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College Football Playoff Rankings: Penn State, Oklahoma inch up as first seven teams in CFP top 25 hold - CBS Sports

The third edition of the College Football Playoff Rankings has been released, and LSU remains in the top spot following an easy win over Ole Miss. Ohio State, which plays No. 8 Penn State this Saturday, is still second, followed by No. 3 Clemson, No. 4 Georgia and No. 5 Alabama, all in the same order they were last week. If Ohio State does to Penn State what it has done to everyone it has played this season and completely dominates the Nittany Lions, the CFP Selection Committee will find it hard to justify keeping the Buckeyes below the Tigers again next week. Ohio State has yet to win by fewer than 24 points this season.

The committee did not move Alabama based on the injury to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, which is correct based on what the committee is trying to do. It is ranking teams based solely on what they have done so far. The Crimson Tide may yet struggle without Tagovailoa running the offense, but the committee is not trying to predict what will happen. Its job is hard enough as it is.

Oregon remains in the No. 6 spot after a 34-6 win over Arizona. Utah, which has been joined at the hip with the Ducks through the first three weeks, is still right behind at No. 7 following a 49-3 victory over UCLA. Both Pac-12 teams get a little bit of a boost this week with the addition of USC to the CFP Rankings. The Trojans, which have played a strong schedule this season, debut at No. 23. USC got blown out by Oregon at home on Nov. 2, but USC is also the only team to beat Utah so far.

Penn State is No. 8, up one spot, after a 34-27 win over Indiana. This is despite having a better overall schedule, better wins and a better loss than each of the Pac-12 teams. All of the Nittany Lions' games against their tougher opponents have been close games though, and style points matter. Oklahoma only moved up to No. 9 after its dramatic, come-from-behind win at Baylor. That is the highest-ranked team defeated by the OU, Oregon or Utah. However, the Sooners also have the worst loss of the three and have looked shaky of late. And at the risk of repeating myself, style points matter. The Bears only dropped one spot to No. 14 following the loss.

No. 10 Minnesota was not treated too harshly by the committee after a 23-19 loss at Iowa. Not that it really matters if the committee was harsh. If Minnesota wins at Northwestern, at home against Wisconsin and over Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game, the Gophers are playoff bound. Minnesota is the lowest-rated team that can say it will be in the playoff if it wins out.

Let's take a look at the entire CFP Rankings top 25. Further analysis is below the rankings.

College Football Playoff Rankings, Nov. 19

  1. LSU (10-0)
  2. Ohio State (10-0)
  3. Clemson (11-0)
  4. Georgia (10-1)
  5. Alabama (9-1)
  6. Oregon (9-1) 
  7. Utah (9-1)
  8. Penn State (9-1)
  9. Oklahoma (9-1)
  10. Minnesota (9-1)
  11. Florida (9-2)
  12. Wisconsin (8-2)
  13. Michigan (8-2)
  14. Baylor (9-1)
  15. Auburn (7-3)
  16. Notre Dame (8-2)
  17. Iowa (7-3)
  18. Memphis (9-1)
  19. Cincinnati (9-1)
  20. Boise State (9-1)
  21. Oklahoma State (7-3)
  22. Iowa State (6-4)
  23. USC (7-4)
  24. Appalachian State (9-1)
  25. SMU (9-1)

Of note farther down the list, Memphis is now the highest-rated team from the Group of Five after a 45-27 win at Houston. The Tigers swapped places with Cincinnati, which needed a last-second field goal to escape South Florida with a 20-17 victory. Stop me if you have heard this one before: style points matter. Those two teams will face each other in Memphis to end the regular season and could meet again the following week in the AAC Championship Game.

Also from the AAC, SMU is back in the rankings at No. 25, one spot behind Appalachian State, which replaced the Mustangs in the rankings last week because SMU had a too close win over East Carolina As I have said before … well, you know.

Iowa State is also new to the rankings this week at No. 22, replacing Texas, which the Cyclones beat 23-21 on a last-second field goal.

Remember: The playoff does not start today, and the season can get wacky over the final couple of weeks. All four spots in the field remain up for grabs with rivalry games and top 25 showdowns ahead down the stretch of the 2019 season.


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