As expected, Georgia used its 27-13 win over Tennessee last Saturday to jump from No. 3 to No. 1 in the latest set of rankings released by the College Football Playoff selection committee Tuesday night.
So the road for the Bulldogs (9-0), the defending national champions, is clear: Win their final three regular-season games with Mississippi State, Kentucky, and Georgia Tech and then win the SEC championship game, and the Bulldogs will be the No. 1 seed in College Football Playoffs.
Also, as expected, Ohio State (9-0) remained at No. 2 followed by No. 3 Michigan (9-0). The Big-Ten teams play each other on Nov. 6 in Columbus, Ohio.
After that things look really interesting as losses by No. 1 Tennessee (to Georgia), No. 4 Clemson (to Notre Dame) and No. 6 Alabama (to LSU) has reshuffled the rankings and created a lot of possibilities.
TCU (9-0) jumped three spots from No. 7 to No. 4. The Horned Frogs have three Big 12 games remaining against No. 18 Texas this Saturday, Baylor and Iowa State. If TCU wins out and wins the Big 12 championship it could expect to make the four-team playoff.
Tennessee (8-1) dropped from No. 1 to No. 5 but remains in an interesting position. The Volunteers, who have big wins over LSU (40-13) and Alabama (52-49) have a chance to finish strong with games against Missouri (4-5), South Carolina (6-3), and Vanderbilt (3-8). Should Tennessee win impressively against those three opponents and with its only loss being at No. 1 Georgia, the Volunteers could lay claim as the top one-loss team in the country,
Also consider that No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan play in Columbus, on Nov. 26. So at least one team ranked above Tennessee is going to lose.
But the most intriguing team in the new playoff rankings is LSU (7-2), which upset Alabama 32-31 last Saturday night in Baton Rouge. LSU’s only SEC loss was to Tennessee (40-13). It has a non-conference loss to Florida State (24-23) in the season opener in New Orleans.
If LSU wins its last three games at Arkansas, at home with UAB, and at Texas A&M, the Tigers will advance to the SEC championship game, most likely against No. 1 Georgia. If LSU upsets Georgia, the selection committee will have some very tough decisions to make:
**--Does LSU become the first-ever two-loss team to make the CFP? It’s hard to imagine the SEC champion getting left out.
**--What to do with Georgia, which has been No. 1 just about all season? Georgia lost in the SEC championship game to Alabama last season but still made the playoffs. The Bulldogs went on to win the national championship?
**--If LSU and Georgia are both in, then what does the committee do with Tennessee, which could be No. 4 going into championship Saturday?
The committee has put two teams from the SEC in the playoff twice (2017, 2021). But what would the fallout be if the committee put three SEC teams in? It would surely hasten the day that we have a 12-team playoff.
Another team to keep an eye on moving forward is No. 6 Oregon (8-1), whose only loss was to Georgia (49-3) way back on Sept. 3 in Atlanta. The Ducks have been playing at a very high level under Bo Nix, the transfer quarterback from Auburn. If Oregon wins out and wins the Pac-12 championship, would it be enough to jump over an 11-1 Tennessee will not have a conference championship on its resume?
Here are the Top 12 teams in the new CFP rankings with their remaining games:
1--Georgia (9-0): at Miss. State, at Kentucky, Georgia Tech
2—Ohio State (9-0): Indiana, at Maryland, vs. Michigan
3—Michigan (9-0): vs. Nebraska; vs. Illinois, at Ohio State
4—TCU (9-0): at Texas; at Baylor, Iowa State
5—Tennessee (8-1): vs. Missouri, at South Carolina, at Vanderbilt
6—Oregon (8-1): vs. Washington, vs. Utah, at Oregon State
7—LSU (7-2): at Arkansas; vs. UAB, at Texas A&M
8—USC (8-1): vs. Colorado; at UCLA, vs. Notre Dame
9—Alabama (7-2): at Ole Miss, Austin Peay, vs. Auburn
10—Clemson (8-1): vs. Louisville, vs. Miami, vs. South Carolina
11—Ole Miss (8-1): vs. Alabama, at Arkansas, vs. Miss. State
12—UCLA (8-1): vs. Arizona, vs. USC, at Colorado