Things remained unchanged at the top of this week’s College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday night, but there is plenty of intrigue remaining as teams edge closer to the final postseason lineup.

The top four spots remained No. 1 Alabama (11-0), No. 2 Ohio State (9-1), No. 3 Michigan (10-1) and No. 4 Clemson (10-1), with the biggest development coming at No. 5.

Louisville’s loss to Houston last Thursday moved the Cardinals out of the playoff discussion, making way for Washington (10-1) to move up to fifth overall.

Other teams moved up a spot from last week, with No. 6 Wisconsin (9-2), No. 7 Penn State (9-2), No. 8 Oklahoma (9-2), No. 9 Colorado (9-2) and No. 10 Oklahoma State (9-2) rounding out the top 10.

Boise State moved up to No. 19, just ahead of Houston at No. 20, undefeated Western Michigan at No. 21 and Navy at No. 25.

The final poll will be revealed live on ESPN at noon Dec. 4. The top four teams qualify for the two semifinal games, which will be held at the Fiesta and Peach bowls on Dec. 31. The winners will meet in the national championship game Jan. 9 at Tampa, Florida.

The remaining games that compose the New Year’s Six access bowl games – Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton – will select the highest-ranked remaining teams that fill their criteria. The highest-ranked conference champion from the Group of 5 conferences – American, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West and Sun Belt – also will receive a spot.

NOTRE DAME: The NCAA announced that academic misconduct orchestrated by a student athletic trainer will cost the storied program all 21 victories from the 2012-13 seasons, including the 12-0 run that vaulted the Fighting Irish into the national championship game against Alabama.

It marked just the fourth time the NCAA has cited Notre Dame for a major rules violation. The vacated games include Notre Dame’s 12 victories in 2012, their best regular season since winning their last national championship in 1988. The season finished with an embarrassing 42-14 loss to the Crimson Tide in the title game.

The school ripped the NCAA for its decision to vacate the wins and immediately said it would appeal.

According to the NCAA, the trainer was employed by the athletics department from fall 2009 through the spring of 2013 and “partially or wholly completed numerous academic assignments for football student-athletes in numerous courses” from 2011 into 2013.


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