Ohio State falls to fifth behind Southern California in College Football Playoff rankings

Change among the top four in the College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday was anticipated with No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan playing each other in Week 13. The only possibility of the leading quartet occupying the first four positions - albeit in a different order - was if the results of the Big Ten showdown was close.

However, the result was not close and the Buckeyes paid the price, dropping all the way to fifth and are on the outside of the playoff field with one weekend left.

At the top, Georgia holds at No. 1 for the fourth consecutive week. Michigan moved up one spot to second. TCU did as well to take third. Those are the three remaining unbeatens left in the Bowl Subdivision. Each should confirm their spot with wins in their respective conference championship games this week and it's possible one or more could afford a loss given the lack of strength among the contenders behind them.

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.

Southern California now occupies fourth after its defeat of Notre Dame. The Trojans, who were sixth last week, were also helped by LSU surprise loss to Texas A&M that sent the Tigers tumbling to 14th. A win against Utah in the Pac-12 should confirm their selection to the playoff for the first time.

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That leaves Ohio State followed by Alabama needing chaos to somehow wiggle their way into the field. The Buckeyes - with one loss - have the best opportunity to break things up. The two-loss Crimson Tide might already be effectively eliminated. Tennessee, Penn State, Clemson and Kansas State complete the top 10.

No. 18 Tulane leads all teams from the Group of Five. The Green Wave host No. 22 Central Florida in the American Athletic championship game with the winner almost assure a place in the Cotton Bowl. The highest-ranked champion from the Group of Five earns an automatic berth in one of the New Year's Six bowl

The SEC and Pac-12 have the most representatives in the rankings with six teams apiece. The ACC is next with four teams, and the  Big 12 and Big Ten have three apiece.

The final ranking of the committee will take place Dec. 4, and the top four teams will earn spots in the playoff. The semifinals will be played at the Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl on Dec. 31. The championship game will be played on Jan. 9 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

College Football Playoff committee Top 25

1. Georgia (12-0)

2. Michigan (12-0)

3. TCU (12-0)

4. Southern California (11-1)

5. Ohio State (11-1)

6. Alabama (10-2)

7. Tennessee (10-2)

8. Penn State (10-2)

9. Clemson (10-2)

10. Kansas State (9-3)

11. Utah (9-3)

12. Washington (10-2)

13. Florida State (9-3)

14. LSU (9-3)

15. Oregon State (9-3)

16. Oregon (9-3)

17. UCLA (9-3)

18. Tulane (10-2)

19. South Carolina (8-4)

20. Texas (8-4)

21. Notre Dame (8-4)

22. Central Florida (9-3)

23. North Carolina (9-3)

24. Mississippi State (8-4)

25. North Carolina State (8-4)

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College Football Playoff rankings: USC No. 4, Ohio State down to No. 5