The Ohio State Buckeyes remained No. 2 in the College Football Playoff ranking Tuesday as the selection committee released the fifth of six sets of rankings. The final ranking, in which the four playoff semifinalists will be announced, comes out at noon Sunday on ESPN.
Most experts believe Ohio State (11-1), even though it won’t play for the Big Ten championship, stamped its ticket for the playoffs with a 30-27 victory over Michigan in double overtime Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
“It’s highly unlikely for Ohio State to move from No. 2 to No. 5 without playing in the Big Ten championship,” ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, a Centerville native and former OSU quarterback, said on the playoff-ranking broadcast.
No team has made the playoff in the first two years of its existence without winning a conference championship.
Even without a Big Ten championship, Ohio State has a resume second to none. It has victories over three teams in the top 10: No. 5 Michigan; No. 6 Wisconsin; and No. 9 Oklahoma. Its only loss is to No. 7 Penn State.
After losing to Ohio State, Michigan dropped two spots. Clemson moved from No. 4 to No. 3. Washington moved from No. 5 to No. 4. Wisconsin’s and Penn State’s places in the rankings didn’t change.
The Buckeyes ranked sixth in the first playoff rankings and then climbed to fifth. They have been No. 2 for three straight weeks.
Alabama (12-0) ranked No. 1 for the fifth straight week. The Crimson Tide and No. 17 Western Michigan (12-0) are the only undefeated teams left in the ranking.
The games to watch this weekend in regards to the playoff rankings are:
• Pac 12 championship game: No. 8 Colorado vs. No. 4 Washington, 9 p.m. Friday.
• SEC championship game: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 15 Florida, 4 p.m. Saturday.
• ACC championship game: No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 23 Virginia Tech, 8 p.m. Saturday.
• Big Ten championship game: No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 7 Penn State, 8 p.m. Saturday.
Here is the complete top 25: 1. Alabama; 2. Ohio State; 3. Clemson; 4. Washington; 5. Michigan; 6. Wisconsin; 7. Penn State; 8. Colorado; 9. Oklahoma 10. Oklahoma State; 11. Southern California; 12. Florida State; 13. Louisville; 14. Auburn; 15. Florida; 16. West Virginia; 17. Western Michigan; 18. Stanford; 19. Navy; 20. Utah; 21. LSU; 22. Tennessee; 23. Virginia Tech; 24. Houston; 25. Pittsburgh.