How far does Ohio State drop and who exits top 10? Our college football coaches poll prediction

How to treat Ohio State after the loss to Michigan is the most pressing question in this week's USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll, and where the Buckeyes land could provide a glimpse into how the College Football Playoff selection committee addresses the same concern in Tuesday night's penultimate rankings.

The shakeup from rivalry weekend shouldn't send Ohio State too far down the Top 25. In fact, the Buckeyes could fall just three spots to No. 5 as voters look for options outside of the very certain top four of Georgia, Michigan, TCU and Southern California.

Michigan defensive lineman Kris Jenkins (94) tackles Ohio State wide receiver Xavier Johnson (10) during first half action at Ohio Stadium in Columbus Saturday, November 26, 2022.
Michigan defensive lineman Kris Jenkins (94) tackles Ohio State wide receiver Xavier Johnson (10) during first half action at Ohio Stadium in Columbus Saturday, November 26, 2022.

Three other contenders won't be so lucky.

LSU should fall out of the top 10 and will not remain under playoff consideration after losing 38-23 to Texas A&M. While the Tigers had already booked a seat in the SEC championship game, the loss doesn't paint a healthy picture about their chances of pulling off the upset against Georgia.

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Ranked No. 8 in last week's poll, Clemson will not make the playoff for the second year in a row after losing 31-30 to South Carolina.

Up by 17 points in the fourth quarter in the Civil War against Oregon State, Oregon made a series of baffling decisions on fourth down and essentially handed the Beavers the win to fall to 9-3.

These losses help clear up what was a complicated playoff picture while bringing some fresh blood to the top of the Coaches Poll. Here's how the top 10 should look:

1. Georgia (12-0)

A sluggish start against Georgia Tech gave way to another blowout in the rivalry. The 37-13 victory marks Georgia's 14th win in a row since falling to Alabama in last year's SEC championship game, which itself preceded a 16-game winning streak dating to Nov. 7, 2020.

2. Michigan (12-0)

Look for Michigan to chew into Georgia's lead after receiving just two first-place votes in last week's poll. At the same time, look for the Wolverines' bandwagon to fill up with former doubters now swayed by another dominant win against Ohio State. And rightfully so: Michigan is the team most capable of stopping the Bulldogs from claiming a second national championship in a row.

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3. TCU (12-0)

After escaping with a run of close wins throughout Big 12 play, TCU unloosened its belt and relaxed through a 62-14 blowout of Iowa State. The unbeaten Horned Frogs are locked into the top three with a win against Kansas State for the conference championship, but losses by Ohio State and Clemson could keep TCU in the top four even with a loss to the Wildcats.

4. Southern California (11-1)

With a 38-27 win against Notre Dame, the Trojans lock down a spot in the top four in the Coaches Poll and in Tuesday night's playoff rankings. Rather than pushed to the brink by the Fighting Irish, who had made huge in-season strides under coach Marcus Freeman, USC took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back.

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5. Ohio State (11-1)

The Buckeyes will point to the 11-0 start and the one loss to Michigan that only got out of hand in the final minutes as the primary arguments for still making the playoff despite finishing second in the Big Ten East. Losses by Clemson and LSU give this argument more credence than you might think.

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6. Alabama (10-2)

Only in Tuscaloosa is a 10-win season and New Year's Six berth seen as a letdown. A closer look, though, reveals a flawed team almost carried by Bryce Young's brilliance that lost two games by a combined four points — 52-49 to Tennessee and 32-31 to LSU but also narrowly beat Texas A&M and Texas with late-game heroics. The question now is whether Young and linebacker Will Anderson opt to play in the Crimson Tide's bowl game.

7. Penn State (10-2)

The Nittany Lions completed a very quiet 10-2 regular season defined by those two losses, to Michigan and Ohio State. While there is still ground to make up with those Big Ten East frontrunners, getting back to the New Year's Six is a great sign after sliding to 11-11 across the past two seasons.

8. Tennessee (10-2)

With backup quarterback Joe Milton in for an injured Hendon Hooker, the Volunteers broke things open against Vanderbilt with a 21-point third quarter and eased to a 56-0 win. In his first start since the second game of last season, Milton threw for 147 yards and a touchdown. Tennessee got it done on defense, holding the Commodores to 3.6 yards per pass attempt and 254 yards of offense.

9. Washington (10-2)

The Huskies beat Washington State 51-33 in the Apple Cup but will still fall short of the Pac-12 due to a pretty elaborate tiebreaker that gives Utah the edge due to a stronger in-conference strength of schedule. (Utah and Washington didn't meet during the regular season.) That's a sad end to an otherwise great week, which included a new contract for first-year coach Kalen DeBoer.

10. Kansas State (9-3)

Back in the Big 12 championship game for the first time since 2003, Kansas State will give TCU all it can handle after throwing away an 18-point lead when the two teams met earlier this season. LSU is an option here after dropping to 9-3, but will voters be able to look past a bad loss to A&M?

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coaches Poll predictions: Ohio State, LSU among teams destined to fall