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College Football Playoff Rankings: Alabama rises to #1 and Ohio State inches closer

You knew it was too good to be true for Nick Saban to stay down.

You can almost see a smile brewing there...
You can almost see a smile brewing there...
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The evil empire is back on top. The Crimson Tide were awarded the #1 ranking this week by the playoff committee for their emphatic win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs. State, meanwhile, drops to #4, so they still have a great chance at making the inaugural postseason four-team tournament if they win out. That would mean a matchup between Bama and Mississippi State. #2 Oregon and #3 Florida State held serve after the Ducks had a bye and FSU squeaked by a mediocre Miami Hurricanes team.

Just outside the top four are the #5 TCU Horned Frogs, who fall out of the final four from last week's rankings. The Big 12 could potentially have a very awkward situation if both TCU and the #7 Baylor Bears win out. TCU is currently ranked ahead of Baylor, but if both finish the season with one win, the official conference champion would be Baylor due to the head-to-head matchup.

Of course, both TCU and Baylor could be left out because...SURPRISE!!! The #6 Ohio State Buckeyes are very close to crashing the playoff party after the national audience left the B1G for dead once the #11 Michigan State Spartans lost on the road to Oregon. The Buckeyes will likely be 20-point favorites in their remaining games (Indiana and Michigan both at home), so a trip to the B1G Championship Game is all but decided. A win over a hot #16 Melvin Gordon Wisconsin Badgers team could propel OSU over the Big 12, which doesn't hold a championship game.

In the Pac-12, the last remaining hope is Oregon, although the #9 UCLA Bruins have the slightest of chances of making it in. They'll have to win out and beat a one-loss Ducks team in the Pac-12 championship to have any hope at all.

Rank Team Last week Week 12 result Toughest opponent left (per F/+) If the season ended today ...
1 Alabama (9-1) 5 Won 25-20 vs. No. 1 Mississippi State Auburn Sugar Bowl vs. Mississippi State
2 Oregon (9-1) 2 Idle Oregon State Rose Bowl vs. Florida State
3 Florida State (10-0) 3 Won 30-26 at Miami Boston College Rose Bowl vs. Oregon
4 Mississippi State (9-1) 1 Lost 25-20 at No. 5 Alabama Ole Miss Sugar Bowl vs. Alabama
5 TCU (9-1) 4 Won 34-30 at Kansas Texas New Year's bowl
6 Ohio State (9-1) 8 Won 31-24 at No. 25 Minnesota Michigan New Year's bowl
7 Baylor (8-1) 7 Idle Kansas State New Year's bowl
8 Ole Miss (8-2) 10 Idle Mississippi State Orange Bowl vs. Georgia Tech
9 UCLA (8-2) 11 Idle USC New Year's bowl
10 Georgia (8-2) 15 Won 34-7 vs. No. 9 Auburn Georgia Tech New Year's bowl
11 Michigan State (8-2) 12 Won 37-15 at Maryland Penn State New Year's bowl
12 Kansas State (7-2) 13 Idle Baylor
13 Arizona State (8-2) 6 Lost 35-27 at Oregon State Arizona
14 Auburn (7-3) 9 Lost 34-7 at No. 15 Georgia Alabama
15 Arizona (8-2) 14 Won 27-26 vs. Washington Arizona State
16 Wisconsin (8-2) 20 Won 59-24 vs. No. 16 Nebraska Minnesota
17 Utah (7-3) 23 Won 20-17 (2OT) at Stanford Arizona
18 Georgia Tech (9-2) 22 Won 28-6 vs. No. 19 Clemson Georgia Orange Bowl vs. Ole Miss
19 USC (7-3) NR Won 38-30 vs. Cal UCLA
20 Missouri (8-2) NR Won 34-27 at No. 24 Texas A&M Arkansas
21 Oklahoma (7-3) NR Won 42-30 at Texas Tech Oklahoma State
22 Clemson (7-3) 19 Lost 28-6 at No. 22 Georgia Tech South Carolina
23 Nebraska (8-2) 16 Lost 59-24 at No. 20 Wisconsin Minnesota
24 Louisville (7-3) NR Idle Notre Dame
25 Minnesota (7-3) 25 Lost 31-24 vs. No. 8 Ohio State Wisconsin

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

AP Coaches Massey composite
1 Florida State Florida State Alabama
2 Alabama Alabama Oregon
3 Oregon Oregon Ole Miss
4 Mississippi State Mississippi State Mississippi State
5 TCU TCU TCU
6 Baylor Baylor Florida State
7 Ohio State Ohio State Baylor
8 Ole Miss Ole Miss Ohio State
9 Georgia Michigan State Georgia
10 Michigan State Georgia Auburn
11 UCLA Kansas State UCLA
12 Kansas State UCLA Michigan State
13 Arizona State Arizona Kansas State
14 Wisconsin Arizona State Wisconsin
15 Arizona Wisconsin Oklahoma
16 Auburn Georgia Tech Arizona State
17 Georgia Tech Auburn Marshall
18 Marshall Marshall Georgia Tech
19 Missouri Nebraska Nebraska
20 Utah Missouri LSU
21 Nebraska Utah Arizona
22 Colorado State Oklahoma Missouri
23 Oklahoma Colorado State USC
24 USC USC Utah
25 Duke Duke Clemson
For a composite Top 25, visit SBNation.com