thanks to mostly rolling through its easy schedule, which is what great teams are supposed to do. It’s not the Tigers’ fault the ACC is terrible and Texas A&M front-loaded its schedule to find itself out of the rankings by now.