As the college football season slowly comes to a close, the debate for a spot in the College Football Playoff rankings has quickly heated up. In just the second ever rankings, the top three teams – Mississippi State, Florida State, and Auburn- remain solidified atop the poll. So far, vying for the final spot has become a highly contested battle. Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks snuck into this week’s edition after dismantling the Stanford Cardinal en route to a 44-17 win. The dominant win against a difficult opponent trumped Alabama’s bye week.
“It was very close, and I think it’s the product of Oregon’s other wins they have,” selection committee chairman Jeff Long said. “They have the Michigan State win, but they also, again, went on the road against UCLA and won, and a couple of wins that made their body of work, put them a step ahead of (Alabama) at this point.”
Both of the top two teams had to overcome second half deficits to hold onto their spots as the Bulldogs rallied to defeat Arkansas 17-10 and the Seminoles shocked college football by coming back from 21-0 down. The scary weekend is just the first of several key upcoming weekends and don’t expect the top ranked teams to simply cruise by their opponents.
The final spot remains a major mystery as each of the top 10 teams holds only one loss and with several key games remaining on the schedules. The largest drop of any team was Ole Miss, who suffered their second consecutive loss to Auburn 35-31, while the Arizona State Sun Devils took the biggest leap jumping five spots into the ninth slot. The clock continues to tick down on one-loss teams as the last of the rankings will be released December 7 when the top four teams in the nation will earn their spot in the first ever College Football Playoff.
*Section Photo credit to Christian Petersen, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Scott Olmos, USA Today Sports