Georgia took over the top spot in the College Football Playoff top 25 rankings released Tuesday night, after its impressive 27-13 win over previous No. 1 Tennessee last weekend.
Meanwhile, TCU jumped three spots to No. 4 heading into its big Saturday showdown at No. 18 Texas.
“They’ve got six wins over teams who are .500 or better,” CFP chair Boo Corrigan, the athletic director at NC State, said on the ESPN telecast regarding the Horned Frogs. “As you know, we value wins.”
Ohio State is No. 2, and rival Michigan landed at No. 3.
It came as no surprise to see Georgia (9-0) move to No. 1. The defending national champion looked very much the part in the victory over the Vols, holding Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker to 195 yards passing, zero touchdowns and one interception.
The Vols dropped four spots to No. 5 and as the top-ranked one-loss team, their CFP hopes remain very much alive.
“Tennessee is a really good team, with big wins, and again, we’re still early in this process,” Corrigan said.
Tennessee is one spot ahead of Oregon, the highest ranked team from the Pac-12. Pac-12 contenders Oregon, USC and UCLA all have one loss, but the committee has the Ducks slotted highest. USC is at No. 8, while UCLA is ranked No. 12.
“They’ve won eight consecutive games,” Corrigan said of Oregon. “Again, we’re looking at the overall body of work. … And they’ve been very impressive.”
If Tennessee wins out, the Vols could be in position to make it into the CFP as a one-loss nonconference champion, depending on how everything shakes out around them. The SEC has had multiple teams make the CFP twice — including last season.
As for TCU, moving into the top four is validation for its undefeated season. Last week, the committee had the undefeated Horned Frogs at No. 7, behind one-loss Alabama, in large part because they needed multiple fourth-quarter comebacks to remain undefeated. Though TCU trailed Texas Tech headed into the fourth quarter this past weekend and needed another comeback to win, the Horned Frogs benefitted in these rankings from losses by Tennessee, Alabama and Clemson.
“This is early in the process, I have a lot of faith in the committee,” TCU coach Sonny Dykes said on the ESPN telecast. “At the end of the day, we’ve played a good schedule, and we have a really tough schedule ahead of us. … But I appreciate the fact that they value wins.”
TCU will meet Texas on Saturday night.
“Our guys have completely jumped in and they believe in what they’re doing,” Dykes said. “It’s fun to see guys invest in each other and value each other. … I love this group, and they are a blast to coach.”
Alabama, which lost to LSU in overtime, stayed in the top 10 despite the loss and is ranked No. 9. LSU moved up three spots to No. 7 as the highest-ranked two-loss team — leaving opening the possibility that it could be the first two-loss team to make the CFP if it wins out as SEC champion.
Clemson, which got blown out 35-14 on the road against Notre Dame, dropped from No. 4 to No. 10. The Tigers will need to win out, plus get help and chaos around them, to keep any shot at another playoff berth alive.