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Clemson tops CFP rankings; FSU jumps to 9th

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The Clemson Tigers continue to lead the College Football Playoff rankings according to the CFP Selection Committee. The next-to-last top 25 was released Tuesday evening.

Alabama maintained their spot at No. 2, while Oklahoma, Iowa and Michigan State all held their positions of 3 through 5, respectively. Ohio State climbed back to No. 6 after their impressive road rout of No. 15 Michigan on Saturday.

Florida State is back in the top 10, climbing 5 spots to earn the No. 9 ranking following their dominating win at No. 18 Florida. The Gators fell from No. 12 to No. 18. The Seminoles are one of three teams with two losses to make the top 10. Stanford and Notre Dame are the other two at 7 and 8, respectively.

Clemson will earn their spot in the playoffs if they can defeat No. 10 North Carolina in the ACC title game on Saturday in Charlotte. The Tar Heels are getting little respect despite an 11-game winning streak heading into Saturday’s game.

Many thought North Carolina might be in a position to make the playoffs if they upset Clemson, but that is now a long shot. Climbing six spots, including two idle one-loss teams in Ohio State and Oklahoma, is highly unlikely.

They will need a victory and probably losses by Stanford to USC and Alabama to Florida just to have a chance. If they are to be the Ohio State of 2014 and jump into the top four, one thing they will need is not only a victory over Clemson, but a convincing win. Ohio State vaulted over two Big 12 teams last year following a 59-0 Big Ten title game victory over Wisconsin.

Oklahoma’s season is complete and they finished in strong fashion, making their spot in the playoffs a virtual certainty. Alabama will be heavy favorites against the Gators in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday in Atlanta.

The winner of Saturday’s Big 10 Championship Game in Indianapolis between Michigan State and Iowa is also a heavy favorite to earn a spot. Ohio State awaits another chance if Clemson or Alabama falter.

The final rankings and playoff matchups will be announced on Sunday. The complete College Football 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 Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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