College Football Playoff rankings: Washington moves to No. 4, jumping Florida State

There was movement in the top five of the College Football Playoff rankings for a second straight week.

Last week we saw Georgia jump up to No. 1 in the CFP selection committee’s Top 25. This week, Washington moved past Florida State in the rankings. UW moved up one spot to No. 4 following its 22-20 road win over Oregon State (which fell five spots to No. 16), while FSU dropped down to No. 5.

The Huskies and Seminoles are two of the five remaining undefeated teams from Power Five conferences and slotted in behind No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan, whose rankings did not change. Washington picked up its fourth ranked win in the last six weeks while FSU took care of business at home vs. North Alabama but lost star quarterback Jordan Travis to a season-ending leg injury in the process.

Ohio State and Michigan will meet this Saturday in Ann Arbor, so the loser of that game will fall in the rankings and allow Washington and Florida State to move up as long as they win their rivalry games vs. Washington State and Florida, respectively.

Boo Corrigan, the chair of the CFP selection committee, said on ESPN that Washington's performance at Oregon State was the main reason for the committee's decision and that Travis' injury "didn't have any impact" on the rankings.

"It really was about what Washington did this past weekend in going up to Reser Stadium, a tough place to play. Their defense has come around and played well the past six quarters, giving up a total of 20 points. As we looked at Washington over the course of the season and looked at Florida State this past week in Week 12 we decided to put Washington ahead," Corrigan said.

Corrigan said the committee did not want to project how FSU would look in future weeks with Travis on the sideline. The group's job is to evaluate these teams based on where they are right now. However, Corrigan noted that player availability can be taken into account ahead of the final rankings, which will be decided following conference championship weekend.

"That’s what the next couple weeks are going to be about is continuing to watch Florida State and watch how they do. They’ve got a couple tough games against Florida down in the Swamp and then the ACC championship. We’ve got two more evaluation points that are going to come in the next two weeks," Corrigan said.

"We’re not projecting into what it’s going to be the following week. That’s not what our job is. When we get after the championship games, we need to take everything into account. At which point we can look at who’s going to be available and who’s not going to be available and combine that with the previous 12 weeks, 13 weeks counting the conference championship game, and the statistical analysis and everything. In total, we’re going to look at everything."

Oregon, Texas, Alabama stay in same spots

Elsewhere, No. 6 Oregon, No. 7 Texas and No. 8 Alabama — all now 10-1 — remained at the same spot in the rankings, but Louisville (also 10-1) stayed at No. 10 even after a road win over Miami. Missouri needed a last-second field goal to beat Florida at home, but stayed at No. 9 ahead of Louisville even with two losses.

Each of those one-loss teams can keep their CFP hopes alive with wins this weekend. Oregon, if it beats Oregon State, will clinch a spot in the Pac-12 title game vs. Washington. Texas will advance to the Big 12 title game with a win over Texas Tech and Alabama needs to avoid an upset at the hands of Auburn in the Iron Bowl before facing Georgia in the SEC championship game.

Louisville has already clinched a spot in the ACC title game, where it will meet Florida State. To keep their playoff hopes alive, the Cardinals need to beat rival Kentucky this weekend.

Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) dodges Oregon State linebacker Easton Mascarenas-Arnold (5) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Corvallis, Ore. (AP Photo/Mark Ylen)
Michael Penix Jr. and his Washington Huskies moved up to No. 4 in this week's CFP rankings after a win at Oregon State last week.

Other takeaways from new CFP rankings

Liberty, the only other undefeated team in the FBS, made its debut in the Top 25 at No. 25.

Previously an independent program, Liberty is now a member of a new-look Conference USA. Because of their poor strength of schedule, the Flames hadn't appeared in the rankings until now despite being undefeated. Now they will be in the mix to be the Group of Five representative in the New Year's Six bowl games as long as they beat UTEP this weekend and then handle New Mexico State in the Conference USA title game.

To get to a New Year's Six bowl game, Liberty also needs some help from the American Athletic Conference. Tulane is the highest-ranked Group of Five team at No. 23. The Green Wave will host UTSA this weekend for a spot in the AAC title game. The winner will likely face SMU. If Tulane loses, the AAC champion will have at least two losses, which could be a boost for Liberty.

Elsewhere, Arizona continued its climb and is now No. 15 after a blowout win over Utah on Saturday. The Wildcats can still get to Pac-12 title game if they beat Arizona State and Oregon is upset by Oregon State this weekend.

Other notable rankings included No. 19 Kansas State being one spot ahead of No. 20 Oklahoma State despite their head-to-head result — a 29-21 Oklahoma State win.

Tennessee, despite losing in blowout fashion for the second straight week, only fell three spots to No. 21. And Clemson, which has quietly won three games in a row, is ranked No. 24. Notably, Clemson's presence in the rankings adds another ranked victory to Florida State's resume.

Full College Football Playoff rankings

  1. Georgia (11-0)

  2. Ohio State (11-0)

  3. Michigan (11-0)

  4. Washington (11-0)

  5. Florida State (11-0)

  6. Oregon (10-1)

  7. Texas (10-1)

  8. Alabama (10-1)

  9. Missouri (9-2)

  10. Louisville (10-1)

  11. Penn State (9-2)

  12. Ole Miss (9-2)

  13. Oklahoma (9-2)

  14. LSU (8-3)

  15. Arizona (8-3)

  16. Oregon State (8-3)

  17. Iowa (9-2)

  18. Notre Dame (8-3)

  19. Kansas State (8-3)

  20. Oklahoma State (8-3)

  21. Tennessee (7-4)

  22. NC State (8-3)

  23. Tulane (10-1)

  24. Clemson (7-4)

  25. Liberty (11-0)