Michigan State jumped 12 spots in the College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday night, landing at No. 12 after debuting at No. 24 in the initial rankings a week earlier.
The playoff committee was clearly impressed by the Spartans’ 27-24 victory over then-No. 7 Penn State on Saturday.
Michigan was not ranked in the top 25.
Georgia (9-0, 6-0 SEC) remained atop this week’s rankings, followed by Alabama (9-0, 6-0 SEC), Notre Dame (8-1) and Clemson (8-1, 6-1 ACC).
Oklahoma (8-1, 5-1 Big 12) also remained steady in the fifth spot after the Sooners’ thrilling 62-52 win over Oklahoma State Saturday in the Bedlam series.
But things got interesting after Oklahoma, with Ohio State and Penn State among two of nine ranked teams to suffer losses Saturday.
That opened the door for TCU (8-1, 5-1 Big 12) to move up two spots to sixth, followed by a pair of undefeated teams in Miami (8-0, 6-0 ACC) and Wisconsin (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten) at No. 7 and No. 8.
Washington (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12) and Auburn (7-2, 5-1) round out the top 10 this week.
No. 11 USC, No. 12 Michigan State, No. 13 Ohio State, No. 14 Penn State and No. 15 Oklahoma State were next in line.
UCF (8-0, 5-0 AAC) is the highest-ranked among the non-autonomous conferences, staying at No. 18 for the second consecutive week.
This year marks the first time Central Florida has ever made a playoff ranking appearance.
If UCF can hold its position, it will lock in the Group of 5 New Year’s Six bid in the Peach Bowl.
This is the second of six rankings released by the 13-member selection committee.
The final poll will be revealed live on ESPN at noon Sunday, Dec. 3.
The top four teams qualify for the two semifinal games, which will be held at the Rose and Sugar bowls on New Year’s Day.
The winners will meet in the national championship game on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018 at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The remaining games comprise the New Year’s Six access bowl games — Orange, Cotton, Peach and Fiesta — which will select the highest-ranked remaining teams that fill their criteria.
The quarterback carousel at Maryland keeps churning round and round, and again this week there is uncertainty about who will be on board when it stops to face Michigan on Saturday.
Former third-stringer Max Bortenschlager is recovering from a jarring hit that took him out of last week’s 31-24 loss to Rutgers. Ryan Brand made his debut in that game, and could become the Terrapins’ fourth different starter this season.
“Nothing definitive yet. Probably a game-time decision,” coach DJ Durkin said Tuesday. “It’s nothing we haven’t been through before.”
The quarterback shuffle began in the first game of the year, when Tyrrell Pigrome tore his ACL against Texas. Two weeks later, Kasim Hill’s season ended with a knee injury, opening the door for Bortenschlager to take control of the offense.
Bortenschlager exited with a concussion in a loss to Ohio State in the fifth game of the year, but he recovered in time to face Northwestern the following week. He fared well until last Saturday, when he hurt either his head or shoulder — Durkin isn’t saying which — during a third-down run.
Brand, who still isn’t listed on the two-deep depth chart, entered for Maryland’s final possession. He deftly led a 16-play drive that ended with an incomplete pass in the end zone, only after he had a touchdown throw called back because of holding.
Brand went 8 for 12 for 68 yards. Just as impressive: his poise in the huddle.
“Once he came in he was calm. We put a good drive together,” Terrapins receiver DJ Moore said.
Should Brand be called upon against Michigan (7-2, 5-1 Big Ten), the former walk-on almost certainly will be up to the task.
“That’s a guy who prepares the right way,” Durkin said. “He’s a leader, very mature.”
1. Georgia, 9-0 (last week: 1)
2. Alabama, 9-0 (2)
3. Notre Dame, 8-1 (3)
4. Clemson, 8-1 (4)
5. Oklahoma, 8-1 (5)
6. TCU, 8-1 (8)
7. Miami, 8-0 (10)
8. Wisconsin, 9-0 (9)
9. Washington, 8-1 (12)
10. Auburn, 7-2 (14)
11. Southern Cal, 8-2 (17)
12. Michigan State, 7-2 (24)
13. Ohio State, 7-2 (6)
14. Penn State, 7-2 (7)
15. Oklahoma State, 7-2 (11)
16. Mississippi State, 7-2 (16)
17. Virginia Tech, 7-2 (13)
18. UCF, 8-0 (18)
19. Washington State, 8-2 (25)
20. Iowa, 6-3 (NR)
21. Iowa State, 6-3 (15)
22. Memphis, 8-1 (23)
23. N.C. State, 6-3 (20)
24. LSU, 6-3 (19)
25. Northwestern, 6-3 (NR)
Dropped out: No. 21 Stanford, No. 22 Arizona