Where the College Football Playoff stands after Week 13
Alabama has done nothing to loosen its grasp on No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings. The Crimson Tide's 42-13 win in the Iron Bowl against Auburn was in the bag well before halftime, continuing a run of dominance that began in the second half of a 41-24 win against Georgia on Oct. 17.
Only Notre Dame's high level of play during the same span has created a sliver of doubt when it comes to projecting how the playoff selection committee will address the very top of this week's rankings, set to be released Tuesday evening.
Both teams will have two wins against teams in the playoff rankings. Alabama will own wins against Texas A&M and Georgia. (No. 22 in the debut rankings, Auburn should fall out after dropping to 5-3.) The Irish have topped Clemson and North Carolina, with that victory against Clemson the best win of any team in the Bowl Subdivision.
The way Alabama has decimated its past four opponents — beating Tennessee, Mississippi State, Kentucky and Auburn by a combined score of 174-33 — is mirrored by Notre Dame's own gains since late October. Behind an seemingly impenetrable run defense and the improved play of quarterback Ian Book, the Irish have overcome an uneven start to the regular season to mold an argument for No. 1.
That's not the only decision on the committee's plate heading out of Week 13.
HIGHS AND LOWS:College football winners and losers from Week 13
There's also the debate between Texas A&M and Florida, which may again be settled by the Aggies' head-to-head win in October but might require more deliberation after a scuffling, ugly victory against LSU.
That 20-7 win was a reversal of last year's 50-7 loss, illustrating the program's growth since the end of last season. (And the Tigers' plummeting fall from grace.) But it also saw A&M fail to move the ball effectively on offense and included by far the worst game of quarterback Kellen Mond's otherwise successful senior year.
Meanwhile, Florida continued to pour it on against SEC competition with a 34-10 win against Kentucky, the Gators' fifth win in a row by 16 or more points.
In the end, look for the Aggies to remain ahead in the rankings and stay in strong position to claim a second playoff berth for the SEC should there be room in the top four.
Here’s how the top four would look today, followed by the four teams just on the outside:
1. Alabama: The 53 offensive plays run against Auburn were the Tide's fewest in a game against a Bowl Subdivision opponent since running 51 plays in a win against Arkansas in 2016. Alabama averaged 8.4 yards per play against the Tigers to make every snap count.
2. Notre Dame: This defense has held its last six opponents to under 100 yards rushing and ranks fourth among Power Five teams in yards allowed per carry.
3. Clemson: After more than a month-long absence, Trevor Lawrence returned in a 38-17 win against Pittsburgh and threw for 403 yards and two touchdowns.
4. Ohio State: The Buckeyes have gained more yards in four games (2,141) than Kansas has in eight games (2,119).
5. Texas A&M: If not the prettiest win, topping LSU gives A&M six conference wins for the first time since 2012 and the third time since 1999.
6. Florida: With two more wins this year, Dan Mullen will join Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer as the only Florida coaches to win nine or more games in each of their first three seasons.
7. Cincinnati: Coach Luke Fickell has Cincinnati at 8-0 for the first time since 2009 and the fourth time in school history. That 2009 team, led by Notre Dame's Brian Kelly, would go to 12-0 before losing to Florida in the Sugar Bowl.
8. Iowa State: The Cyclones last won a conference championship in 1912, when the program was a member of the Missouri Valley Conference, the precursor to the Big Eight.