Alabama Holding Steady in CFP Rankings

Christopher Walsh

With Oregon and Penn State both losing last week, Alabama's path to the College Football Playoff got a little easier assuming the Crimson Tide can still pull off a win against rival Auburn.

Following the 66-3 victory over Western Carolina, the selection committee kept Alabama at No. 5 heading into the final weekend of the regular season:

1 Ohio State (11-0) 

2 LSU (11-0)

3 Clemson (11-0) 

4 Georgia (10-1) 

5 Alabama (10-1) 

6 Utah (10-1) 

7 Oklahoma (10-1) 

8 Minnesota (10-1) 

9 Baylor (10-1) 

10 Penn State (9-2) 

11 Florida (9-2) 

12 Wisconsin (9-2) 

13 Michigan (9-2) 

14 Oregon (9-2) 

15 Auburn (8-3) 

16 Notre Dame (9-2) 

17 Iowa (8-3) 

18 Memphis (10-1) 

19 Cincinnati (10-1) 

20 Boise State (10-1) 

21 Oklahoma State (8-3) 

22 USC (8-4) 

23 Iowa State (7-4)

24 Virginia Tech (8-3) 

25 Appalachian State (10-1)

To make the playoff for the sixth straight year, Alabama has to win at No. 15 Auburn on Saturday (2:30 p.m. CBS), and for No. 4 Georgia to lose. It probably wouldn't hurt if No. 6 Utah and No. 7 Oklahoma lost as well. 

The Bulldogs (10-1) will play Georgia Tech, and then LSU in the SEC Championship Game. If Georgia wins both it'll almost certainly eliminate Alabama because it can't leapfrog LSU without a second loss by the Tigers.

Here's who the other contenders have left to play:

• LSU (11-0): vs. Texas A&M, No. 4 Georgia in SEC Championship Game

• Ohio State (11-0): at No. 13 Michigan, vs. No. 8 Minnesota/No. 12 Wisconsin winner in Big Ten Championship Game

• Clemson (11-0): at South Carolina, vs. Virginia/No. 24 Virginia Tech winner in ACC Championship Game

• Utah (10-1):Colorado; with win vs. No. 14 Oregon in Pac-12 Championship Game

• Oklahoma (10-1): at No. 21 Oklahoma State, vs. No. 9 Baylor in Big 12 Championship Game

• Minnesota (10-1): No. 12 Wisconsin; with in vs. No. 1 Ohio State in Big Ten Championship Game 

• Baylor (10-1): at Kansas; vs. No. 7 Oklahoma in Big 12 Championship Game 

Here's what CFP committee chairman Rob Mullens had to say about No. 6 Utah and No. 7 Oklahoma:

"Obviously two very good teams. When you look at Utah, the strength of their defense, and then the experience at quarterback and running back, only loss being on the road to a 22nd ranked USC, where Zack Moss missed the majority of the game with an injury. And then Oklahoma obviously beat No. 9 Baylor on the road without CeeDee Lamb. They also have a win over ranked Iowa State, only loss to a close quality K-State team. 

And on Alabama and the gap with Utah and Oklahoma:

"We spent considerable time talking about four through six, four through nine. And again, we're comparing full resumes. There's not a metric for closeness. I mean, clearly the committee looks at Georgia with their three wins over top-16 teams, one of them on the road at Auburn, the strength of their defense consistently every week. Alabama has been dominant with the exception of the loss to LSU. We're aware of the injuries, as I've mentioned. And Utah, I think I've already mentioned only loss on the road to a ranked opponent when their running back missed the majority of the game."

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