College Football Power Rankings: Iowa State makes big gain as top eight holds steady

What are the odds the College Football Playoff field is set based on what we saw Saturday? Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan all in the field? Actually, pretty good in this Year of Chalk.

The top four in this week’s Power Rankings had no problem winning by a combined 108 points. Half of the field (Alabama, Clemson) has been in the top four all season. Add in the fact all four are at the top of their games, and it’s possible any remaining drama has been drained from the season.

For Alabama, the biggest concern after a second consecutive shutout might be Tua Tagovailoa’s knee/quad. For Clemson, it’s somehow possible the city of Boston can’t win everything. The Tigers smothered Boston College to clinch a spot in the ACC Championship Game. Notre Dame rode a backup quarterback Brandon “Plan B” Wimbush to a 29-point win over Florida State. Ian Book is expected back this week. Michigan handled the Big Ten’s version of a bye (Rutgers) by 35 points.

What’s to stop any of them? Five times since the CFP debuted in 2014, teams have appeared in the exact order in consecutive weeks. That could/should happen again this week — Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan.  Alabama has only The Citadel before the Iron Bowl. Clemson has both suddenly formidable Duke and South Carolina, both at home. Notre Dame travels to Yankee Stadium for Syracuse this week then finishes at USC. Michigan should coast vs. Indiana before playing for the Big Ten East at Ohio State.

The only opponent with a losing record in that bunch: The Citadel. The only ranked teams: Syracuse and Ohio State. The Crimson Tide have the easiest overall road, while the Wolverines have the toughest, per NCAA stats.

The CFP mantra through four years is always that things will work out. They may have already this year.

Dropped out: Michigan State, Mississippi State

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