There were no changes to the top five in the College Football Playoff selection committee’s third ranking on Tuesday night, with No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Michigan, and No. 4 TCU holding steady as the only remaining undefeated nations teams, followed by No. 5 Tennessee.
After a 66–24 thump of unranked Missouri, the Vols remained the top ranked team with one commission loss, keeping them in contention for the playoffs without winning their division. Georgia has captured the SEC East and will face No. 6 LSU, the top-ranked team with two losses, in the SEC championship game. If LSU wins its conference, it could make history as the first two-loss team to reach the CFP.
Tennessee could become the fifth team to make the CFP without winning a conference title, and the third team not to win its division, joining 2016 Ohio State and 2017 Alabama. The SEC has allowed multiple teams to make the CFP twice — including last season when Georgia defeated Alabama to win the national title.
Without a conference championship, the Vols will receive more scrutiny from the selection committee and will count on impressive wins against Alabama and LSU to win a debate against a Power 5 conference champion.
USC (9-1) is now the top ranked team of the Pac-12 at No. 7 after Oregon lost to Washington on Saturday, dropping the Ducks to No. 12 by two losses. The Pac-12 has six teams ranked in the CFP top 25 with the addition of No. 23 Oregon State, including two in the top 10 (USC and No. 10 Utah).
USC can clinch a spot in the conference title game on Saturday with a victory over UCLA, and Oregon will take on Utah in another game that will help determine the Pac-12 championship contenders.
TCU clinched a place in the Big 12 championship game with its 17-10 victory in Texas, but the Longhorns fell from No. 18 out of the CFP top 25 with four losses this week. It helped the Horned Frogs beat No. 22 Oklahoma State re-ranked this week, giving TCU a second win against a ranked opponent, along with No. 15 Kansas State.
There are three more rankings, including the announcement of the final top 25 on Selection Day on 4 December. No team has been ranked outside the top 10 by the commission at this point in the season and has still made the CFP. The lowest was Michigan State in 2015 and Oklahoma in 2019, when both ranked ninth.
Alabama with two losses is No. 8 this week, ahead of No. 9 Clemson with one loss, who will play No. 13 North Carolina in the ACC Championship.
Following the 38-31 win at Tulane, No. 20 UCF is the leader of the Group of 5 earning a bid for a New Year’s Six bowl as the highest ranked conference champion, followed by No. 21 Tulane.