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College Football Playoff Rankings, TCU Stays at No.4

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TCU Football | Image by Sports Illustrated

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The College Football Playoff (CFP) Committee released its third set of rankings this season on Tuesday night, and there was no movement at the top.

The top five remained unchanged from the previous week, with No.1 Georgia, No.2 Ohio State, No.3 Michigan, and No.4 TCU holding steady as the nation’s only remaining undefeated teams, followed by No.5 Tennessee, the top-ranked one-loss team.

No.6 LSU moved up one spot and is the highest-ranked two-loss team. It could make history as the first two-loss team to reach the CFP if it wins its conference.

LSU will face No.1 Georgia in the SEC championship game on December 3.

USC is now the Pac-12’s highest-ranked team at No.7 and the only one-loss team in the conference after Oregon lost Saturday to No.17 Washington, dropping it six spots to No.12.

Two-loss Alabama is No.8, ahead of one-loss No.9 Clemson, which will play No.13 North Carolina in the ACC championship. No.10 Utah is the second-highest-ranked Pac-12 team out of six teams from the conference in the top 25.

For TCU (10-0), it kept its top-four playoff spot after defeating Texas (6-4) in Austin and clinching a Big 12 Championship appearance. The Horned Frogs had their best defensive performance of the year, preventing Texas from scoring an offensive touchdown, allowing only 199 yards total offense, and shutting down star running back Bijan Robinson.

Coach Sonny Dykes called the defensive improvement “pretty remarkable. I think we’re trending in the right direction defensively.”

The performance also impressed the committee chairman, NC State athletic director Boo Corrigan.

“You’re looking for improvement during the course of the year,” Corrigan said on ESPN. “For their defense to give up three points … if you look at the whole package, they continue to improve. They’ve earned the opportunity to be in the top four.”

But the four-loss Longhorns tumbled from No.18 out of the CFP top 25 with the loss. It does help the Frogs that No.22 Oklahoma State is back in the rankings this week, giving TCU a second win against a ranked opponent, along with No.15 Kansas State.

Still, if TCU wins out against Baylor, Iowa State, and whoever it faces in the Big 12 championship game on December 3, the Horned Frogs will almost assuredly be one of the four teams in the CFP.

Since the CFP began in 2014, no undefeated Power Five conference champion has been left on the out.

But winning out is easier said than done. TCU is not taking its trip to Waco this Saturday lightly, with coach Dykes calling Baylor (6-4) a dangerous team.

Last year, the Horned Frogs upset Baylor, who were then in contention for the CFP. Without the loss to TCU, the Bears would have had a strong argument for being in the top four.

Baylor has the opportunity to exact revenge and simultaneously bounce back from a 31-3 lopsided home loss to No.15 Kansas State last Saturday, maybe one of the most disappointing performances under coach Dave Aranda.

“I would look at it more as, what a great opportunity we have with this particular game and the environment that’s going to be around on Saturday and the platform that we have,” Aranda said. “This last week was not us. We can be us.”

There are three more rankings to come, including the release of the final top 25 on December 4. The next set of rankings will be released on Tuesday, November 22.

Full CFP Top 25:

  1. Georgia (10-0)
  2. Ohio State (10-0)
  3. Michigan (10-0)
  4. TCU (10-0)
  5. Tennessee (9-1)
  6. LSU (8-2)
  7. USC (9-1)
  8. Alabama (8-2)
  9. Clemson (9-1)
  10. Utah (8-2)
  11. Penn State (8-2)
  12. Oregon (8-2)
  13. North Carolina (9-1)
  14. Mississippi (8-2)
  15. Kansas State (7-3)
  16. UCLA (8-2)
  17. Washington (8-2)
  18. Notre Dame (7-3)
  19. Florida State (7-3)
  20. UCF (8-2)
  21. Tulane (8-2)
  22. Oklahoma State (7-3)
  23. Oregon State (7-3)
  24. NC State (7-3)
  25. Cincinnati (8-2)

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