Oct 28, 2019

LSU edges past Alabama to become college football's new No. 1

Data: AP; Table: Axios Visuals

LSU swapped places with Alabama in this week's AP poll to become the nation's new No. 1 team.

The state of play: The two rivals both have byes this week but will play each other in Tuscaloosa two Saturdays from now in what looks to be the first regular-season AP No. 1 vs. No. 2 meeting since their 9-6 game in 2011.

Meanwhile: Oklahoma became the third top-six team in the past three weeks to lose to an unranked opponent, falling at Kansas State and dropping five spots to No. 10. And it didn't help them that Texas lost and fell out of the top 25, either.

  • Yes, but: 14 of the past 20 College Football Playoff semifinalists had a loss, so the Sooners aren't dead. They just need some serious help (i.e. run the table and beat a ranked team in the Big 12 title game, at the very least).

The big picture: The eight-point margin between the top three teams is the closest since 1978. But it's a toss-up after that, with vastly different teams résumé-wise vying for that fourth and final spot in the playoff.

  • The rankings don't show it, but Georgia had a brutal bye week. Their marquee win is against Notre Dame (destroyed by Michigan) and their biggest loss was to South Carolina (lost by 20 to lowly Tennessee).
  • Minnesota is 8-0 for the first time since 1941 and will be off this week before hosting undefeated Penn State two Saturdays from now in the program's biggest game in decades.

In: No. 22 Kansas State and No. 24 Memphis returned to the rankings after brief stints earlier this season, while No. 25 San Diego State entered the top 25 for the first time since 2017.

  • Out: Texas fell out of the rankings for the first time this season after losing to unranked TCU, while Iowa State (lost to Oklahoma State) and Arizona State (lost to UCLA) also dropped out.

Saturday's slate:

  • (8) Georgia at (6) Florida
  • (15) SMU at (24) Memphis
  • (7) Oregon at USC

What's next: The first CFP rankings come out in a week. With Oklahoma's loss, consider the potential debate over the following one-loss teams come Selection Day:

  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • The loser of LSU-Alabama (Nov. 9)
  • The loser of Penn State-Ohio State (Nov. 23)

Go deeper

CFP rankings: LSU on top, Georgia edges Alabama

Photo: Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Fresh off its victory in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, LSU finds itself atop this week's College Football Playoff rankings, while No. 4 Georgia edged No. 5 Alabama to break into the top four.

Rounding out the top 10: No. 6 Oregon and No. 7 Utah both moved up one spot, while Minnesota's win over Penn State vaulted them nine spots to No. 8. The loss dropped Penn State to No. 9, followed by Oklahoma at No. 10.

Go deeperArrowNov 13, 2019

Ohio State tops the first CFP rankings

Screenshot: YouTube

The College Football Playoff committee released its first of five official rankings Tuesday, with Ohio State taking the top spot and Penn State somewhat surprisingly coming in at No. 4, one spot ahead of Clemson.

Why it matters: In every year of the playoff except for the first one, a team in the CFP committee's initial top four rankings won the national championship.

Go deeperArrowNov 6, 2019

Alabama and LSU's matchup is hyped as the "Game of the Century"

llustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The LSU Tigers visit the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday in the first regular-season AP No. 1 vs. No. 2 meeting since their game eight years ago.

Why it matters: Interestingly enough, the very thing they helped birth — a system where humans, not computers, rank the nation's best teams — has LSU and Alabama at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, in the playoff rankings.

Go deeperArrowNov 8, 2019