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Michigan Jumps Into Playoff Spot in Penultimate CFP Rankings

After Michigan (11–1) defeated Ohio State in commanding fashion on Saturday, the Wolverines find themselves in the top four of the penultimate College Football Playoff rankings.

Michigan, which entered the first set of CFP rankings released on Nov. 2 at No. 7 after a 37-33 loss to Michigan State, won its first game against the Buckeyes under coach Jim Harbaugh last Saturday. The Wolverines jumped to No. 2 and will face No. 13 Iowa (10–2) in the Big Ten Championship game this Saturday. 

Prior to Tuesday's ranking, the Wolverines' highest ranking in the playoff era was No. 3 in 2016. Michigan is the seventh different team to occupy a top-four spot this season. 

Cincinnati (12–0), which moved into the fourth spot in last week's CFP rankings, closed the regular season with a perfect record after defeating East Carolina 35-13 last Friday. The Bearcats, who stayed at No. 4 despite the convincing win, will look to lock in their playoff spot as they play Houston in the AAC Championship game.

Alabama (11–1) rallied to beat Auburn in four overtimes in the Iron Bowl to keep its playoff hopes afloat and remain at No. 3 in the rankings, while Georgia remains No. 1 for the fifth week in a row after 45–0 win over Georgia Tech. The two SEC powerhouses will face off in a critical conference championship matchup.

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Oklahoma State, a team that was ranked at No. 7 last week, jumped two spots to No. 5 after defeating Oklahoma (10–2) in the Battle of Bedlam. The Cowboys (11–1) are still in the race for a top four spot if they defeat Baylor in the Big 12 Championship game and results in the SEC or AAC title games break their way.

Notre Dame (11–1) remains at No. 6 in this week's rankings. However, with the departure of football coach Brian Kelly to LSU, CFP chair Gary Barta said the committee's protocols include player-coach availability. As a result, Kelly leaving the Fighting Irish could be a factor in Notre Dame's final ranking.

"This week it didn't apply because the games have occurred and we evaluated based on those games," Barta said. "Once the championship games wrap up ... the protocol does include the ability for the committee to consider a player or a coach not being available. Should that have an effect on the outcome of a game, that can be considered. At this point, we'll have to wait and see how that factors in."

Check out the full College Football Playoff rankings below.

  1. Georgia
  2. Michigan
  3. Alabama
  4. Cincinnati
  5. Oklahoma State
  6. Notre Dame
  7. Ohio State
  8. Ole Miss
  9. Baylor
  10. Oregon
  11. Michigan State
  12. BYU
  13. Iowa
  14. Oklahoma
  15. Pitt
  16. Wake Forrest
  17. Utah
  18. NC State
  19. San Diego State
  20. Clemson
  21. Houston
  22. Arkansas
  23. Kentucky
  24. Louisiana
  25. Texas A&M

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