LSU, USC go behind UGA, Ohio St, Michigan, TCU in CFP

LSU moved to fifth place and Southern California placed sixth in the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday night behind Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan and TCU.

The top four remained the same for the third week in a row, but the chasing teams changed order after Tennessee lost to South Carolina last Saturday night.

Selection committee chairman Boo Corrigan, who is also the athletic director for the state of North Carolina, said there was a lot of discussion this week about LSU (9-2) and USC (10-1).

“At the end of the day, the committee saw the wins over Alabama, Mississippi (for LSU) as stronger than the wins over UCLA and Oregon State (for USC),” Corrigan said. “The only area we still have questions about is the strength of USC’s defenses and looking at it as a whole, we believe LSU deserves to be ranked fifth and sixth for SC.”

Two games this weekend could provide more clarity.

Michigan (11-0) is up against Ohio State (11-0) on Saturday and USC hosts Notre Dame (8-3), which came in at 15th in the selection committee rankings.

There are still two rankings left. The finals on December 4 set the stage for the College Football Playoff. The semi-finals will be played on December 31 in the Peach and Fiesta bowls. The national championship game will be played at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

Alabama placed seventh, though the Crimson Tide appears to have no realistic route to making the College Football Playoff for the eighth time in nine years. LSU and Georgia are already locked in the Southeastern Conference title game.

Clemson was eighth, Oregon was ninth and Tennessee dropped to tenth.

Georgia (11-0), the winner of the Ohio State-Michigan game, TCU (11-0) and LSU enter the final two weeks of the race in top form to earn a spot in the final four.

That’s probably an overestimation of LSU’s position, as the Tigers would have to beat the defending national champion Bulldogs to become the first team to make it to the CFP with two losses.

But they have a chance and that’s all you can ask for at this point in the season.

USC fans may not like seeing the Trojans behind a two-loss SEC team, but they shouldn’t fret too much.

If Georgia settles cases against LSU, it will open a spot for USC – if the Trojans can win. That’s going to be tough against Notre Dame and either Oregon, Utah or Washington in the Pac-12 title game.

As for the Ohio State-Michigan loser, how the game plays out will go a long way in determining whether that team can take a backdoor into the final four. It will also need some losses spread across TCU, USC and LSU.

The Buckeyes are probably better positioned to enter the rivalry game with a loss, as that opening night win against Notre Dame looks pretty good these days and would only increase in value against Irish beat USC.

Michigan’s abysmal non-conference schedule (Colorado State, Hawaii and UConn) is constantly cited as a sign against the Wolverines.

Then there’s Clemson (10-1).

Even if the Tigers finish as 12-1 Atlantic Coast Conference champions, they’ll need some help in the form of losses by at least two from USC, LSU and TCU.

Getting drilled by Notre Dame can be hard to overcome for Clemson when both Ohio State and USC have victories against the Irish on their resumes.

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