Championship Week is at hand, and the top teams in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll now have clearly defined missions as they present closing arguments to the College Football Playoff committee.
Georgia, still the unanimous No. 1 choice, is set to take on Alabama for the SEC crown. The Crimson Tide holds on at No. 2 in the poll, but that position appears tenuous after needing a late drive and four overtimes to survive archrival Auburn.
One of the weekend’s biggest winners was Michigan. After conquering long-time nemesis Ohio State, the Wolverines vault three places into the No. 3 spot and are sure to be in the playoff if they get past No. 12 Iowa in next week’s Big Ten finale.
Cincinnati stays put at No. 4 and will face No. 16 Houston for the American Athletic championship. Oklahoma State moves up to No. 5 after its thrilling win against Oklahoma that ended the Sooners’ run of six consecutive Big 12 championships. The Cowboys might also have a playoff case if they get past No. 9 Baylor.
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Notre Dame took care of business in its regular-season finale at struggling Stanford, but the Fighting Irish slip a notch to No. 6 in the poll nevertheless and must hope for a lot of chaos next week to squeeze into the top four. Ohio State falls to No. 7, followed by Mississippi. Oregon is back in the top 10 and earned a rematch with No. 17 Utah in the Pac-12 title tilt.
Texas A&M holds on at No. 23 but takes the biggest drop of the week, sliding nine places after losing its regular-season finale to LSU. Clemson was denied a chance to play for the ACC championship, but the Tigers are back in the poll at No. 24. No. 25 Arkansas also returns following an impressive victory against Missouri to close out its regular campaign.
Texas-San Antonio will still play for the Conference USA title next week but is out of the poll after suffering its first loss of the year. Wisconsin also drops out after its loss to Minnesota knocked them out of the Big Ten title game.