Ohio State leaped LSU as the No. 1 team in this week’s edition of the College Football Playoff rankings after defeating Penn State on Saturday. The Buckeyes return to the top spot, where they debuted in the season’s first edition of the CFP rankings before dropping to No. 2 the last two weeks.
The rest of the top five remained unchanged, with No. 2 LSU followed by Clemson at No. 3, Georgia at No. 4 and Alabama rounding out the group.
Oregon (9-2) fell from No. 6 to No. 14 after an upset loss at Arizona State on Saturday night. Utah moved up one into the No. 6 spot, followed by Oklahoma at 7, Minnesota at 8, Baylor at 9 and Penn State rounding out the top 10.
LSU, which had been the top team in the past two rankings, dropped a spot by no fault of its own. The Tigers improved to 11-0 with an emphatic 56-20 win over Arkansas. But the committee determined that Ohio State’s 28-17 win over a Penn State team that was ranked No. 6 at the time with a 9-1 record, was enough to bump the undefeated Buckeyes up to the top spot.
CFP Selection Committee Chair Rob Mullens said Ohio State’s defense makes it the more complete team.
“Ohio State’s been a complete team, and that win over Penn State was their third win against teams that we currently have ranked in the top 19,” Mullens said. “Ohio State’s been really good on both sides of the ball.
“They’re obviously both very good on the offensive side. And this week the committee felt that that win over Penn State again solidified that Ohio State’s a little better on the defensive side of the ball.”
Clemson, like Ohio State and LSU, remains undefeated after having the weekend off.
Georgia’s offense struggled, but the Bulldogs persevered to improved to 10-1 with a 19-13 win over Texas A&M. Alabama, in its first game since losing quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to season-ending hip surgery, rolled in a 66-3 win over Western Carolina. New starter Mac Jones completed 10-of-12 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns.
The fifth and penultimate reveal of the CFP rankings is set for Dec. 3. The final rankings, which will reveal the New Year’s Six teams and set the field for the College Football Playoff, is Dec. 8.
With games against ranked conference rivals Saturday, Ohio State and Alabama will be perhaps the most tested top-five teams in the regular season’s final games before conference championships. The Buckeyes visit No. 13 Michigan, and the Tide travel to No. 15 Auburn for the annual “Iron Bowl.”
LSU hosts Texas A&M on Saturday, Clemson visits South Carolina and Georgia plays at Georgia Tech.
Minnesota, which hosts No. 12 Wisconsin on Saturday, has an outside shot at the CFP with a win. The Gophers would play Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game and the Allstate Playoff Predictor gives them a 48% chance to reach the playoff with a win in that scenario.