TCU No. 3, unbeaten FSU No. 4 in CFP rankings
Updated: December 2, 2014, 11:21 PM ET
ESPN.com news services
College Football Playoff Rankings Released
TCU moved back into the College Football Playoff rankings’ first four, and leapfrogged undefeated Florida State in the process.
The Horned Frogs were ranked third, one spot ahead of the Seminoles, in the rankings released Tuesday night, the final set of rankings before the 12-member committee selects the four teams for the inaugural playoff tournament on Sunday.
Alabama and Oregon remained No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. Ohio State was ranked fifth and Baylor, which defeated TCU on Oct. 11, was sixth.
TCU routed Texas, 48-10, this past Thursday to win its sixth straight. Florida State held off Florida, 24-19, in Will Muschamp’s final game as the Gators’ coach, but still slipped a spot in the CFP rankings despite winning its 12th straight this season (and 28th overall).
Each of the top six teams are in action this weekend. Oregon faces Arizona (No. 7 in this week’s CFP rankings) in the Pac-12 championship game on Friday. Alabama plays Missouri (No. 16 CFP) in the SEC championship game and Florida State faces Georgia Tech (No. 11 CFP) in the Dr. Pepper ACC Championship Game, both on Saturday. Ohio State plays Wisconsin (No. 13 CFP) in the Big Ten championship game on Saturday.
TCU hosts 2-9 Iowa State, and Baylor hosts Kansas State (No. 9 CFP) on Saturday. The Big 12 does not have a championship game.
Baylor is currently working with a public relations firm to provide “additional support in telling the Bears’ story over the last few weeks of the football season,” said Nick Joos, executive athletic director for external affairs.
The PR firm is sending notes and statistics about Baylor to media members, not committee members.
“We’re at the point, we’re waiting for results now,” selection committee chairman and Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said Tuesday night. “We’re waiting for teams to complete their body of work. Again, we don’t project out. We’ve all seen games that have different outcomes than we expect.
“We focus on what has been accomplished to this point, and with that regard, the top four teams to this point are ranked where the committee believes they should be.”
The Bears and Horned Frogs will end the season having played 10 common opponents. The biggest difference is TCU played Minnesota and Baylor played Buffalo. That combined with Baylor’s loss to West Virginia (7-5) is working in the Horned Frogs’ favor and keeping the head-to-head matchup from being the deciding factor.
“As we pointed out before, TCU has five wins over teams with winning records or .500 records and above, and Baylor has three, if you include Texas at 6-6,” Long said. “I can’t say it’s one thing. It’s a number of things we look at, and we believe TCU is better and deserving of that No. 3 rank over Baylor.”
Further complicating matters, the Horned Frogs and Bears would be co-champions of the Big 12 if both win out. The conference has said it will not designate a champion via a tiebreaker.
The committee’s selection protocol requires conference championships be taken into the consideration when judging teams with similar resumes.
“Well, first we will not determine a champion for the Big 12,” Long said. “We’ve discussed to this point, and then we will wait for the results, and then we will evaluate those teams, and that’s when the conference championship comes into effect.
“We have not had the discussions about what if there’s a co-champion.”
Westgate SuperBook projected Alabama as an 11.5-point favorite against Florida State and Oregon as a 2.5-point favorite against TCU.
Michigan State moved up two spots to No. 8. Mississippi State, following its loss to Ole Miss, dropped out of the first four to No. 10. The Rebels climbed seven spots to No. 12.
Georgia and UCLA are ranked No. 14 and 15, respectively. Arizona State fell to No. 17 after its 42-35 loss to Arizona. Clemson rose to No. 18 after defeating South Carolina. Auburn and Oklahoma were ranked No. 19 and 20, respectively.
Nos. 21 through 25 included Louisville, Boise State, Utah, LSU and USC.
Long said the committee did not factor into this week’s rankings the injury to Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, but will after the Buckeyes face Wisconsin on Saturday.
“Certainly committee members are very interested to watch Ohio State’s performance with the backup quarterback, and again, the results on the field will dictate to us how we feel about Ohio State, how they perform in the game, and then how, if we have to project forward, how they will compete,” he said.
Boise State is the highest ranked — and only ranked — team from outside the Big Five conferences, which puts the Broncos (10-2) in position to receive a bid to one of the four New Year’s Day bowls.
The two College Football Playoff Semifinal games — the Rose Bowl Game Presented By Northwestern Mutual and the Allstate Sugar Bowl — will be played on New Year’s Day. The College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T will be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Jan. 12.
ESPN.com’s David Purdum and The Associated Press contributed to this report.