Big Ten has four of top 7 in fourth College Football Playoff rankings

Big Ten has four of top 7 in fourth College Football Playoff rankings

The College Football Playoff committee released its fourth rankings Tuesday night. The Top Four remains unchanged: No. 1 Alabama; No. 2 Ohio State; No. 3 Michigan; No. 4 Clemson.

The Big Ten remains well-represented, owning four of the top 7 teams, with No. 6 Wisconsin and No. 7 Penn State sitting just outside the top 5. No. 16 Nebraska rounds out the Big Ten’s contingent.

Ohio State is still sitting pretty to perhaps earn a playoff spot even if the Buckeyes don’t win the Big Ten East–as long as they beat Michigan. But OSU still can win the East by toppling visiting Michigan and having Michigan State win at Penn State.

The Wolverines’ path to the East title is clearer: Win at Ohio State for the first time since 2000, and Michigan is in the Big Ten title game.

Wisconsin is primed to win the West by taking down visiting Minnesota on Saturday. If it wins the Big Ten, even with two losses, it would figure to earn a playoff spot.

For Penn State, its best-case scenario to make the playoff is to get two Big Ten teams get into the event. And for that to happen, the Nits need Ohio State to beat Michigan. That win would get Penn State into the Big Ten title game, and if the Nittany Lions beat Wisconsin, then they likely would need No. 5 Washington to lose at some point as well. If that happens, then the committee wouldn’t have to decide between a one-loss Ohio State or a two-loss Penn State for the final spot. Both would probably get in.

View the full poll below.

Playoff Selection Committee Poll
Rankings as of 11/22/2016
Rank School Prev
1 Alabama (11-0) 1
2 Ohio State (10-1) 2
3 Michigan (10-1) 3
4 Clemson (10-1) 4
5 Washington (10-1) 6
6 Wisconsin (9-2) 7
7 Penn State (9-2) 8
8 Oklahoma (9-2) 9
9 Colorado (9-2) 10
10 Oklahoma State (9-2) 11
11 Louisville (9-2) 5
12 USC (8-3) 13
13 Auburn (8-3) 15
14 Florida State (8-3) 17
15 Florida (8-2) 23
16 Nebraska (9-2) 18
17 Tennessee (8-3) 19
18 West Virginia (8-2) 14
19 Boise State (10-1) 20
20 Houston (9-2) NR
21 Western Michigan (11-0) 21
22 Utah (8-3) 12
23 Washington State (8-3) 22
24 Stanford (8-3) 24
25 Navy (8-2) NR
Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer

About Tom Dienhart: senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, and send him questions to his weekly mailbag.