New CFP rankings are set up for a very intense finish

With only one team in the CFP Top 10 losing last week (Ole Miss), no changes at the top were expected when the new rankings were released Tuesday night.

There weren’t. The top seven from a week ago stayed the same. But this much is clear: The final two weeks of the regular season are going to be intense.

Here is a look at the new CFP Top 10 and what it will take for each team to get to the four-team playoff:

1) Alabama (10-1):  Alabama has to win Saturday at home against Auburn (8-3), which will put the Crimson Tide into the SEC Championship game against No. 9 Georgia (9-2) or No. 17 Missouri (9-2). Win at the Georgia Dome and Alabama is in the playoffs as the No. 1 seed.

2) Oregon (10-1): Oregon goes to Oregon State (5-6) on Saturday and has already locked up a spot in the Pac-12 championship game against UCLA, Arizona or Arizona State.  Beat Oregon State and win the Pac-12 title game and the Ducks are in as the No. 2 seed.

3) Florida State (11-0): The Seminoles get Florida (6-4) at home on Saturday and will then play Georgia Tech (9-2) in the ACC title game. Finish 13-0 and Florida State will be in. Lose and the ‘Noles, who could have lost in six different tight games, are likely out.

4) Mississippi State (10-1): Now it gets interesting. The Bulldogs stayed at No. 4 after a 51-0 victory against Vanderbilt and now must win at No. 19 Ole Miss (8-3) on Saturday. If Alabama loses to Auburn then Mississippi State gets to the SEC Championship game where a victory would definitely put the Bulldogs in. If they don’t get to the Dome, will 11-1 with no conference title be enough to stay at No. 4?

5) TCU (9-1): The Horned Frogs have to win at Texas (6-5) on Thursday and Iowa State (2-8) on Dec. 6 in Fort Worth but it may not be enough. TCU’s less stressful road would be for Baylor to lose to Kansas State on Dec.  6.

6) Ohio State (10-1): The Buckeyes should cruise on Saturday against Michigan (5-6) and then get Wisconsin (9-2) or Minnesota (8-3) in the Big Ten championship game. Could a 12-1 Big Ten champ jump ahead of Mississippi State, Baylor and TCU, all at 11-1?

7) Baylor (9-1):  The Bears have to beat Texas Tech in Arlington on Saturday, and No. 12 Kansas State at home on Dec. 6. Then they have to hope that the head-to-head victory against TCU (61-58) is enough to jump TCU and a 12-1 Ohio State into the Top 4.

8) UCLA (9-2): UCLA was impressive in beating Southern California 38-20 last Saturday and jumped from No. 9 to No. 8. If UCLA beats Stanford at home on Friday the Bruins advance to the Pac-12 championship where they will get a second shot at Oregon. UCLA lost at home to Oregon (42-30) on Oct. 11.

9) Georgia (9-2):  The Bulldogs need a lot of help. They need Missouri (9-2) to lose at home to Arkansas (6-5) on Friday and then beat No. 16 Georgia Tech at home on Saturday. Georgia would then have a shot against No. 1 Alabama or No. 4 Mississippi State in the SEC title game. Would an 11-2 SEC champion that beat No. 1 Alabama get in over a one-loss Ohio State or Big 12 champ? That is the question the committee would have to answer.

10) Michigan State (9-2):  The Spartans can’t get there even though their losses are to No. 2 Oregon and No. 6 Ohio State. Michigan State closes out the season at Penn State and will be a strong candidate for one of the remaining big bowls in the CFP, possibly the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.


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