Below, what each Playoff-ranked team got up to this weekend. The Playoff committee will update its rankings Tuesday night.
Gaining ground (if not necessarily rankings)
No. 1 Clemson, 23-13 W vs. No. 16 Florida State: The Tigers can't move up in the rankings this week, obviously, but they did put a cherry on top of their whole situation and perhaps guard against the LSU-Bama winner overtaking them this week.
No. 4 Alabama, 30-16 W vs. No. 2 LSU: Not only will the completely suffocating win surely move Bama up to at least No. 3, the Tide now control their own course in the SEC West thanks to Ole Miss falling behind in the standings. Of course, Ole Miss losing also gives Bama a worse loss than it had before Saturday, but it's safe the say the Tide came out ahead on the day.
No. 5 Notre Dame, 42-30 W at Pitt: This will count as a resume-boosting win for the committee (Pitt's still 6-3, and remember, the committee treats a plus-.500 record as a pretty big deal). With Clemson winning and Navy knocking off Memphis, don't be surprised if the Irish make the top four.
No. 14 Oklahoma State, 49-29 W vs. No. 8 TCU: The knocks against the Big 12's big four were all the same: schedule strength. OSU just picked up one of the season's biggest wins and did it in a total blowout. These two might basically swap rankings.
No. 21 Northwestern, 23-21 W vs. Penn State: It doesn't have to be pretty to count as a good win, and the Nittany Lions are still 7-3. Duke and Minnesota losing don't help the Wildcats, though.
No. 25 Houston, 33-30 W vs. Cincinnati: The Bearcats have been competitive in almost every game this year and still have a 5-4 record. UH's win over Louisville has finally turned into a win over a team with a winning record, and the Vandy team the Cougars blew out took No. 10 Florida to the wire. Hey look, here's the non-power favorite for now.
No. 3 Ohio State, 28-14 vs. Minnesota: You bet, that's a final score! NIU becoming a MAC favorite again is good for OSU too.
No. 9 Iowa, 35-27 W at Indiana: That was fine. Any win against the Big Ten's official mediocre madness program is a satisfying result.
No. 11 Stanford, 42-10 W at Colorado: Demolishing another bad team won't change things, but that road loss to Northwestern became ever more understandable, and winning at Washington State is somehow becoming a really good win.
No. 12 Utah, 34-23 W at Washington: The Huskies are better than their record, but probably not enough for the committee to make a big thing of this. That win over Arizona State is now nothing special.
No. 15 Oklahoma, 52-16 W vs. Iowa State: Couldn't agree more. Beating Tennessee is starting to pay off, at least.
No. 16 Florida State, 23-13 L at Clemson: Remember, the committee doesn't necessarily punish teams just for losing. A trip to the No. 1 team that was tied with eight minutes to go? That's about what the No. 16 (or so) team should do, right? And that win over Miami is now a win over a 6-3 team.
No. 17 Michigan, 49-16 W vs. Rutgers: Seems about right.
No. 20 Mississippi State, 31-13 W at Missouri: Beating 4-5 Mizzou is nothing special. But putting the game away in the third and scoring 10 more points on a good defense than anybody else had? Impressive in a Columbia downpour.
No. 22 Temple, 60-40 W at SMU: That's a lot of points for a good defense to give up! But the Owls should continue to draft off Notre Dame after a close loss to the Irish.
No. 23 UCLA, 41-0 at Oregon State: Pretty good. Win over Arizona State won't count as much now.
No. 6 Baylor, 31-24 W at Kansas State: The Bears' problem was schedule strength, and this won't change that. In committee eyes, 3-5 KSU is just a bad team. Baylor's also only got two wins against .500 teams now, with none against winning teams. None.
No. 10 Florida, 9-7 W vs. Vanderbilt: The Gators barely squeezed past a team that just got destroyed by Houston. They might not fall because of that, especially since the committee seems to lean more A Win Is A Win than most people do. Their win over Ole Miss is a little less valuable, though.
No. 2 LSU, 30-16 L at No. 4 Alabama: The Tigers won't be No. 2 anymore, so that's bad, but sticking in the top 10 seems likely, which means they're still in great shape for New Year's.
No. 7 Michigan State, 39-38 L at Nebraska: A close loss with a controversial ending on the road is okay, but losses to teams that are now 4-6 are not. However, the Huskers could very easily be more like 8-2 right now, so have fun, committee!
No. 8 TCU, 49-29 L at No. 14 Oklahoma State: The Horned Frogs could fall pretty far, with little strength of schedule to brag about before this game.
No. 13 Memphis, 45-20 L vs. Navy: A closer loss to a one-loss team might've been forgivable, but I don't think the Tigers will stick around after this home blowout, especially since their win over Ole Miss now matters less.
No. 18 Ole Miss, 53-52 L vs. Arkansas: The fact that it was a wild ending won't help the Rebels. I would say this hurts Alabama, but Bama also beat the Razorbacks, so it's probably a wash. The team it really hurts is Florida.
No. 19 Texas A&M, 26-10 L vs. Auburn: The noise I kept making while watching this score was "YUGH." The committee should do the same.
No. 24 Toledo, 32-27 L vs. Northern Illinois: The MAC's first-ever Playoff ranking was gone immediately. Division tyrant NIU's Nov. 21 hosting of Western Michigan could decide the West. The MAC's out of the New Year's race unless something bonkers happens.
Who's joining the rankings?
- Boise State, Bowling Green, Toledo or Western Kentucky could each have a flawed case for New Year's, if the AAC somehow completely destroys itself. This is farfetched.
- Among unranked teams that could jump up, based on what's happened so far: 7-2 BYU after winning at San Jose State, 8-2 Wisconsin after winning at Maryland, and 7-1 Navy after blasting No. 13 Memphis.
- And yeah, North Carolina's definitely gonna be ranked after blasting Duke.
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