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Clemson, Alabama remain atop CFP rankings; plenty of movement below

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There is no change among the top two teams in the College Football Playoff rankings, but controversy has already begun from spots 3-6. To no one’s surprise, the Clemson Tigers remained the top-rated team with Alabama taking second.

The buzz began immediately after Oklahoma was moved up four spots from the previous week to No. 3. Unbeaten Iowa claims the fourth spot, with Michigan State and Notre Dame, the first two teams currently out of the playoff, at No. 5 and No. 6 respectively.

Florida’s near upset at the hands of Florida Atlantic cost the Gators dearly. They fell from No. 8 to No. 12 and would need wins against Florida State and the SEC West Champion (probably Alabama) to have a chance to make playoff.

Florida State moved up one spot to No. 13 after their win against Chattanooga. With no chance for an ACC Championship, the Seminoles also have no chance for a spot in the playoffs.

Those arguing against Oklahoma’s surge highlight the fact the Sooners were a two-point conversion away from losing on Saturday to a TCU team missing their most prolific offensive performers; wide receiver Josh Doctson and quarterback Trevone Boykin.

Ohio State, the consensus pre-season favorite and last week’s No. 3, fell to No. 8 and has basically been eliminated after their last-second loss to Michigan State on Saturday. With no chance to play for the Big 10 title, Iowa and Michigan State have the inside track on a spot in the final four.

Notre Dame, who narrowly defeated heavy underdog Boston College, joined Ohio State in falling out of the top four. Their only loss was a two-point defeat at Clemson on October 3. The Irish have a chance to climb back in if they can go to Palo Alto, Calif. and defeat No. 9 Stanford this week.

Oklahoma State can knock Oklahoma from the top four by beating the Sooners at home this week. The Cowboys dropped to No. 11 after a crushing home loss to Baylor. With no Big 12 championship game, the Bears, Oklahoma or Oklahoma State can still win the conference title and possibly claim a spot in the playoffs.

With this week’s big rivalry games, the playoff standings are likely to face further re-arrangement. The next-to-last rankings come out next week with the playoff participants set to be announced on December 6.

The complete College Playoff Rankings can be found here.

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at

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