Ohio State Could Remain No. 1 in College Football Playoff Rankings

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There were a couple of surprises, albeit rather small ones, with this week’s College Football Playoff rankings reveal. Ohio State jumped LSU for the No. 1 spot after taking care of 10th-ranked Penn State over the weekend. Elsewhere, Utah, Oklahoma, Minnesota and Baylor moved up thanks to the Nittany Lions’ loss.

So what does this all mean?

Ohio State Will Probably Keep the Top Spot

Beating Penn State—a team the committee really likes and ranked fourth in its original rankings a few weeks ago—resulted in the Buckeyes taking over the rankings this week. Will it last? Ohio State could finish as 13-0 Big Ten champs if it gets past No. 13 Michigan on Saturday and beats a likely top-10 foe in Minnesota or Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game the following week. Second-ranked LSU has to wrestle with Texas A&M this week and likely No. 4 Georgia in the SEC Championship.

Which end-of-season résumé looks better to you: Two top-15 wins or one top-four victory? This is college football, so it’s all very subjective, obviously, but there’s a pretty good chance the Tigers lost their No. 1 ranking for good.

Big 12 Has More Life Than We Thought

Oklahoma and Baylor have found themselves behind the top teams in the SEC, Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 for much of this season. And the committee hasn’t really changed its feelings about these programs, or their conference. Until now. Baylor moved from No. 14 to No. 9 this week, and as was expressed on ESPN’s broadcast, we hardly believe this is due to what was an unassuming 24-10 win against mediocre Texas over the weekend.

It appears the Bears’ wins against Oklahoma State and Iowa State now carry much more weight than they used to, with the Cowboys and Cyclones coming in ranked 21 and 23, respectively, this week. The Sooners can have those two quality conference wins also if they handle the Pokes on the road this weekend. We’re not saying a 12-1 Big 12 champion will have an easy argument come Selection Sunday, but it certainly looks much better today than it did even a few days ago. (This is assuming neither Baylor nor OU trip up in their final regular-season games this weekend. If even one of them were to lose this weekend, the 12-1 conference champ’s record will look less convincing.)

Here are the full rankings:

1. Ohio State

2. LSU

3. Clemson

4. Georgia

5. Alabama

6. Utah

7. Oklahoma

8. Minnesota

9. Baylor

10. Penn State

11. Florida

12. Wisconsin

13. Michigan

14. Oregon

15. Auburn

16. Notre Dame

17. Iowa

18. Memphis

19. Cincinnati

20. Boise State

21. Oklahoma State

22. USC

23. Iowa State

24. Virginia Tech

25. Appalachian State