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College Football Playoff Rankings: TCU enters the top four

The third edition of the rankings has a representative from four different conferences.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

In the third rankings released by the Playoff committee, four different conferences were represented in the football final four. Guess which league was left out: the B1G! Womp, womp. Not all is lost, however. Ohio State makes a big jump into the top ten at #8, and if the Buckeyes win out, they'll have a good chance at making the cut.

There is a huge matchup this weekend in Tuscaloosa, as #1 Mississippi State visits #5 Alabama for a possible claim to the top spot. If the Bulldogs lose, it's not a given that they drop out of the top four. If the Crimson Tide lose at home, it is likely a death knell for Nick Saban. Beyond those two teams, the SEC really doesn't have a lot of options left, as Ole Miss is all the way back at #10. The Rebels could have a chance if they win out and beat handily a hot #15 Georgia team (especially if Todd Gurley is back), but it's unlikely.

Meanwhile, the Pac-12 and Big 12 have a lot of season left to decide the winner of each conference, and therefore the possible rep for the Playoff. #2 Oregon is in the lead out west, but #6 Arizona State isn't far behind. If those two teams win out to make the Pac-12 Championship, the winner is likely headed for a Playoff game. Meanwhile, #4 TCU and  #7 Baylor could make things complicated for the committee. Baylor has the head-to-head win over the Horned Frogs, but TCU is ranked higher and has a win over currently #25 Minnesota. If both teams win out, it'll be interesting to see who the committee chooses for the Playoff.

And of course, there's #3 Florida State. A berth for the Seminoles seems all but decided, as the schedule is fairly weak going forward, including whoever wins the Coastal division.

Rank Team Last week Week 11 result Toughest opponent left (per F/+) If the season ended today ...
1 Mississippi State (9-0) 1 Won 45-16 vs. Tennessee-Martin Alabama Sugar Bowl vs. TCU
2 Oregon (9-1) 4 Won 51-27 at No. 17 Utah Oregon State Rose Bowl vs. Florida State
3 Florida State (9-0) 2 Won 34-20 vs. Virginia Miami Rose Bowl vs. Oregon
4 TCU (8-1) 6 Won 41-20 vs. No. 7 Kansas State Texas Sugar Bowl vs. Mississippi State
5 Alabama (8-1) 5 Won 20-13 (OT) at No. 16 LSU Auburn Orange Bowl vs. Clemson
6 Arizona State (8-1) 14 Won 55-31 vs. No. 10 Notre Dame Arizona New Year's bowl
7 Baylor (8-1) 13 Won 48-14 at No. 15 Oklahoma Kansas State New Year's bowl
8 Ohio State (8-1) 14 Won 49-37 at No. 8 Michigan State Minnesota New Year's bowl
9 Auburn (7-2) 3 Lost 41-38 vs. Texas A&M Alabama New Year's bowl
10 Ole Miss (8-2) 12 Won 48-0 vs. Presbyterian Mississippi State New Year's bowl
11 UCLA (8-2) 18 Won 44-30 at Washington USC New Year's bowl
12 Michigan State (7-2) 8 Lost 49-37 vs. No. 14 Ohio State Maryland
13 Kansas State (7-2) 7 Lost 41-20 at No. 6 TCU Baylor
14 Arizona (7-2) 19 Won 38-20 vs. Colorado Arizona State
15 Georgia (7-2) 20 Won 63-31 at Kentucky Auburn
16 Nebraska (8-1) 13 Idle Wisconsin
17 LSU (7-3) 16 Lost 20-13 (OT) vs. No. 5 Alabama Arkansas
18 Notre Dame (7-2) 10 Lost 55-31 at No. 9 Arizona State Louisville
19 Clemson (7-2) 21 Won 34-20 at Wake Forest Georgia Tech Orange Bowl vs. Alabama
20 Wisconsin (7-2) 25 Won 34-16 at Purdue Nebraska
21 Duke (8-1) 22 Won 27-10 at Syracuse Virginia Tech
22 Georgia Tech (8-2) 24 Won 56-23 at NC State Georgia
23 Utah (6-3) 17 Lost 51-27 vs. No. 4 Oregon Arizona
24 Texas A&M (7-3) NR Won 41-38 at No. 3 Auburn LSU
25 Minnesota (7-2) NR Won 51-14 vs. Iowa Ohio State

For reference, here is this week's AP, USA Today Coaches', and Computer composite polls to compare the playoff committee's rankings:

AP Coaches Computer composite
1 Mississippi State Mississippi State Alabama
2 Florida State Florida State Mississippi St
3 Oregon Alabama Auburn
4 Alabama Oregon Ole Miss
6 Baylor Baylor Oregon
7 Arizona State Ohio State Florida State
8 Ohio State Arizona State Baylor
9 Auburn Auburn Ohio State
10 Ole Miss Ole Miss Georgia
11 Nebraska Nebraska LSU
12 Michigan State Michigan State Arizona State
13 Kansas State Kansas State Kansas State
14 UCLA Georgia Michigan State
15 Notre Dame UCLA Nebraska
16 Georgia Notre Dame Oklahoma
17 Arizona Clemson UCLA
18 Clemson Arizona Clemson
19 Duke Duke Notre Dame
20 LSU LSU Marshall
21 Marshall Marshall Wisconsin
22 Wisconsin Wisconsin Texas A&M
23 Colorado State Georgia Tech Arizona State
24 Georgia Tech Oklahoma USC
25 Utah Colorado State Duke
For a composite Top 25 ranking, visit