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College Football Playoff Top 25 Takeaways: The Top Four is (Almost) Set, Ohio State Still Has Hope and High Stakes in AAC Title Game

Blake Corum, Michigan Wolverines Football

The fifth rankings from the College Football Playoff selection committee were released on Tuesday night. Georgia took the top spot, followed by Michigan at No. 2, TCU at No. 3 and USC at No. 4 in the next two places.

What are the key takeaways and things to know from the fifth top 25 that was unveiled on Nov. 29? Here's everything you need to know:

Top Takeaways from Nov. 29 Rankings

The Playoff Field is Clear...if Favorites Win
If the favorites win this weekend, the top four should be clear for Sunday's announcement. Georgia and Michigan will take the top two spots, followed by TCU and USC at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively. That puts USC-Georgia in the Peach Bowl and TCU-Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl - provided all four teams win their championship games. The season has produced a ton of drama down the stretch with upsets and debates over which four teams should be in. However, the committee would have it easy if those four teams win out.

But if USC Loses...Ohio State?
If USC is defeated by Utah, could the Buckeyes jump the Trojans back into the top four? A blowout loss to Michigan certainly hurt Ohio State's chances, but the resume still includes wins over Notre Dame and Penn State. If USC loses, the committee's toughest decision will be which team is No. 4.

Alabama is Out of the Playoff
Michigan's blowout win in Columbus, along with losses by LSU and Clemson, opened the door to a potential two-loss Alabama team making the CFB Playoff. However, with the Crimson Tide behind Ohio State, there's no possibility of coach Nick Saban's team jumping the Buckeyes for the last spot – if USC loses to Utah. Alabama will play in a New Year's Six bowl but are officially out of the playoff. 

Winner of the AAC Title Game Will Play in the Cotton Bowl
Tulane and UCF are the only ranked teams from the Group of 5 conferences. Without Troy or UTSA making the rankings this week, it's clear the winner of the American Athletic Conference title game between Tulane and UCF will earn a trip to the Cotton Bowl.

New Year's Six and Playoff Projections Using Top 25 From CFB Playoff Committee

Peach: Georgia vs. USC
Fiesta: Michigan vs. TCU

Rose: Utah vs. Ohio State
Sugar: Alabama vs. Kansas State
Cotton: Tulane vs. Penn State
Orange: Clemson vs. Tennessee

Five Games in Week 14 That Will Impact the Rankings the Most for Next Week

1. Utah vs. USC - Pac-12 Championship, Friday, Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. ET
2. Kansas State vs. TCU - Big 12 Championship, Saturday, Dec. 3 at Noon ET
3. LSU vs. Georgia - SEC Championship, Saturday, Dec. 3 at 4 p.m. ET
4. Purdue vs. Michigan - Big Ten Championship, Saturday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. ET
5. UCF at Tulane - AAC Championship, Saturday, Dec. 3 at 4 p.m. ET

Full Top 25 from the CFB Playoff Selection Committee (Nov. 29)

1. Georgia (12-0)
2. Michigan (12-0)
3. TCU (12-0)
4. USC (11-1)
5. Ohio State (11-1)
6. Alabama (10-2)
7. Tennessee (10-2)
8. Penn State (10-2)
9. Clemson (10-2)
10. Kansas State (9-3)
11. Utah (9-3)
12. Washington (10-2)
13. Florida State (9-3)
14. LSU (9-3)
15. Oregon State (9-3)
16. Oregon (9-3)
17. UCLA (9-3)
18. Tulane (10-2)
19. South Carolina (8-4)
20. Texas (8-4)
21. Notre Dame (8-4)
22. UCF (9-3)
23. North Carolina (9-3)
24. Mississippi State (8-4)
25. NC State (8-4)