Roll Tide -- all the way to No. 1.
Following its win over Mississippi State -- currently the best win in the country -- Alabama ascended to No. 1 in the latest ranking by the College Football Playoff’s 12-member selection committee.
The Crimson Tide jumped No. 2 Oregon, No. 3 Florida State and No. 4 Mississippi State, which remained one of the top four teams in the country in spite of its loss. For the second time this season, the committee has placed more than one team from the SEC West in its top four.
Here’s what the bracket would look like today:
Beyond the top four, there were some perplexing moves made by the committee. Among the more eyebrow-raising decisions:
Undefeated Marshall is still unranked after its biggest win of the season, yet No. 25 Minnesota, which just lost at home, is still No. 25.
Louisville, USC, Missouri and Oklahoma -- all unranked a week ago -- are ranked again.
USC climbed to No. 19 on the back of a home win over 5-5 California.
Clemson, in spite of a convincing 28-6 loss to Georgia Tech in which it was held to 190 total yards and had three turnovers, only dropped three spots.
Utah jumped from No. 23 to No. 17 after a double-overtime win against five-loss Stanford, and still has a home loss to Washington State on its resume.
One of the biggest movers was LSU, which dropped from No. 17 out of the ranking after it was shut out at Arkansas. Arizona State dropped seven spots after an embarrassing loss to Oregon State. Georgia moved up five spots after thumping Auburn 34-7, and Wisconsin jumped from No. 20 to No. 16 after beating Nebraska. That bodes well for Ohio State’s playoff hopes, should the Buckeyes and Badgers meet in the Big Ten title game.
As for the other major bowls, here’s a projection based on the current rankings:
The Orange Bowl lost the ACC champion (FSU) so it gets the next highest-ranked ACC team, No. 18 Georgia Tech. Then the Orange selects the next highest-ranked non-conference champion team from the Big Ten, SEC or Notre Dame. By contract, displaced conference champs from the SEC and Big Ten don't go to the Orange Bowl. That would pit the Yellow Jackets against No. 8 Ole Miss.
Here’s what New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day could look like, based on today’s ranking:
12:30 p.m. ET, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: No. 10 Georgia vs. Marshall
4 p.m. ET, VIZIO Fiesta Bowl: No. 7 Baylor vs. No. 9 UCLA
8 p.m. ET, Capital One Orange Bowl: No. 18 Georgia Tech vs. No. 8 Ole Miss
12:30 p.m. ET, Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: No. 5 TCU vs. No. 6 Ohio State
5 p.m. ET, Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual: No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 3 Florida State
8:30 p.m. ET, Allstate Sugar Bowl: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Mississippi State
Marshall is still projected in a New Year’s Six bowl even though it didn’t crack the selection committee’s top 25. If a Group of 5 conference champion does not play its way into the ranking by Dec. 7, the committee will evaluate all five conference champions before selecting one for a New Year’s Six bowl.