After enduring tough games against unranked opponents, the top four teams in the College Football Playoff rankings remained intact Tuesday night, with LSU finishing one spot ahead of USC at No. 5.
Georgia topped the CFP selection committee rankings for the third straight week, followed by Ohio State at No. 2, Michigan at No. 3 and TCU at No. 4. Both the Buckeyes and Wolverines, who play in Columbus next Saturday, are late. before maintaining their unbeaten run in the second half of last week. Michigan and TKU needed late field goals to hold off Illinois and Baylor, respectively.
LSU’s 41-10 win over UAB at Tiger Stadium wasn’t enough to overcome 2-loss UCLA. Lincoln Riley’s squad was ranked No. 5 in the AP and coaches polls Sunday, USC’s first AP top-five finish since September 2017. The Trojans’ only loss came against Utah by one point, dropping them to 14th place. After losing to Oregon State.
“That’s been the dominant conversation for the last couple of days,” NC State athletic director and CFP committee chairman Boo Corrigan said of ESPN’s selection. No. 5. “USC has a reason to be in the 5, LSU has a reason to be in the 5.”
Last week, No. 5 Tennessee dropped to No. 10 after a 63-38 loss to South Carolina.
LSU closes out the regular season at Texas A&M before facing Georgia in the SEC title game. USC hosts Notre Dame this week and moves up three spots to No. 15 in the selection committee rankings. Oregon, which moved up three spots to No. 9 after its win over Utah, can clinch a spot in Las Vegas by defeating No. 21 Oregon State at home, but the Trojans’ Pac-12 championship opponent will be determined next weekend.
A loss to Oregon this week would open the door for 13th-ranked Washington and Utah to claim the Pac-12 title.
Alabama and Clemson are both ranked 7th and 8th. Clemson won’t host ranked South Carolina on Saturday, but has wins over Florida State and No. 16 Louisville, which moved up three spots. , which ranked 25th. Clemson heads into the ACC title game against North Carolina, falling just four spots to No. 17 after Saturday’s 4-6 loss to Georgia Tech.
“You’re looking at football judgment, that game against Notre Dame … it’s still part of the discussion,” Corrigan said of the Tigers’ 35-14 loss to the Irish. “In general, we’ve seen seven at Alabama and eight at Clemson.”
TCU, which hosts Iowa State on Saturday, will face either No. 12 Kansas State or No. 23 Texas in next week’s Big 12 title game. Kansas State, which moved up three spots in Tuesday’s rankings, will move up one spot with a win over Kansas. If Kansas State falls, if they beat Baylor, Texas will go.
“We go through the same thing every week,” Corrigan said. “TCU did a really good job of finding ways to win games.”
After a home win over SMU and Navy’s loss at UCF, Tulane is once again the 19th highest ranked team in the 5. The Green Wave will visit No. 24 Cincinnati on Friday, and the winner will host next week’s American Athletic Conference championship game. The winner of Tulane-Cincinnati could end up in the title matchup, but No. 22 UCF and Houston could also be in the game.