Bob Wojnowski and Angelique Chengelis recap Michigan-Penn State. The Detroit News


Michigan’s last two victories, including a 42-7 rout of Penn State last Saturday, impressed the College Football Playoff committee enough to push the Wolverines into the No. 4 spot in the new rankings released Tuesday night. Georgia is No. 5 and Oklahoma No. 6.

The top four are Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan. LSU’s loss to Alabama dropped the Tigers from the top four and made room for the Wolverines (8-1, 6-0 Big Ten).

“You look at Michigan, and Shea Patterson continues to improve in that offense,” CFP chair Rob Mullen said Tuesday night on a conference call. “They’ve looked really good the last two weeks, a dominant win over Penn State and a win over Michigan State in their previous game.

“Georgia also has back-to-back impressive wins. Georgia’s defense continues to be strong. But again after 10 weeks, the committee felt 8-1 Michigan deserved the four spot above an 8-1 Georgia.”

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Michigan’s only loss was to Notre Dame in South Bend in the season opener.

“At three and four you have a head-to-head,” Mullen said. “And at this point, as you look at the protocol through Week 10, head-to-head still matters and is still significant. That’s why Notre Dame is ahead of Michigan.”

Michigan, which has three regular-season games remaining – the Wolverines are huge favorites on the road at Rutgers on Saturday – were ranked No. 5 in the first CFP rankings announced last week.

The Wolverines would have to win their final three regular-season games – against Rutgers, Indiana and Ohio State – and win the Big Ten championship game on Dec. 1 to likely have a clear path to the Dec. 29 national semifinals (Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl).

The top four teams in the final CFP rankings on Dec. 2 will be in the playoff. The Wolverines have never played in the College Football Playoff since it began in 2014. The national championship game is Jan. 7 in Santa Clara, Calif.


1. Alabama 9-0

2. Clemson 9-0

3. Notre Dame 9-0

4. Michigan 8-1

5. Georgia 8-1

6. Oklahoma 8-1

7. LSU 7-2

8. Washington State 8-1 

9. West Virginia 7-1

10. Ohio State 8-1

11. Kentucky 7-2

12. UCF 8-0

13. Syracuse 7-2

14. N.C. State 6-2

15. Florida 6-3

16. Mississippi State 6-3

17. Boston College 7-2

18. Michigan State 6-3

19. Texas 6-3

20. Penn State 6-3

21. Iowa 6-3

22. Iowa State 5-3

23. Fresno State 8-1

24. Auburn 6-3

25. Washington 7-3