Oklahoma, Iowa join mainstays Clemson and Alabama in CFP top four

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The steady and successful play of Oklahomaand Iowawas rewarded Tuesday, as both teams moved into the top four in this week's College Football Playoff rankings.

The Sooners (10-1) and Hawkeyes (11-0) fall in at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively, behind top-ranked Clemsonand No. 2 Alabama. The two teams moved up at the expense of Ohio Stateand Notre Dame.

The reigning champs 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.

A three-point win over a three-win Boston College team wasn't good enough in the committee's eyes for the Fighting Irish to stay in the top four, and they settled in at No. 6.

Both teams have chances this weekend to re-stake their claims to CFP spots, with Ohio State facing rival Michigan(No. 10) at The Big House and Notre Dame traveling to take on ninth-ranked Stanford.

With wins this weekend, Iowa and Michigan State would meet in the Big Ten championship game in what would amount to a CFP play-in game.

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 Baylorfor their first loss of the season.The victory pushed the Bears up from No. 10 to No. 7 in this week's poll. Although Oklahoma State fell out of the top 10 this week, a win over the archrival Sooners could serve as a shot in the arm while dashing any hopes Oklahoma has of vying for the national title.

While the Big 12 is filled with CFP possibilities, the SEC is taking some hits. At No. 12,Floridais 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 Missat No. 18 and Mississippi Stateat No. 21.

The ACC has back-to-back entries with Florida Statemoving up one spot to No. 13 and North Carolinaclimbing three notches to No. 14. The Tar Heels, winners of 10 straight, can make a huge statement in two weeks if they can knock off top-ranked Clemson in Charlotte.

At No. 15, Navyremains the highest-ranked team from outside the Power 5 conferences. Following the Midshipmen and rounding out the top 20 are Northwestern, Oregon, Ole Miss, TCU and Washington State.

Mississippi State is back in the rankings after a one-week hiatus and is followed by a pair of Pac-12 teams (UCLAand Utah) and a pair of non-Power 5 teams (Toledoand Temple).

Houston, which had been in the running with Navy as the best team from a Group of 5 conference, fell from No. 19 to completely out of the rankings after UConndealt the Cougars their first defeat of the season.

The committee of 12 people was operating with just 11 this week as member Mike Tranghese was under the weather, according to CFP chairman Jeff Long.

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