#25 – Appalachian State (10-1, LW: 24)
Appalachian State took care of business this week, but they’ll be passed by Virginia Tech.
#24 – Virginia Tech (8-3, LW: NR)
Virginia Tech has looked dominant in recent weeks, crushing Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh by a combined score of 73-0, and with a win over rival Virginia this week they’ll likely be off to the Orange Bowl.
#23 – Iowa State (7-4, LW: 22)
The Cyclones struggled with Kansas this week and will get jumped by USC.
#22 – USC (8-4, LW: 23)
USC’s win over Utah is looking better and better, and the Trojans are technically still alive for a Rose Bowl bid, a Colorado win over the Utes this week would send the Trojans to the Pac-12 title game.
#21 – Oklahoma State (8-3, LW: 21)
Oklahoma State has won four in a row, next up: a shot at Oklahoma.
#20 – Boise State (10-1, LW: 20)
Boise State has struggled a little in recent weeks, but they dominated Utah State to get to the Mountain West title game, where they’ll face Hawai’i in two weeks, they’ll need Cincinnati and Memphis to split to make it to the New Year’s Six.
#19 – Cincinnati (10-1, LW: 19)
The Bearcats look really shaky right now, but they still control their own destiny to the New Year’s Six.
#18 – Memphis (10-1, LW: 18)
Memphis continues to dominate and I feel very comfortable calling them the G5’s best team, beat Cincinnati the next two weeks, and they’ll lock up a Cotton Bowl bid.
#17 – Iowa (8-3, LW: 17)
Iowa had a little trouble with a decent Illinois team, but with all three losses to higher-ranked teams, they’ll continue to be high for a three-loss team.
#16 – Oregon (9-2, LW: 6)
I expect Oregon to drop quite a lot after the loss to Arizona State, but the Ducks still control their own destiny to a Rose Bowl bid.
#15 – Notre Dame (9-2, LW: 16)
Notre Dame probably needs some help to make it to the New Year’s Six, but they’ll need to beat Stanford this week first.
#14 – Auburn (8-3, LW: 15)
Auburn probably could sneak into the New Year’s Six and spoil their rival’s playoff chances with a win against Alabama this week.
#13 – Baylor (10-1, LW: 14)
The Bears bounced back to beat Texas this week, and I don’t think a playoff bid is *completely* dead, although they’ll need massive amounts of help.
#12 – Michigan (9-2, LW: 13)
Michigan looks to be playing great football right now, and a win over Ohio State this week would put them on a path to the Rose Bowl.
#11 – Wisconsin (9-2, LW: 12)
Wisconsin still controls their own destiny to the Rose Bowl, but beating Minnesota and Ohio State in back-to-back weeks is a tough ask.
#10 – Florida (9-2, LW: 11)
This team is assured a New Year’s Six spot if they win this week, their second under Dan Mullen in as many years, not a bad start.
#9 – Penn State (9-2, LW: 8)
A road loss by 11 to Ohio State won’t drop the Nittany Lions far. A Rose Bowl isn’t out of the question, Penn State would likely need Ohio State to beat Michigan and then Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game.
#8 – Minnesota (10-1, LW: 10)
The Gophers have slid off the national radar a little bit but beat Wisconsin this week and then Ohio State in the Big Ten title game and this team is in the playoff. The Gophers are likely one of only five teams (the other being the top four) that can with 100% certainty say they control their own destiny.
#7 – Oklahoma (10-1, LW: 9)
The Sooners have hardly been impressive in recent weeks, struggling with TCU and Iowa State. A win over Oklahoma State this week and then Baylor in the Big 12 title game would give the Sooners a shot at a playoff spot, but they’d need some help.
#6 – Utah (10-1, LW: 7)
Utah has looked dominant recently, but Oregon’s loss to Arizona State this week means that the potential win the Utes would score over the Ducks in the Pac-12 title game means a lot less. I still think the Utes make it if they win out, but I’m a lot less confident now.
#5 – Alabama (10-1, LW: 5)
Alabama now has to sit back and wait. Beat Auburn this week, hope you can stave off Utah and Oklahoma in the final rankings, and this team could still make the playoff without quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
#4 – Georgia (10-1, LW: 4)
Georgia picked up a resume booster against Texas A&M this week, but the playoff spot will ultimately come down to a matchup with #1 LSU in the SEC title game.
#3 – Clemson (11-0, LW: 3)
Clemson still has no wins over a ranked team, but they’ll hold onto the #3 spot.
#2 – Ohio State (11-0, LW: 2)
The Buckeyes have a great resume, and the win over Penn State only adds to it. I still think LSU stays #1, but should the Buckeyes beat Michigan this week they could pass the Tigers for the top spot.
#1 – LSU (11-0, LW: 1)
After looking a little shaky early, LSU dominated Arkansas. The Tigers have a sneaky good Texas A&M team this week and will then square off with Georgia in the SEC title game, but the resume is good enough that they should make the playoff even if they split the two games.