Last week, it was Tennessee. This time, the most important winner within the latest College Football Playoff rankings is Southern California, which has stuffed the Volunteers’ sneakers because the staff poised to affix the highest 4 with only a small nudge of assist throughout the convention championship weekend.
And the Trojans can thank Tennessee for that — or South Carolina, really, after the Gamecocks scored 63 factors and knocked the Volunteers out of playoff competition.
Now, with two weeks earlier than the postseason, USC is in vary of changing into the primary Pac-12 staff to succeed in the playoff since Washington in 2016. All the Trojans may need to do is win Saturday in opposition to Notre Dame after which beat Oregon, Washington or possibly Utah within the convention championship sport.
Up to No. 6 within the new rankings, USC can be challenged by LSU and Clemson. The largest concern is LSU upsetting top-ranked Georgia within the Southeastern Conference title sport, which might ship two SEC groups to the playoff. Clemson might additionally transfer forward within the last rankings by beating South Carolina and North Carolina, however that appears unlikely to happen if each groups have just one loss.
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With the clock ticking on the common season, the Trojans lead the checklist of winners and losers from Tuesday night time’s launch:
Being two spots forward of No. 8 Clemson sends the message that USC would be capable of preserve the Tigers at bay with wins in opposition to the No. 15 Fighting Irish and the second-place staff from the Pac-12. To make issues as clear as potential, nevertheless, there’s an argument for USC desirous to face No. 9 Oregon within the convention championship sport based mostly on the Ducks’ robust status with the choice committee and single loss in league play. But there is a profit to enjoying No. 14 Utah, too, since a win there would avenge the Trojans’ sole loss, and the committee would additionally look favorably on a win in opposition to No. 13 Washington. No matter how you narrow it, the Trojans are forward of Clemson and able to constructing that lead with two wins that may carry main weight with the committee. The street to 12-1 will not be simple, however USC is in place to lock issues down within the subsequent two weeks.
With no. 22 Central Florida nonetheless within the rankings after dropping to Navy, the American has three groups within the Top 25 within the Knights, No. 19 Tulane and No. 24 Cincinnati. As if there was any doubt: The AAC is the Group of Five convention to beat for the automated New Year’s Six bid. That’s true at the same time as one of many Green Wave and Bearcats can be eradicated after they meet on Saturday; whereas there are a number of situations that would unfold, together with one which entails pc rankings, the only situation pits the winner in opposition to UCF. Based on the remaining schedule, it’s totally arduous to see how the AAC champion is not within the New Year’s Six.
The committee has revered No. 12 Kansas State all through the rating course of, as proven by elevating the Wildcats seven spots prior to now two weeks following simple wins in opposition to Baylor and West Virginia. This has made the Wildcats the apparent second-place staff within the Big 12, which can come into play ought to No. 4 TCU wins the Big 12 championship, goes unbeaten and finishes within the prime 4. Even with that loss to the Horned Frogs, the Wildcats would then earn the league’s automated New Year’s Six spot.
The loss to South Carolina was an excessive amount of for the committee to clarify away. It would not have been too arduous to seek out the excuse: Tennessee has the identical file as No. 5 LSU and No. 7 Alabama and owns the head-to-head tiebreakers in opposition to each groups. There’s an attention-grabbing query associated to when losses matter — as in, would the Volunteers be forward of the Tigers and Crimson Tide had they misplaced to the Gamecocks within the season opener as an alternative of late November? The 25-point defeat drops Tennessee 5 spots to No. 10 and out of the playoff image.
An inexplicable loss to Georgia Tech ends the No. 17 Tar Heels’ already slim playoff probabilities and will have the trickle-down impact of impacting Clemson’s hopes, for the reason that ACC championship will not be a matchup of one-loss groups. Like the Volunteers, UNC will as an alternative head into the following two video games attempting to clinch a New Year’s Six berth. The easiest method could be to beat Clemson and win the ACC, however the Tar Heels might additionally observe an analogous blueprint to Kansas State and backdoor into the New Year’s Six ought to the Tigers get into the semifinals.