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Oklahoma, Iowa move up in CFP

The Associated Press

 

Oklahoma moved into third and Iowa was fourth in the new College Football Playoff rankings as Notre Dame slipped to No. 6.

Clemson and Alabama remained the top two teams in the third-to-last committee rankings.

The Sooners (10-1) seem to be in solid shape with only one game left in their season. Oklahoma will play at Oklahoma State on Saturday with a chance to win the Big 12. The Cowboys dropped to 11th after losing its first game of the season

Notre Dame (10-1) also plays its last game of the season Saturday, a possible resume-builder against Stanford, which is ninth in the rankings.

“In our view, Oklahoma is better than Iowa,” committee chairman Jeff Long said. “We felt Iowa and Michigan State were extremely close.”

Unbeaten Iowa (11-0) and No. 5 Michigan State (10-1) can setup a possible playoff play-in game in the Big Ten championship if both win this weekend.

What else you need to know about the latest rankings as the season hits the final two weeks:

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OU IS NOT TCU

Last season TCU was third in the second-to-last playoff rankings and slipped to sixth in the final rankings, behind Ohio State and Baylor.

That has Big 12 fans understandably wondering if the league is setup for another fall from No. 3 even if the Sooners take care of business on Saturday in Stillwater.

It is not the same situation. Oklahoma is in better position. Here’s why:

Last season the committee liked TCU more than Baylor all season, despite the Bears beating the Horned Frogs in October. In the very last rankings, when Baylor’s and TCU’s schedule were almost identical, the committee finally honored the head-to-head result and placed Baylor ahead of TCU.

That can’t happen this season. The Sooners loss was the Texas and with the Big 12 now using head-to-head tiebreakers, they would be the conference’s one true champion.

Baylor’s very weak nonconference schedule also left it susceptible to being slighted by the committee last season. The Sooners have no such problem, with a win against Tennessee (7-4) on the road to their credit.

If committee members were looking for a reasonable alternative to Baylor on championship weekend before the final rankings last year, they found it in Ohio State. The Buckeyes’ 59-0 victory against Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game with a backup quarterback was maybe the most impressive performance of the season by any team.

Notre Dame would be in the role of Ohio State this season, but it’s not quite the same. First off, the Irish don’t have the extra game to make a last and lasting impression with the committee on championship weekend.

Stanford and Oklahoma State are similar opponents.

Last season TCU finished with a weak Iowa State team. Baylor faced a good Kansas State team at home, posted a solid win, but still was being dragged down by its nonconference schedule and a loss at West Virginia, which finished in the middle of the Big 12.

Unless the Irish can do to the Cardinal what the Buckeyes did to the Badgers, it would be hard for the committee to explain reversing course on the Sooners at this point.

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BIG TEN vs. NOTRE DAME

When Ohio State was unbeaten, it looked as if the final spot would come down to Notre Dame or the Big 12 champion.

Now it looks as if the Irish’s path to the playoff goes through the Big Ten. The Irish could be blocked without an upset or two in the Big Ten over the next couple weeks.

Michigan State plays Penn State on Saturday and Iowa is at Nebraska. If both win, that sets up a Big Ten championship game with unbeaten Iowa against Michigan State at 11-1. Again, unless Notre Dame posts some type of monstrous blowout of Stanford, jumping ahead of the Big Ten champ looks very difficult.

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LURKING

Stanford and Baylor looked done a couple of weeks ago when they both lost on the same Saturday night.

A couple weeks later both are lurking and the two could combine to make a fascinating decision for the committee.

An Oklahoma loss and a Notre Dame loss could leave Baylor (9-1) and Stanford (9-2) vying for the last spot as conference champions. This might not bode well for the Big 12, again. Stanford’s schedule strength would certainly trump Baylor’s and could give the committee ample reason to look past the number in the loss column — which it has shown it is more than willing to do.

