Florida drops only one spot in playoff rankings after upset loss

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Despite the stunning loss to LSU last Saturday, Florida still has a chance of making the College Football Playoffs. Long odds, but a chance.

To make it to the national semifinals, the Gators (8-2) will need to knock off top-ranked Alabama (10-0) in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday and hope the selection committee graces them with that opportunity on Selection Sunday. That possible development took hold when the committee dropped the Gators just one spot to No. 7 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday night.

“The committee these last two days spent a great deal of time talking about the grouping of Iowa State, Florida, Georgia and Cincinnati,” Playoff chairman Gary Barta said. “Iowa State and Cincinnati were idle so a lot of conversation about Florida and Georgia. I can tell you it was back-and-forth.

“A tough loss for Florida and we did note that Kyle Pitts was out and the committee recognizes when a player is unavailable.”

The Gators dropped only one spot came because of the win over an improved Georgia team, according to Barta.

The top five spots remained unchanged, with the Crimson Tide atop the rankings for the fourth straight week. Notre Dame (10-0) and Clemson (9-1), who will meet in the ACC Championship Game on Saturday, were second and third, followed by Ohio State (5-0) in the No. 4 spot.

Texas A&M (7-1) continued to hold the No. 5 spot, with the Aggies set to face Tennessee Saturday.

If all the favorites win — that includes Clemson (9-1) in the rematch with Notre Dame — the current top four likely would be reordered a bit and placed in the semifinals.

If the Irish beat the Tigers for the second time this season, the selection committee's job becomes a little trickier. And even trickier if the Gators win the SEC title.

This is the fourth of five weekly rankings released by the 13-member selection committee, with the final standings revealed Sunday. Those rankings will determine the four semifinalists along with the teams taking part in the New Year’s Six bowl games.

The College Football Playoff National Championship Game is set Jan. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

The selection committee is comprised of Barta, Paula Boivin, Tom Burman, Joe Castiglione, Rick George, Ken Hatfield, Ronnie Lott, Terry Mohajir, Ray Odierno, R.C. Slocum, Todd Stansbury, Scott Stricklin and John Urschel.

Playoff ranking

1. Alabama (10-0)

2. Notre Dame (10-0)

3. Clemson (9-1)

4. Ohio State (5-0)

5. Texas A&M (7-1)

6. Iowa State (8-2)

7. Florida (8-2)

8. Georgia (7-2)

9. Cincinnati (8-0)

10. Oklahoma (7-2)

11. Indiana (6-1)

12. Coastal Carolina (11-0)

13. USC (5-0)

14. Northwestern (6-1)

15. North Carolina (8-3)

16. Iowa (6-2)

17. BYU (10-1)

18. Miami (8-2)

19. Louisiana (9-1)

20. Texas (6-3)

21. Oklahoma State (7-3)

22. NC State (8-3)

23. Tulsa (6-1)

24. San Jose State (6-0)

25. Colorado (4-1)

The Associated Press contributed to this report.