No change came to the top five of the College Football Playoff rankings this week since none of the teams lost during “Rivalry Week.”
Clemson remains the top team in the nation followed by Alabama, Oklahoma and Iowa. Michigan State sits at number five, making conference championship games a must win for any of these teams to keep their national championship hopes alive. The exception is Oklahoma, which won the Big 12 regular season title; that league does not have a conference championship game.
The marquee match up this week will be the Big Ten championship game where Iowa will take on Michigan State with the winner likely securing a spot in the college football playoffs.
Iowa finished the regular season 12-0 for the first time in program history, but ESPNU College Football Analyst Charles Arbuckle says the Hawkeyes should be worried about this game since they haven’t had to face the toughest opponents in the Big Ten until now.
Alabama and Clemson have their own championship games to worry about, but both teams are favored to win their respective games. The Crimson Tide take on the Florida Gators, who just lost to Florida State 27-2, and are a 17.5 point favorite. A win in Atlanta would easily secure a spot for Alabama in the playoffs and make them the only SEC team with a shot at the national championship.
Clemson hopes to win the ACC title as they face the 10th ranked Tar Heels. North Carolina has won 11 straight games and will need to knock off the top seeded Tigers for any shot at the college football playoffs.
Teams that are just outside the top five looking for some upsets this week include number six Ohio State, number seven Stanford, and eighth ranked Notre Dame. Ohio State could defend its national title if either Clemson or Alabama lose this Saturday.
Florida State moves up four spots and checks in at number nine followed by TCU. Florida is 18th. LSU is ranked again this week at number 21 after defeating Texas A&M in what was supposed to be Les Miles’ last game. Tennessee rounds out the rankings at number 25 and is the fifth SEC team ranked.
The final college football playoff rankings will be this Sunday on ESPN at 12 p.m. ET.