We have a rock-solid top three in the College Football Playoff committee's rankings right now. If the season ended right now, Notre Dame would again have the fourth spot. Buuuut the season doesn't end right now.
Clemson hangs on at No. 1 despite Bama likely making it a closer one (due to having more wins against winning teams, the same number of ranked wins, and a 25-point deflation of former No. 17 Mississippi State), with the Tide and Ohio State looking to be easily in the top three for now as well. And if OSU beats No. 9 Michigan State next Saturday, that can only firm things up.
Those three are win-and-in, and I think their likely conference title game counterparts are as well. Assuming no upsets* for that group, the fourth spot looks like it'll be the one with all the drama, just like last year and just like the last couple decades would've produced with a Playoff. If it comes down to a one-loss Notre Dame and a non-undefeated Big 12 champ, I think the Irish will have the better committee argument, but that's a long way away.
* Somebody's gonna catch an upset. This season's been way too quiet at the top.
Here's the new top 25 in full:
|Playoff committee ranking (last week)||S&P+ ranking||Best win, per S&P+||Worst loss, per S&P+||If the season ended today|
|1||Clemson (10-0)||1||Notre Dame||Orange Bowl vs. Notre Dame|
|2||Alabama (9-1)||2||LSU||Ole Miss||Cotton Bowl vs. Ohio State|
|3||Ohio State (10-0)||3||Penn State||Cotton Bowl vs. Alabama|
|4||Notre Dame (9-1)||6||USC||at Clemson||Orange Bowl vs. Clemson|
|5||Iowa (10-0)||28||at Wisconsin||Rose Bowl vs. Stanford|
|6 (8)||Oklahoma State (10-0)||20||TCU||New Year's bowl, perhaps Sugar|
|7 (12)||Oklahoma (9-1)||4||at Baylor||Texas||New Year's bowl, perhaps Sugar|
|8 (11)||Florida (9-1)||10||Ole Miss||at LSU||Sugar Bowl vs. Big 12|
|9 (13)||Michigan State (9-1)||27||at Michigan||at Nebraska||Fiesta or Peach|
|10 (6)||Baylor (8-1)||7||West Virginia||Oklahoma||Fiesta or Peach|
|11 (7)||Stanford (8-2)||15||at USC||at Northwestern||Rose Bowl vs. Iowa|
|12 (14)||Michigan (8-2)||5||BYU||Michigan State|
|13 (10)||Utah (8-2)||31||Michigan||at Arizona|
|14 (16)||Florida State (8-2)||8||NC State||at Georgia Tech|
|15 (9)||LSU (7-2)||13||Florida||Arkansas|
|16 (20)||Navy (8-1)||12||at Memphis||at Notre Dame||Fiesta or Peach|
|17 (23)||North Carolina (9-1)||30||at Pittsburgh||vs. South Carolina|
|18 (15)||TCU (9-1)||29||West Virginia||at Oklahoma State|
|19 (24)||Houston (10-0)||37||at Louisville|
|20 (18)||Northwestern (8-2)||58||Stanford||Iowa|
|21||Memphis (8-2)||34||Ole Miss||at Houston|
|22 (NR)||Ole Miss (7-3)||9||at Alabama||at Memphis|
|23 (NR)||Oregon (7-3)||43||at Stanford||Washington State|
|24 (NR)||USC (7-3)||11||Utah||Washington|
|25||Wisconsin (8-2)||18||at Illinois||Iowa|
This is an updated version of a preview story published earlier Tuesday.
Here's the SB Nation Selection Committee's top four, which turned out the same as the Playoff committee's: