USA TODAY Sports’ Paul Myerberg breaks down the latest Amway Coaches Poll.


As expected, the second College Football Playoff rankings of the 2020 season saw no changes at the top.

No. 1 Alabama’s path to the national semifinals is easy. The Crimson Tide are a lock to enter the playoff as the top seed by winning out, and have even positioned themselves to lose once and still have a very strong case for the top four.

No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 3 Clemson will very likely meet again in the ACC championship game. Even with a loss to Clemson later this month, the Irish are in solid shape to reach the semifinals. A blowout win by Notre Dame in the rematch would make things dicey for the Tigers, however.

No. 4 Ohio State’s largest hurdle isn’t any specific Big Ten opponent, since the Buckeyes have lapped the field in the conference, but the ability to schedule enough games. Based on the current standard set by the Big Ten, the Buckeyes need to play at least six games to be eligible for the conference championship.

But this much can be said after the second rankings: Barring scheduling snafus or an unexpected result, the top four today will be the top four on Dec. 20. 

Here are the winners and losers from Tuesday night:


Ohio State

The Buckeyes’ greatest asset might be a lack of options. For now, even with just five games played, OSU is the best choice to round out the top four as a number of one-loss teams from the Power Five jockey for position. Whether No. 5 Texas A&M or No. 6 Florida deserves to be higher than OSU is worthy of debate. The Aggies have played seven games, the Gators eight. Both have a far greater strength of schedule — among other wins, A&M beat Florida and the Gators beat No. 8 Georgia.

And still the Buckeyes remain ahead, despite owning three wins (Nebraska, Penn State and Rutgers) that should do nothing to move the needle with the committee. It paints a pretty clear picture: Ohio State is not going to be unseated from a place in the semifinals unless COVID-19 decimates what is left of the Buckeyes’ schedule.

The Big 12

First, Iowa State moved up four spots to No. 9 after beating Texas, even if that loss sent the Longhorns from No. 17 last week to out of the rankings entirely. Second, Oklahoma stayed at No. 11 after Saturday’s game against West Virginia was postponed due to COVID-19. (This feels like a correction of sorts by the committee, since the Cyclones topped the Sooners in early October and should’ve been ahead in the debut rankings.)

And third, Oklahoma State soared eight spots to No. 15 despite a struggle of sorts with Texas Tech, which devolved into an old-fashioned Big 12 shootout won by the Cowboys 50-44. The committee respects the Big 12, even if most do not.

The Group of