In this Dec. 5, 2009, photo Alabama defensive back Rod Woodson (18), linebacker Jonathan Atchison, center, and defensive lineman Darrington Sentimore (94) celebrate after their 32-13 win over Florida in the NCAA college football SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. A House panel will debate and vote on a bill on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009, that would ban the promotion of a postseason NCAA Division I football game as a national championship unless it's the outcome of a playoff. The vote on the legislation by Texas Rep. Joe Barton, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, comes just three days after college football officials announced the BCS selections, including the Jan. 7 national title game between No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Texas. (AP Photo/John Amis)


1. Alabama (12-0)

2. Ohio State (11-1)

3. Clemson (11-1)

4. Washington (11-1)

5. Michigan (10-2)

6. Wisconsin (10-2)

7. Penn State (10-2)

8. Colorado (10-2)

9. Oklahoma (9-2)

10. Oklahoma State (9-2)

11. Southern California (9-3)

12. Florida State (9-3)

13. Louisville (9-3)

14. Auburn (8-4)

15. Florida (8-3)

16. West Virginia (9-2)

17. Western Michigan (12-0)

18. Stanford (9-3)

19. Navy (9-2)

20. Utah (8-4)

21. LSU (7-4)

22. Tennessee (8-4)

23. Virginia Tech (9-3)

24. Houston (9-3)

25. Pittsburgh (8-4)

Alabama maintained the top spot in the college football playoff rankings following last Saturday's 30-12 win over Auburn, but the losing Tigers are sitting pretty as far as a berth to the Sugar Bowl is concerned.

The Crimson Tide, the nation's only 12-0 team from a Power Five conference, are followed this week by Ohio State, Clemson and Washington, which edged out Michigan for the fourth spot. Ohio State defeated Michigan 30-27 in double-overtime this past weekend, sending Jim Harbaugh's Wolverines down from No. 3.

"The separation between Washington at No. 4 and Michigan at No. 5 is extremely small," playoff committee chairman Kirby Hocutt told ESPN on Tuesday night. "There is a lot to like about Washington over the course of this year, and we saw them with a quality win this past weekend, but their strength of schedule has been a concern and continues to be a concern for us."

Neither Ohio State nor Michigan will play for the Big Ten championship, with that matchup set this Saturday between Wisconsin and Penn State. Wisconsin's Badgers are No. 6 in the latest playoff rankings, with the Nittany Lions at No. 7.

Colorado, which faces Washington for the Pac-12 championship Friday night, is ranked No. 8, followed by Oklahoma and Oklahoma State from the Big 12. The Sooners and Cowboys collide Saturday.

The Sugar Bowl gets the highest-ranked Southeastern Conference team not in the four-team playoff, and Auburn holds that spot at No. 14, which is just one position lower than last week. Florida is No. 15, but the Gators are 24-point underdogs this week against the top-ranked Tide in Atlanta, and LSU is next among SEC teams at No. 21.

Tennessee, despite losing 45-34 at Vanderbilt last Saturday night, fell only from No. 17 to No. 22 in the rankings. Florida didn't move at all despite its 31-13 loss at Florida State, while Louisville of the Atlantic Coast Conference dropped only from No. 11 to No. 13 after its 41-38 home loss to Kentucky.

The final playoff rankings will be released Sunday.

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524.