Georgia leads, LSU improves to fifth spot in College Football Playoff rankings release




The fourth College Football Playoff rankings looked just like the previous two at the top. No. 1 Georgia retained the top position followed by Ohio State, Michigan and TCU.

It wasn't a foregone conclusion that the quartet would stay there on Saturday. All four of the remaining unbeatens in the Bowl Subdivision won their games last weekend, but none were easy.

The Bulldogs were held to 16 points and won by 10 against Kentucky. The Buckeyes got a late score that made its final against Maryland flattering as the Terrapins turned the ball over on a potential game-wining drive. And the Wolverines and Horned Frogs both needed field goals in the final seconds to overcome Illinois and Baylor, respectively.

Georgia players celebrate an interception by defensive back Kelee Ringo (5) during the team
Georgia players celebrate an interception by defensive back Kelee Ringo (5) during the team's defeat of Tennessee at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga.  

Tennessee, however, wasn't so lucky. The Volunteers were ranked fifth last week by the committee and thought to be in prime position for the semifinals. Instead, they were routed at South Carolina. Their loss opened the door for a group of other contenders to move up.

LSU grabs the fifth spot after its defeat of Alabama-Birmingham. The Tigers - even with two losses - appear to control their own destiny if they can beat Texas A&M this week and then the Georgia in the SEC championship game. Ohio State and Michigan both play each other this week and the loser should drop.

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Following the LSU are Southern California and Alabama. Clemson and Oregon hold down the eighth and ninth spot. Tennessee completes the top 10 after its five-place drop but now must play the rest of the season without quarterback Hendon Hooker, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear in the loss to the Gamecocks.

No. 19 Tulane leads all teams from the Group of Five. The highest-ranked champion from those leagues earns an automatic berth in one of the New Year's Six bowl games, likely the Cotton Bowl. The Green Wave travel to No. 24 Cincinnati with the winner clinching a spot in the American Athletic championship game.

The Pac-12 has the most representatives in the rankings with six followed by the SEC and its five teams. The ACC has four teams and then the American, Big 12 and Big Ten have three apiece.

The final ranking of the committee will take place Dec. 4, and the top four teams will earn spots in the playoff. The semifinals will be played at the Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl on Dec. 31. The championship game will be played on Jan. 9 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

College Football Playoff committee Top 25

1. Georgia (11-0)

2. Ohio State (11-0)

3. Michigan (11-0)

4. TCU (11-0)

5. LSU (9-2)

6. Southern California (10-1)

7. Alabama (9-2)

8. Clemson (10-1)

9. Oregon (9-2)

10. Tennessee (9-2)

11. Penn State (9-2)

12. Kansas State (8-3)

13. Washington (9-2)

14. Utah (8-3)

15. Notre Dame (8-3)

16. Florida State (8-3)

17. North Carolina (9-2)

18. UCLA (8-3)

19. Tulane (9-2)

20. Mississippi (8-3)

21. Oregon State (8-3)

22. Central Florida (8-3)

23. Texas (7-4)

24. Cincinnati (9-2)

25. Louisville (7-4)

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College Football Playoff rankings: Georgia leads, LSU now fifth

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