Stanford rises to 9th, Irish fall to 6th

The steady and successful play of Oklahoma and Iowa was rewarded Tuesday as both teams moved into the top four in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings.

The Sooners (9-1) and Hawkeyes (10-0) fall in at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively, behind top-ranked Clemson and No. 2 Alabama. The two teams moved up at the expense of Ohio State and Notre Dame.

Stanford is No. 9 ahead of its home showdown Saturday against Notre Dame, which fell from fourth to sixth after a three-point win over a three-win Boston College team at Fenway Park. The ramifications hurt the Cardinal: Even If Stanford beats the Irish, then beats either USC or UCLA in the Pac-12 championship game, the chances are unlikely of a quantum leap into the national semifinals on New Year’s Eve.

Ohio State, the reigning national champ, stood at No. 3 in each of the previous CFP rankings this season, but a heartbreaking loss to Michigan State (which rose to No. 5 this week) sent the Buckeyes spiraling down to No. 8 this week. Ohio State faces Jim Harbaugh and rival Michigan (No. 10) on Saturday at The Big House.

Another matchup that could lead to a CFP shakeup is the Bedlam game between Oklahoma and No. 11 Oklahoma State. The Cowboys tumbled five spots after losing to Big 12 rival Baylor for their first loss of the season. The victory pushed the Bears up from No. 10 to No. 7 in this week’s poll. While Oklahoma State fell out of the top ten this week, a win over the arch rival Sooners could serve as a shot in the arm while dashing any hopes Oklahoma has of vying for a national title.

While the Big 12 is filled with CFP possibilities, the SEC is taking some hits. Florida at No. 12 is the second-highest ranked school from the conference behind No. 2 Alabama. There are only two other entries from the SEC in this week’s rankings with in-state foes Ole Miss at No. 18 and Mississippi State at No. 21.

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