Clemson, the defending national champions, held their spot at no. 3 in the latest College Football Playoff Rankings released, Tuesday night. The Tigers were idle while LSU defeated hapless Arkansas, 56-20, and Ohio State beat Penn State, 28-17. The Playoff Committee rewarded the Buckeyes for defeating another ranked opponent. The Nittany Lions were 8th in last week’s CFB Playoff Rankings before falling to Justin Fields, J.K. Dobbins and company. Penn State is 10th in this week’s Rankings.
Clemson has its rivalry game this week against South Carolina in Columbia. Ohio State is also squaring off against its top adversary, Michigan. LSU plays host to Texas A&M. Clemson defeated the Aggies earlier this season, 24-10.
It can be argued that Clemson has the best path to clinching a spot in the top 4. The Tigers have South Carolina and a Coastal division representative standing in its way. Clemson is a 26.5-point favorite over the Gamecocks and will be a heavy favorite over the Coastal representative, whether it be Virginia or Virginia Tech. LSU plays Texas A&M before Georgia in the SEC Championship. Ohio State has a grudge match against Michigan before facing either Wisconsin or Minnesota in the Big Ten Championship. Its likely Clemson will avoid a ranked opponent before reaching the College Football Playoffs.
While Clemson, LSU, Ohio State and Georgia likely control their own destiny, there’s a group of teams ranked fifth through ninth that need to keep winning and hope the right team loses in front of them.