CFP semi-final poll puts Georgia in driver's seat for Three-peat

Nov 4, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack athletic director Boo Corrigan looks on during the second half against the Miami Hurricanes at Carter-Finley Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 4, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack athletic director Boo Corrigan looks on during the second half against the Miami Hurricanes at Carter-Finley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The CFP Selection committee has spoken, but more will be  said and determined after this week's championship games, which will determine who gets a chance in the final six-team playoffs before it bloats to 12 in 2024.

Georgia remained No. 1 and in position to get that three-peat.

Michigan moved up one spot to No. 2 and Washington is now at No. 3. The Wolverines beat the rival Ohio State Buckeyes 30-24 this past Saturday to clinch a spot in the Big Ten championship game and deal a big blow to OSU's playoff hopes. Florida State moved back into the top four, and Ohio State dropped four spots to No. 6 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday night.

Could have used the extra six slots this year. Heading into conference championship week, four undefeated teams remain in the playoff picture and will look to grab their first postseason trophy. The six undefeated teams remaining after Week 13 are Georgia, Florida State, Liberty, Michigan, and Washington. One-loss contenders Alabama, Oregon, Ohio State and Texas remain in contention for a championship as well, hoping to move up the pecking order with key wins.

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How to watch CFP Selection Show

Time: 12 pm ET on Sunday, Dec. 3

Channel: ESPN, FuboTV (streaming)

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"As we look at it, it was a really good weekend, rivalry weekend, you get a little bit of everything," CFP committee chair Boo Corrigan said on ESPN's rankings release show. "What a great season it's been so far."

The Buckeyes were ranked No. 1 in the first CFP rankings Oct. 31. Ohio State also lost to Michigan last year but made it into the playoff after USC lost in the Pac-12 championship game. There is one key difference from last year: Ohio State dropped to No. 5 after the loss to Michigan. This year, the Buckeyes will need more help to finish in the top four.

That would include a Florida State loss to Louisville in the ACC championship game Saturday night in Charlotte. The Seminoles played their first game without starting quarterback Jordan Travis last weekend against rival Florida, and while new starter Tate Rodemaker looked shaky at times, Florida State found a way to win 24-15.

"Different team without Jordan Travis," Corrigan said of the Seminoles. "It's more than one player, but obviously, they are a different team without Jordan Travis."

The big question headed into tonight's rankings was how the committee would view the Seminoles with Rodemaker behind center. After dropping to No. 5 last week -- based on what the committee said was Washington's stronger strength of schedule -- Florida State was able to get back into the top four with the Ohio State loss and stay ahead of the four one-loss teams stacked behind. That is seemingly good news for its playoff hopes should it remain undefeated.

Every conference championship game this weekend is bound to have playoff implications -- starting with the SEC championship between Georgia and No. 8 Alabama in Atlanta.

The Pac-12 championship game between Washington and No. 5 Oregon on Friday night is likely to produce one playoff team as well. The Huskies beat the Ducks earlier this year at home 36-33 in a game that went down to the final play. Oregon has had far more decisive wins than Washington down the stretch. If the Ducks win, as the highest-ranked one-loss team, they would all but assuredly be in.

"Oregon has continued to dominate," Corrigan said. "With the season that [Ducks quarterback] Bo Nix is having, they have continued to impress with both the offense and the defense."

Michigan plays No. 16 Iowa in the Big Ten championship game. A win and the Wolverines would have their third straight CFP appearance.

As for the Big 12 championship game between No. 7 Texas and No. 18 Oklahoma State, the Longhorns need to win and hope for some help above them, too.

Tulane remains the top-ranked Group of 5 school at No. 22. The Green Wave play SMU in the AAC championship game Saturday. A win would all but ensure a spot in a New Year's Six game for the second straight season.

Note that 

Here is a look at all 25 and a comment on some: 

 1. Georgia (12-0)

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart talks with Georgia quarterback Carson Beck (15) during a football game between Tennessee and Georgia at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023.

Georgia finished undefeated in the regular season and has a chance continue the win streak this postseason. The final test for the Bulldogs is an SEC championship matchup against Alabama.

The resume will be compared to other teams in the event they drop Saturday’s game. A one-loss Georgia, without a conference title under its belt, creates a unique conversation about which team deserves the final spot in the CFP field and which criteria matter most.

2. Michigan (12-0)

Sherrone Moore looked the part when running the sideline during the biggest win of the season against Ohio State and set up the Wolverines for a CFP berth if they can win the Big Ten title on Saturday.

Despite all the off-field conversations surrounding Jim Harbaugh and Michigan this season, they have continued to earn their spot among the best teams in the country.

3. Washington (12-0)

Washington ran through the Pac-12 schedule with an undefeated record. Now a rematch with Oregon stands between the Huskies and a CFP berth

The rematch title game will be among the most talked about this week based on the previous matchup and recent performances.

4. Florida State (12-0)

Mike Norvell speaks with WR Keon Coleman earlier this season. (USAToday Sports Images)

Florida State survived its first test without Jordan Travis on Saturday, making their way into the ACC Championship game against Louisville with a chance to keep things going. Conversation has persisted since the injury over Florida State’s spot in the CFP conversation, and whether the committee would really leave out an undefeated Power Five conference champion based on an injury to their quarterback. This week’s ranking serves as a hint about how things are viewed.

5. Oregon (11-1)

Oregon comes into the conference championship with a chance to turn its one-loss resume into a CFP berth by knocking off Washington. The Ducks have remained among the top eye-test teams all season and can capitalize on that with more teams with losses. The question mark surrounding Oregon has been the strength of their schedule and the wins on the record compared to other programs around them.

6. Ohio State (11-1)

Ohio State took a loss vs. Michigan and will now sit at home during conference championship week hoping for more losses around them. After falling outside the Top Four for the first time this season, chaos is needed for Ohio State to work its way back into the CFP picture.

7. Texas (11-1)

Let's see, Oregon lost at Washington while Texas won at Alabama and lost to Oklahoma . So that leaves the Longhorns out of the Pick 6 for now.  

8. Alabama (11-1)

First time in the CFP era that the Tide isn't rolling in the CFP picture.

9. Missouri (10-2)

10. Penn State (10-2)

11. Ole Miss (10-2)

12. Oklahoma (10-2)

13. LSU (9-3)

14. Louisville (10-2)

15. Arizona (9-3)

16. Iowa (10-2)

17. Notre Dame (9-3)

18. Oklahoma State (9-3)

19. NC State (9-3)

20. Oregon State (8-4)

21. Tennessee (8-4)

22. Tulane (11-1)

23. Clemson (8-4)

24. Liberty (12-0)

25. Kansas State (8-4)

 

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