Michigan up to fourth; SU rises to No. 13 spot

Published Nov 7, 2018 at 12:00pm

(AP) — Michigan moved into the fourth spot of the College Football Playoff rankings Tuesday night, behind Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame.

Georgia was next at five, followed by Oklahoma.

The playoff picture cleared up after a weekend where several contenders asserted themselves. The top-four teams in the final rankings Dec. 2 will play in the national semifinals.

Syracuse moved up six spots to No. 13 in the rankings.

The Crimson Tide easily dispatched LSU from the top four, beating the Tigers 29-0. LSU, though, only dropped to No. 7 after its second loss, ahead of Washington State, West Virginia and Ohio State — all with only one loss.

Selection committee chairman Rob Mullens noted LSU’s three victories against teams the committee has ranked this week (Mississippi State, Auburn and Georgia).

“Their defense is extremely strong,” said Mullens, the Oregon athletic director. “Their two losses come against No. 1 Alabama, on the road to Florida.”

Unbeaten Notre Dame moved up one spot to No. 3, and Michigan jumped a spot after a 42-7 victory against Penn State.

With four weeks left in the season, nine of the top 10 teams are serious contenders.

LSU is basically out, because the Tigers have no chance to win a conference title.

No. 1 Alabama (9-0) is already locked into the SEC championship game and has built up enough equity that even a regular-season loss to Mississippi State or Auburn likely won’t keep Tua Tagovailoa and Co. out of the playoff.

Like Alabama, No. 2 Clemson (9-0) has some room for a regular-season misstep, but its position is not a strong as the Tide’s.

With a loss to ACC Atlantic rival Boston College on Saturday, Clemson would be at risk of being shut out of the conference title game.

No. 3 Notre Dame (9-0) has three games left and might also hold a trump card against Michigan, with that season-opening victory in South Bend.