At long last, LSU’s resume wasn’t enough to keep the Tigers in front of Ohio State.
LSU slipped to No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday evening. The 11-0 Tigers were eclipsed by the 11-0 Buckeyes after Ohio State beat then No. 8 Penn State 28-17 Saturday while LSU was routing struggling Arkansas (now 2-9) 56-20.
Clemson (also 11-0) and Georgia round out the top four in the CFP top 25.
- Ohio State
- Penn State
Texas A&M (7-4), which plays LSU on Saturday in Tiger Stadium (6 p.m., ESPN) is not ranked. Ohio State, meanwhile, travels to No. 13 Michigan for their annual rivalry game.
There was speculation that Ohio State, whose strength of schedule has been consistently behind LSU’s, might push past the Tigers with a strong finishing kick that would include three straight ranked teams. The Buckeyes will play Minnesota or Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Regardless the outcome of the Texas A&M game, LSU will play Georgia on Dec. 7 in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. The Bulldogs (10-1) would likely have to beat LSU to stay in the CFP top four, while LSU may be able to hang onto a playoff spot even with a loss.
If the season ended today, LSU would likely be paired with Clemson in the CFP semifinals while Ohio State would play Georgia. The question then becomes one of geography.
With the Peach Bowl hosting one of the semifinals, a Georgia team that was in would be seen to have an unfair geographic advantage playing in Atlanta only an hour away from its campus. That could push a theoretical Ohio State-Georgia game to the Fiesta Bowl while LSU and Clemson would play in the Peach.
Both games will be played Dec. 28, with the Fiesta Bowl site in Glendale, Arizona. LSU played New Year’s Day in the Fiesta, beating UCF 40-32.
The Peach and Fiesta bowl winners meet Jan. 13 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the CFP National Championship Game.
While the battle for the top seed is brewing, the jockeying for the No. 4 seed is perhaps even more intense.
Alabama (10-1), which LSU beat 46-41 earlier this month, remains right in contention. But the Crimson Tide can’t play in the SEC Championship Game and could get boxed out by a one-loss champion from the Pac-12 if Utah wins the championship or from the Big 12 if Oklahoma or Baylor emerges with only one loss. But Bama had one obstacle removed from its path last week when Oregon, No. 6 in the rankings last week, fell out of contention with a 31-28 upset at Arizona State.
There are just two CFP rankings to go: 6 p.m. Dec. 3 and 11 a.m. Dec. 8, which is when the CFP final four teams will be announced. All rankings will be shown on ESPN.
Remaining CFP rankings schedule
• Tuesday, Dec. 3, 6 p.m.
• Sunday, Dec. 8 (Selection Day), 11 a.m.
All rankings will be announced on ESPN