For 3rd week, 'Bama, Clemson, ND, Mich top CFP; UCF's path

Florida Gators' New Year's Six bowl chances look better in latest College Football Playoff rankings

The Sooners are behind Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan and Georgia in that order and just ahead of LSU, Washington State UCF and Ohio State. But they lost three conference games and didn't even earn a major bowl bid.

In addition to the College Football Playoff rankings, Penn State was ranked No. 15 in the AP Top 25 poll and No. 14 in the Coaches' Poll. Ohio State beat Maryland 52-51 in overtime while UCF beat Cincinnati on Saturday. UCF 10. Ohio State 11.

In the spirit of making lemonade from the boring lemons we've been handed these last few week (in the CFP rankings department, of course; there's been plenty of fun elsewhere), let's see what each real playoff contender must do to reach the final four if the universe acts in a relatively normal way, i.e. most of the favorites win.

The victor of Ohio State-Michigan will play No. 20 Northwestern (7-4) the next weekend in Indianapolis in the Big Ten championship game.

More news: Isolated Indian tribe kill American intruder

Week 13 offers some intriguing matchups with a lot on the line, including Michigan-Ohio State and Notre Dame USC. While some rivalry matchups now possess two teams who are vying for a potential spot in the playoff, others have archrivals who are hoping to play spoiler to their nemesis.

UCF needs all these teams to win their conference titles and Alabama to win the Southeastern Conference at 13-0.

Also that night, Washington State hosts No. 16 Washington (8-3) in the 112th Apple Cup. Upsets are sweeter and sting more in rivalry games, and you may want to look at some of the recent weeks results from other rivalry games to keep your own emotions and cash in check if you feel like betting on mostly big favorites and stronger teams.

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