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Predicting the College Football Playoff Rankings Heading Into Tuesday Night

Last week, Cincinnati took a step toward finally landing in the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings. Luke Fickell's team was ranked at No. 5 in last week's charts and just one spot out of the four-team field, if the playoff seeds were decided today.

After some less impressive performances in wins over Navy, Tulane and Tulsa, the Bearcats beat USF 45–28. Wins by that margin would help Cincinnati’s case for one of four spots.

The problem for Cincinnati: one of the teams right behind it in last week's poll scored a major victory on Saturday. Michigan, No. 6 in the College Football Playoff rankings as of last week, knocked off Penn State in Happy Valley, 21–17.

Both the AP and Coaches Polls jumped Alabama, fresh off of a 59–3 beatdown of New Mexico State, over Cincinnati into the No. 2 spot this week. That may be a bad sign for the Bearcats as well, given how much more friendly those two groups of voters have been to the undefeated AAC power.

After Saturday's action, here's what the College Football Playoff top 10 may look like:

  1. Georgia (10–0). Last week: No. 1; beat Tennessee 41–17
  2. Alabama (9–1). Last week: No. 2; beat New Mexico State 59–3
  3. Ohio State (9–1). Last week: No. 4; beat Purdue 59–31
  4. Oregon (9–1). Last week: No. 3; beat Washington State 38–24
  5. Michigan (9–1). Last week: No. 6; beat Penn State 21–17
  6. Cincinnati (10–0). Last week: No. 5; beat USF 45–28
  7. Michigan State (9–1). Last week: No. 7; beat Maryland 40–21
  8. Notre Dame (9–1). Last week: No. 9; beat Virginia 28–3
  9. Oklahoma State (9–1). Last week: No. 10; beat TCU 63–17
  10. Baylor (8–2). Last week: No. 13; beat Oklahoma 27–13

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Last week, the committee kept Oregon ahead of Ohio State, thanks to the Ducks' head-to-head win earlier in the season. 

Michigan was already at Cincinnati's heels, and scored a big in-conference road win, which could allow it to jump the AAC favorite.

The No. 10 spot is among the most interesting. With losses by last week's No. 8 Oklahoma and No. 11 Texas A&M, Wake Forest could certainly move up to the spot after defeating NC State, perhaps its biggest challenger in the ACC Atlantic this year. 

Baylor beat Oklahoma. The committee has been tepid on Oklahoma this season, and had it ranked just No. 8 despite an undefeated record last week, but that dominant win should still be pretty significant for Dave Aranda's squad.

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