TCU moved up to No. 3 in the final College Football Playoff rankings before the teams are selected to play in the national semifinals, becoming the latest team to jump past undefeated Florida State.
The Seminoles are fourth, still in position to reach the playoff if it can win Saturday’s Atlantic Coast Conference championship game against No. 11 Georgia Tech.
Alabama is No. 1 and Oregon is second for the third straight week. The Crimson Tide plays 16th-ranked Missouri in the Southeastern Conference championship game, and Oregon faces Arizona in the Pac-12 title game.
The Wildcats’ five-spot jump to seventh sets up a possible play-in game in Santa Clara, California, on Friday night. The Wildcats already have beaten Oregon in Eugene and could make another big jump by doing so again.
TCU finishes its regular season at home Saturday against Iowa State, which is winless in the Big 12.
It would seem the top four would be fairly well set as long as each wins this weekend, but committee chairman Jeff Long, the athletic director at Arkansas, said it would be premature to project out because the committee doesn’t.
“We’re waiting for teams to complete their body of work,” he said.
Ohio State, which lost its Heisman Trophy-contending quarterback J.T. Barrett to a broken ankle last week, is fifth, and Baylor, which beat TCU earlier in the season, is sixth.
Long said the committee did not factor in Barrett’s injury this week but will when the final rankings come out Sunday. The Buckeyes face Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game.
Baylor finishes its regular season at home against Kansas State, ninth in the latest rankings.
The Horned Frogs and Bears would be co-champions of the Big 12 if both win out. The conference has said it will not designate a champion via a tiebreaker.
The committee’s selection protocol requires conference championships be taken into the consideration when judging teams with similar resumes.
Boise State is the highest ranked — and only ranked — team from outside the Big Five conferences, which puts the Broncos (10-2) in position to receive a bid to one of the four New Year’s Day bowls.