After a thunderous 42-13 victory over Michigan on Saturday, Ohio State (11-1, 7-1) moved up two spots to No. 6 in the second-to-last College Football Playoff rankings of the 2015 season.
The Buckeyes’ convincing win against the then-No. 10 Wolverines, coupled with losses by former Nos. 6 and 7 Notre Dame and Baylor, respectively, was responsible for the rise.
However, the Buckeyes still sit two spots on the outside of the four-team playoff, and without a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game, they will need a good deal of help to be in consideration for a second straight trip to the playoff.
Standing atop the rankings once again is 12-0 Clemson, one of two undefeated teams remaining in the FBS. The Tigers have a game against No. 10 North Carolina on Saturday to determine the ACC championship and, possibly, a spot in the playoff.
A much more certain win-and-get-in matchup is in the Big Ten Championship Game, where No. 4 Iowa — the other undefeated team — and No. 5 Michigan State will duel for the spot.
Alabama held strong in the second spot and will lock up its spot as the lone returning team to the playoff with a win over reeling Florida in the SEC Championship Game. The Gators ranked as high as No. 8 two weeks ago, but consecutive poor performances, including a 27-2 loss to Florida State on Saturday, dropped them to No. 18.
In third place is Oklahoma, which seems to be a lock for a trip to the playoff due to the Big 12’s lack of a conference championship game. As a result, the Sooners’ schedule is through, and they should have one of the top four spots set in stone.
The Buckeyes’ hopes, therefore, lie with Clemson or Alabama getting upset on Saturday. Even then, they would need to rely on some generosity from the committee, as well as avoiding potentially getting jumped by North Carolina should the Tar Heels win the ACC.
The same five Big Ten teams as last week were present in the top 25: Iowa, Michigan State, OSU, No. 14 Northwestern and No. 15 Michigan.
The final rankings to determine the four playoff teams, as well as the assignments for the 40 bowl games — not counting the national championship — are set to be released on Sunday, the day after the conference championship games conclude.
The entire top 25 of the final regular-season rankings can be found below.
- Michigan State
- Ohio State
- Notre Dame
- Florida State
- North Carolina
- Oklahoma State