The Tennessee Volunteers. Photo by Ric Butler/RTI.
The Tennessee Volunteers are on the rise in the latest College Football Playoff rankings following the conclusion of the regular season.
As announced by ESPN on Tuesday night, the Vols moved up three spots from No. 10 to No. 7 in the CFP rankings.
In comparison, the 10-2 Volunteers landed at No. 7 in the latest AP Top 25 poll and No. 8 in the coaches poll from the weekend.
Tennessee’s landing spot does immediately come with some controversy, though. Despite finishing with the same record and owning a head-to-head win over the Tide, Tennessee comes in one spot behind Alabama, who lands at No. 6.
While it may seem like semantics on the surface, and at the end of the day neither are in the playoffs, the rankings are wildly important to the upcoming bowl season considering that is how some bowl games are selected. For example – the Sugar Bowl is obligated to take the highest-ranked SEC team that is not competing in the playoffs.
With the committee’s rankings on Tuesday, that looks like No. 6 Alabama.
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That’s not the same logic that the committee uses just a few spots down in the rankings, though. The committee has 9-3 Florida State at No. 13 and 9-3 LSU at No. 14. Why have LSU behind? Without completely glossing over the Tigers’ brutal loss to unranked Texas A&M last weekend, one part of that reason seems plausibly influenced by Florida State’s head-to-head win over LSU in the season opener.
Either way, it seems to be a consistent opinion, because the AP and coaches’ polls also had the Tide over the Vols.
After Michigan beat down Ohio State in Columbus over the weekend, the Wolverines jumped up to the No. 2 spot as Ohio State fell back to No. 5 in the rankings. Georgia still sits as the highest-ranked team in the nation after a dominant 12-0 undefeated season.
Ohio State’s loss and ranking could send them to the Rose Bowl with Alabama heading to the Sugar Bowl.
That would leave Tennessee with a possible matchup against potential-ACC champion Clemson in the Orange Bowl on the horizon.
The Top 10 of the College Football Playoff Rankings on Tuesday are as follows:
Southern California (11-1)
Ohio State (11-1)
Penn State (10-2)
Kansas State (9-3)
Movement in the top four of the #CFBPlayoff rankings‼️
Alabama is the new No. 6 ? pic.twitter.com/lomOz1eP2K
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) November 30, 2022