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Wayne Staats | NCAA.com | November 9, 2018

College Football Playoff rankings predictions: Week 11 Top 25

The second edition of the College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday night, with Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan rounding out the top four.

After falling 29-0 to rival Alabama in Week 10, previous No. 3 LSU slipped four spots to No. 7. Here were our top 25 predictions ahead of Tuesday night's reveal:

College Football Playoff rankings predictions: Week 11 Top 25

  1. Alabama (9-0): After winning 29-0 at LSU, the Tide are an easy pick for No. 1
  2. Clemson (9-0): The Tigers looked impressive again in scoring 77 against Louisville
  3. Notre Dame (9-0): As long as the Irish stay unbeaten, style points won't matter
  4. Michigan (8-1): The Wolverines' defense continues to push people around
  5. Georgia (8-1): The Bulldogs have clinched a meeting against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game
  6. Oklahoma (8-1): The Sooners escaped Lubbock with a high-scoring win that keeps their CFP hopes alive
  7. Washington State (8-1): The Cougars are the Pac-12's only Playoff hope, though the close win against Cal doesn't inspire much confidence
  8. West Virginia (7-1): The Mountaineers got the 2-point conversion to stun Texas and remain in the hunt
  9. Ohio State (8-1): A close win against Nebraska isn't the proof the Buckeyes need to make that they're going to be OK
  10. LSU (7-2): It was always going to be a huge mountain to climb to beat Alabama. But Tigers can make a New Year's Six game
  11. UCF (8-0): Even if UCF keeps winning, there might be a ceiling for how high the committee will rank it
  12. Kentucky (7-2): A 10-2 season is still on the table
  13. Mississippi State (6-3): The Bulldogs' defense now has to slow down Alabama
  14. Syracuse (7-2): Like Kentucky, the Orange are a surprising team thinking about 10 wins
  15. Florida (6-3): The ugly loss to Missouri might have cost Florida its chances of making a New Year's Six game
  16. North Carolina State (6-2): NC State stopped the slid at two games and now has a manageable schedule
  17. Boston College (7-2): The Eagles can cause chaos if they shock Clemson this week
  18. Iowa State (5-3): Resurgent Baylor could play spoiler
  19. Texas (6-3): The Longhorns are 1-2 since upsetting rival Oklahoma
  20. Penn State (6-3): Penn State is struggling, but with so many other ranked teams losing, the Nittany Lions won't fall too far
  21. Utah (6-3): The loss to the Sun Devils means Arizona State controls its destiny in the Pac-12 South
  22. Fresno State (8-1): Fresno State is ready to pounce as a New Year's Six game contender should UCF stumble
  23. Washington (7-3): After Oregon State, the Huskies get a huge Apple Cup against possibly top-10 Washington State
  24. Michigan State (6-3): The Spartans can end Ohio State's CFP dreams with a win this week
  25. Utah State (8-1): The Aggies are much higher in the AP and Coaches Polls. Will the CFP rankings show more respect this week?

MORE: College Football Playoff rankings release schedule

College Football Playoff rankings predictions: Semifinals

This is how we think the CFP semifinals will look at the end of the season.

  • No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Michigan
  • No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Notre Dame

This will be a popular semifinals look, as these four should take the top four spots in the new Top 25 on Tuesday. However, it seems unlikely we'll have the same four the rest of the way, right?

Chances are, there will be an upset (or two) that will make things...confusing.

If Georgia beats Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, or if Ohio State wins out (thus beating Michigan), there will be intense debate.

There's a chance Oklahoma, West Virginia and even Washington State make a charge, should they keep winning.

But one team is doomed to miss the CFP no matter what: UCF. The Knights memorably went undefeated last season and beat Auburn in the Peach Bowl. Though UCF is 8-0, another unbeaten season won't be enough to make the semifinals. Not only did the Knights defense look lost for most of the 52-40 win against Temple last week, but they won't have enough good wins or a strong enough schedule to stay in front of surging Power 5 teams. Yet again, UCF will have to settle for playing in a New Year's Six game, if it can continue to remain undefeated. If not, Fresno State and Utah State will gladly take that spot.

College Football Playoff rankings predictions: New Year's Six games

Here's how we think the CFP and New Year's Six games will look at the end of the season:

  • Peach Bowl: Georgia vs. West Virginia
  • Fiesta Bowl: Kentucky vs. UCF
  • Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Washington State
  • Sugar Bowl: LSU vs. Oklahoma
  • Cotton Bowl (Semifinal): Alabama vs. Michigan
  • Orange Bowl (Semifinal): Clemson vs. Notre Dame

Even after losing to Georgia, Kentucky should feel optimistic about getting picked should it win out and go 10-2. That could mean an SEC at-large selection gets to meet UCF for the second consecutive year in a New Year's Six game.