Auburn loss shakes up college football playoff rankings

With a win over LSU, Alabama is firmly in playoff contention (©GettyImages)

Third-ranked Auburn had two opportunities to try and even the score against humbled Texas A&M, but fumbled away both opportunities. Now the Tigers may not get another chance for a redux performance in the national championship game.

But plenty of teams did benefit from Auburn's tumble down the rankings all the way to the No. 9 spot. Below we go through a few of this week's winners, including a couple of teams who were considered to be out of playoff contention at this point in the season.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Head coach Nick Saban's night wasn't without drama, after his Crimson squad eked out a 20-13 overtime win against LSU. But despite the difficulty getting there, Alabama is right where it needs to be in the final stretch — yawn if you've seen this script before.

When Alabama suffered a 23-17 loss to Ole Miss earlier in the year, it certainly harmed their postseason hopes. However, few were likely to count Saban's squad out after that lone blemish.

The Crimson Tide have certainly looked beatable in recent weeks. Before LSU's near-loss, a 34-20 win over Tennessee wasn't overly impressive. And in week 6, Alabama only barely survived a 14-13 contest against Arkansas. None of that matters anymore though.

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Alabama faces undefeated, top-ranked Mississippi State next week at home. And, of course, there is still pesky Auburn waiting.

However, the Crimson Tide still controls its destiny and if it can win out, it will be a shoo-in for the inaugural playoffs, making Alabama a clear winner from this weekend's events.

Texas Christian University

The Horned Frogs made headlines with their record-setting quarterback when Trevone Boykin threw for seven touchdowns in an 82-27 win against Texas Tech in October.

But its been TCU's ability to win the trenches on both offense and defense that has led to the Texas school competing for playoff poll position. 

With a No. 5 ranking, TCU is now a sure bet to enter the top four if it can just handle its business against the lowly likes of Kansas, Texas and Iowa State. Those teams are a combined 10-18.

If they can keep winning, the Horned Frogs' high-flying offense will be a playoff certainty. That's because of the aforementioned Alabama-Mississippi State tilt set for next week.

TCU will leapfrog whichever team loses that game, putting it in firm playoff contention despite its one loss to Baylor in week four. Of course, the Bears will be waiting right behind them for any slip-up, now ranked No. 6.

Ohio State

To be honest, the Big Ten is a longshot to make the inaugural playoffs. 

It wasn't a strong conference to begin with, not anymore. But then the Buckeyes went ahead and decimated conference leader Michigan State 49-37 over the weekend, and that pretty much settled it.

The nation's oldest conference likely won't have a postseason representative this season.

But for Ohio State, this was certainly a coup. 

Many counted the Buckeyes out after senior quarterback Braxton Miller was injured early in the year. But J.T. Barrett has filled in admirably, the team has dominated an extremely weak schedule and they pulled the necessary upset to get a bump in the rankings.

Ohio State's biggest problem is the weakness of the Big Ten. Only one Buckeye opponent — then-No. 8 Michigan State — is even ranked. They will finish out against Minnesota, Indiana and Michigan — not exactly championship material.

However, now that Ohio State is ranked No. 8 there is a low possibility — with some help from the teams ahead of the Buckeyes — that the school could squeak into the playoff picture with some luck.

And that's a better chance than they had a week ago.

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