 

CLEMSON (11-0)

49 Wofford 10

41 Appalachian St. 10

20 at Louisville 17

24 Notre Dame 22

43 Georgia Tech 24

34 Boston College 17

58 at Miami 0

56 at NC State 41

23 Florida St. 13

37 at Syracuse 27

33 Wake Forest 13

Nov. 28 at South Carolina, Noon

ALABAMA (10-1)

35 Wisconsin 17

37 Middle Tennessee 10

37 Mississippi 43

34 Louisiana-Monroe 0

38 at Georgia 10

27 Arkansas 14

41 at Texas A&M 23

19 Tennessee 14

30 LSU 16

31 at Mississippi St. 6

56 Charleston Southern 6

Nov. 28 at Auburn, 3:30 p.m.

OKLAHOMA (10-1)

41 Akron 3

31 at Tennessee, 2OT 24

52 Tulsa 38

44 West Virginia 24

17 at Texas 24

55 at Kansas St. 0

63 Texas Tech 27

62 at Kansas 7

52 Iowa St. 16

44 at Baylor 34

30 TCU 29

Nov. 28 at Oklahoma St., 8 p.m.

IOWA (11-0)

31 Illinois St. 14

31 at Iowa St. 17

27 Pittsburgh 24

62 North Texas 16

10 at Wisconsin 6

29 Illinois 20

40 at Northwestern 10

31 Maryland 15

35 at Indiana 27

40 Minnesota 35

40 Purdue 20

Nov. 27 at Nebraska, 3:30 p.m.

MICHIGAN ST. (10-1)

37 at W. Michigan 24

31 Oregon 28

35 Air Force 21

30 Cent. Michigan 10

24 Purdue 21

31 at Rutgers 24

27 at Michigan 23

52 Indiana 26

38 at Nebraska 39

24 Maryland 7

17 at Ohio St. 14

Nov. 28 Penn St., 3:30 p.m.

NOTRE DAME (10-1)

38 Texas 3

34 at Virginia 27

30 Georgia Tech 22

62 UMass 27

22 at Clemson 24

41 Navy 24

41 Southern Cal 31

24 at Temple 20

42 at Pittsburgh 30

28 Wake Forest 7

19 Boston College 16

Nov. 28 at Stanford, 7:30 p.m.

OHIO STATE (10-1)

42 at Virginia Tech 24

38 Hawaii 0

20 N. Illinois 13

38 W. Michigan 12

34 at Indiana 27

49 Maryland 28

38 Penn St. 10

49 at Rutgers 7

28 Minnesota 14

28 at Illinois 3

14 Michigan St. 17

Nov. 28 at Michigan, Noon

BAYLOR (9-1)

56 at SMU 21

66 Lamar 31

70 Rice 17

63 Texas Tech 35

66 at Kansas 7

62 West Virginia 38

45 Iowa St. 27

31 at Kansas St. 24

34 Oklahoma 44

45 at Oklahoma St. 35

Nov. 27 at TCU, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 5 Texas, Noon

 

Team Record

Navy 9-1

Temple 9-2

Houston 10-1

Memphis 8-3

Tulsa 5-6

SMU 2-9

Florida State 9-2

Louisville 6-5

Syracuse 3-8

Wake Forest 3-8

Boston College 3-8

North Carolina 10-1

Pittsburgh 7-4

Miami, Fla. 7-4

Duke 6-5

Virginia Tech 5-6

Georgia Tech 3-8

Oklahoma St. 10-1

TCU 9-2

West Virginia 6-4

Iowa State 3-8

Kansas State 4-6

Kansas 0-11

Texas 4-6

Texas Tech 6-5

Akron 6-5

W. Michigan 6-5

C. Michigan 6-5

Illinois State 9-2

Hawaii 2-10

Oregon 8-3

Southern Cal 7-4

Stanford 9-2

Tennessee 7-4

Mississippi 8-3

Georgia 8-3

Arkansas 6-5

LSU 7-3

Texas A&M 8-3

Wofford 5-6

Appalachian St. 8-2

Lamar 5-6

La-Monroe 1-10

Cent. Michigan 6-5

Charleston So. 9-2

Michigan 9-2

Penn State 7-4

Indiana 5-6

Rutgers 4-7

Maryland 2-9

Northwestern 9-2

Wisconsin 8-3

Nebraska 5-6

Illinois 5-6

Minnesota 5-6

Purdue 2-9

Rice 4-7

Mid. Tennessee 6-5

Northern Illinois 8-4