Florida drops only one spot to No. 7 in College Football Playoff rankings after LSU loss

Nick Bromberg
·3 min read

Does Iowa State have a chance at the College Football Playoff?

The Cyclones moved up to No. 6 in Tuesday night’s rankings after Florida lost to LSU. The Gators fell just one spot to No. 7 after their second loss of the season. The top five remained Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson, Ohio State and Texas A&M, in that order.

Iowa State plays Oklahoma for the Big 12 title on Saturday and would move to 10-2 with a win. But it’s going to take a lot more than a win for the Cyclones to make the playoff. How will ISU move up?

Could the Cyclones jump No. 3 Clemson if the Tigers lose again to No. 2 Notre Dame in the ACC title game? Maybe if the ACC championship is a blowout. Maybe. But ISU needs to make up two spots.

That means ISU would have to jump Clemson and either Ohio State or Texas A&M. The Buckeyes play Northwestern for the Big Ten title while Texas A&M plays Tennessee. Can either of the heavy underdogs pull the upset?

And what happens if Florida wins? The Gators’ path to the playoff seemingly still exists despite that LSU loss. A convincing win over No. 1 Alabama probably vaults the Gators back over the Cyclones in the rankings and maybe even over Texas A&M. How would you rank a two-loss Florida that won the SEC against a two-loss Clemson that only lost to Notre Dame for a spot in the playoff? And how would a Big 12 champion Iowa State fit into that?

It’d be a fascinating conversation. Even if it’s highly unlikely to happen.

GAINESVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 12: Eli Ricks #1 of the LSU Tigers makes a tackle against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on December 12, 2020 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Gus Stark/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)
Florida fell just one spot to No. 7 after losing to LSU. (Photo by Gus Stark/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)

Cincinnati keeps dropping

Cincinnati is 8-0 and hasn’t played in nearly a month. And that lack of recent playing time is clearly hurting the Bearcats.

Cincinnati is down to No. 9 in the rankings this week after it was No. 7 just two weeks ago. The Bearcats dropped behind Iowa State on Dec. 8 and then behind Georgia on Tuesday night.

Cincy has looked like a top-10 team when it’s been on the field. The Bearcats won every game by 14 or more points until a three-point win on the road at a 6-3 UCF on Nov. 21. But it hasn’t played since then because of COVID-19 cancellations. If Cincinnati had won a game in the last couple of weeks, it’s hard to see how the Bearcats would be behind three two-loss teams.

“One of the things that holds Cincinnati back ... they don’t have a win against a top-25 [team],” playoff committee chairman Gary Barta said.

Coastal Carolina up to No. 12

The Bearcats’ one-spot drop and a one-spot jump for Coastal Carolina in the rankings means that the Chanticleers have a real shot at getting the Group of Five conference spot in a New Year’s Six bowl game.

Coastal is now at No. 12 after beating Troy on Saturday. The top team from outside the Power Five conferences gets an automatic spot in a major bowl game. And if Coastal beats No. 19 Louisiana while Cincinnati loses to No. 23 Tulsa, it’s highly conceivable that Coastal Carolina will be ahead of the Bearcats in the final set of rankings.

Full rankings

1. Alabama (10-0)

2. Notre Dame (10-0)

3. Clemson (9-1)

4. Ohio State (5-0)

5. Texas A&M (7-1)

6. Iowa State (8-2)

7. Florida (8-2)

8. Georgia (7-2)

9. Cincinnati (8-0)

10. Oklahoma (7-2)

11. Indiana (6-1)

12. Coastal Carolina (11-0)

13. USC (5-0)

14. Northwestern (6-1)

15. North Carolina (8-3)

16. Iowa (6-2)

17. BYU (10-1)

18. Miami (8-2)

19. Louisiana (9-1)

20. Texas (6-3)

21. Oklahoma State (7-3)

22. NC State (8-3)

23. Tulsa (6-1)

24. San Jose State (6-0)

25. Colorado (4-1)

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