Ohio State, Notre Dame enter top four

Ohio State, Notre Dame enter top four

Ohio State, Notre Dame enter top four

Keep in mind that Ohio State-Michigan's double-overtime duel a year ago drew a 10.4 overnight for ABC; the Buckeyes and Wolverines were #2 and #3 respectively in the College Football Playoff ratings heading into that one (and #1 and #2 in the AP poll when they met in 2006, which drew a 13.0). It has been the only team in the past two seasons to effectively challenge Alabama, so the Tigers may get the nod if the committee favors a third matchup in three years between the two teams.

Tuesday is the first of five weekly rankings leading up to a December 3 announcement of the four teams that will compete for the national championship.

Ohio State's 39-38 comeback victory over Penn State on Saturday was riveting, but the Buckeyes lost to Oklahoma by 15 points at home in September.

"Nothing precludes it", College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said, according to a report from the Athens Banner-Herald, before a weekend that included Penn State and TCU suffering their first losses.

Wisconsin and Miami are the remaining unbeatens from Power Five conferences.

The next two teams in the hunt are Ohio State and Clemson.

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Wisconsin's win over IL leaves the Badgers as the lone undefeated team in the Big Ten, and without a ranked foe remaining on their schedule, they are a likely shoo-in for the Big Ten Championship game, most likely against Ohio State.

Predicting the No. 4 team is more challenging due to the number of undefeated and one-loss teams in the mix.

Notre Dame, however, is among the large group of teams on the bubble.

The final playoff berth could come down to Georgia and Notre Dame.

Of course, the CFP committee has been known to drop teams in the rankings, even after a victory. For example, national schedule rankings compiled by Jeff Sagarin and Cody Kellner have Notre Dame 12th and ninth, respectively, and Clemson fourth and 10th. The AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll are identical in the top four, with #Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, and Wisconsin leading the charge.

Regardless of Tuesday's rankings, reaction should be subdued. LSU-Alabama and Virginia Tech-Miami (FL) will also have major stakes that could shake up the rankings.

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