Defending national champion Alabama remained No. 1 and Clemson No. 2 in the new College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday, while Michigan led the Big Ten at No. 3 and Ohio State closed in on a playoff spot.
In all, four Big Ten teams sit in the Top 10.
With last week’s No. 4 Texas A&M losing to Mississippi State, the playoff field was certain to carry a different look in the second week. The committee went with Alabama, Clemson, Michigan and Washington in the top 4.
The five Big Ten teams in the initial rankings went a combined 4-1 on Saturday, as Ohio State beat Nebraska 59-3 in the league’s only matchup between two ranked teams. Michigan, Wisconsin and Penn State all won, and thus all are now in the top 10.
2016 College Football Playoff rankings, Week 11:
5. Ohio State
8. Texas A&M
10. Penn State
13. Oklahoma State
14. Virginia Tech
16. West Virginia
17. North Carolina
18. Florida State
21. Western Michigan
22. Boise State
23. Washington State
— CFBPlayoff (@CFBPlayoff) November 9, 2016
Around college football entering Week 11
Alabama won its final road game of the season — 10-0 in a defensive struggle against LSU — which should set up an epic Iron Bowl against surging Auburn on Nov. 26. Should the winner of that game then win the SEC championship game, it will be in the College Football Playoff. … Texas A&M is all but eliminated after losing to Mississippi State. The Aggies need Alabama to lose its final two conference games (Mississippi State and Auburn, both at home) and Auburn to lose at Georgia this Saturday to win the SEC West.
Michigan remains atop the Big Ten after it beat down Maryland 59-3. Ohio State matched that effort with a 62-3 blowout of Nebraska. … Penn State is playing like a Top 10 team after it took care of Iowa, but will need the Hawkeyes to upset Michigan as a three-touchdown underdog this weekend and the Buckeyes to then beat the Wolverines at the end of the season.
Washington took care of business against Cal last weekend and on Saturday hosts USC, one of the most improved teams in the country. The Huskies’ biggest date left is the Apple Cup against Washington State — also 6-0 in Pac-12 play — on Nov. 25.
Clemson still controls its own destiny in the ACC after beating Syracuse 54-0. … Louisville could still get into the College Football Playoff, but needs Clemson to lose or chaos to strike in a few of the other conferences. Washington losing would be a great first step for the Cardinals, who end the regular season with Wake Forest, Houston and Kentucky.