Michigan is in — for now.
The Wolverines moved inside the top four of the latest College Football Playoff rankings Tuesday, rising from fifth to No. 4 after previously third-ranked LSU lost to No. 1 Alabama.
The Crimson Tide remained No. 1 and Clemson is second, followed by Notre Dame, Michigan, Georgia, Oklahoma, LSU, Washington State, West Virginia, and Ohio State rounding out the top 10.
If the season ended Tuesday, Alabama and Michigan would meet in the Cotton Bowl, and Clemson and Notre Dame would play in the Orange Bowl.
The biggest surprise is LSU falling only four spots despite losing 29-0 to Alabama. Ohio State’s playoff hopes took another hit, as the Buckeyes were leapfrogged by West Virginia.
UM'S PLAYOFF PATH: It’s pretty simple for Michigan: if they win out, the Wolverines are almost assured a playoff berth. The only possible hang-up would be Georgia beating undefeated Alabama in a close game. Could the SEC get two teams in that scenario? Yes. If Clemson and Notre Dame are unbeaten, it’s possible that Michigan would get left out.
OSU'S PATH: A 12-1 record, with a win over Michigan and a Big Ten championship, does not guarantee a spot in the playoff for Ohio State. The Buckeyes are the lowest-ranked one-loss Power Five team and ahead of them are Oklahoma and West Virginia, who play each other in two weeks. If one of them wins the Big 12 with one loss, OSU’s chances at making the playoff are diminished significantly.
BIG GAMES: Top-ranked Alabama welcomes No. 16 Mississippi State, No. 2 Clemson is at No. 17 Boston College, Third-ranked Notre Dame hosts Florida State, No. 6 Oklahoma travels to in-state rival Oklahoma State, and No. 10 Ohio State travels to No. 18 Michigan State.
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