College Football Playoff rankings: Top six remain same, UGA slips to No. 9

The top six teams in the College Football Playoff selection committee’s rankings remain unchanged this week.

The latest rankings, released Tuesday night, have Alabama No. 1, Notre Dame No. 2, Clemson No. 3 and Ohio State No. 4, keeping those teams in the lead for spots in the four-team playoff.

Just outside the top four, also the same as last week, are No. 5 Texas A&M and No. 6 Florida.

The selection committee made some changes in the seventh, eighth and ninth positions. Iowa State moved up two spots to No. 7, becoming the highest-ranked two-loss team. Cincinnati, last week’s No. 7 team, dropped to No. 8. Georgia, last week’s No. 8, slipped to No. 9.

“It was less about moving Cincinnati down and more about the committee being impressed with what Iowa State has been doing,” selection committee chairman Gary Barta said of the change at No. 7.

Unbeaten Coastal Carolina advanced five spots to No. 13 after a win over previously undefeated BYU. Missouri, which plays Georgia on Saturday, moved into the rankings at No. 25.

The rankings were unveiled hours after Ohio State’s scheduled game against rival Michigan on Saturday was canceled because of COVID-19 cases within the Wolverines’ program, leaving the Buckeyes ineligible – at least for now -- to play in the Big Ten Championship game.

Ohio State (5-0) is one game short of the six-game minimum set by the Big Ten to be eligible for the league title game. The league could consider changing that benchmark.

Although a conference championship isn’t a prerequisite to make the College Football Playoff, it is one of the selection committee’s considerations. And while the CFP has no predetermined minimum number of games a team must play to reach the playoff, “it is absolutely something we have to talk about and have to consider … because the more games we’re able to watch, the more we’re able to evaluate a team,” Barta said last week.

He wouldn’t speculate Tuesday night on how the cancellation of the Michigan game might affect Ohio State in subsequent rankings.

“From the committee’s vantage point, we resist looking ahead,” he said. “We’ve seen Ohio State play five games. Based on that performance, we put them in the fourth spot. And we’ll just wait and see.”

Despite the stability at the top of the rankings, the top three teams will face challenges before the committee sets the playoff field Dec. 20. Alabama will play Florida in the SEC Championship game, while Notre Dame and Clemson will meet in the ACC title game, both Dec. 19.