Top 6 teams remain same in College Football Playoff rankings; Iowa State now 7th

The top six teams in the College Football Playoff rankings remained the same Tuesday, including Ohio State, which stayed at No. 4 despite uncertainty about its upcoming opponents.

The Big 12, meanwhile, is still alive in the CFP race.

The Buckeyes stayed ahead of No. 5 Texas A&M and No. 6 Florida after beating Michigan State 52-12 without more than a dozen scholarship players, including three starting offensive linemen.

"That certainly got our attention,'' selection committee chairman Gary Barta said.

The top three spots in the rankings once again belong to Alabama (9-0), Notre Dame (10-0) and Clemson (9-1).

Earlier Tuesday, Ohio State learned that its upcoming game against Michigan was canceled because of COVID-19 issues within the Wolverines' program. At 5-0, the Buckeyes would need to play another Big Ten opponent this weekend or have the six-game threshold for reaching the league championship adjusted so they could face No. 14 Northwestern next week in Indianapolis. If Ohio State doesn't reach the Big Ten title game, it could be paired next week against No. 16 Iowa, which moved up three spots after its fifth consecutive win.

Barta is the athletic director at Iowa, and as part of that job, he will meet with his colleagues in the Big Ten on Wednesday for a regularly scheduled meeting. Barta said he doesn't know the agenda of that meeting and declined to speculate, but it doesn't seem to be a stretch to think that Ohio State's situation will come up.

The Big Ten athletic directors not only have to figure out what is fair to Ohio State and the rest of the conference, they also must consider how best to protect the integrity and value of their league championship game.

"I am going to go into it the way I try to go into everything, and that is, I'm going do the right thing, what I believe is the right thing for college football, for the CFP, and certainly as we have since the beginning of COVID, the right thing for student-athlete health and safety,'' Barta said.

The Big 12's slim playoff hopes received a boost, as Iowa State (8-2) moved to No. 7, ahead of undefeated Cincinnati, which slipped a spot to No. 8 after not playing since Nov. 21. The Bearcats again will be off this week because of COVID-19 issues within their program before facing No. 24 Tulsa in the American championship next week.

Iowa State, the highest-ranked two-loss team, is set to face No. 11 Oklahoma next week in the Big 12 championship game. A conference championship likely would keep the Cyclones ahead of Cincinnati and possibly push them into the top four.

Coastal Carolina and BYU traded spots in the rankings following the Chanticleers' home win over the Cougars. At 10-0, Coastal Carolina now sits at No. 13, and BYU dropped five spots to No. 18 following its first loss of the season.

USC remains the Pac-12's highest-rated team, at No. 15, after it improved to 4-0 with a dominant win Sunday against Washington State. Colorado, the Pac-12's other undefeated team, finally entered the CFP rankings at No. 21.

Louisiana, which beat Iowa State 31-14 to open the season, moved up six spots to No. 19 this week. Texas reentered the rankings at No. 20, and Missouri made its debut at No. 25, despite three losses.

The CFP selection committee will release a new top 25 on Dec. 15 before the final rankings are unveiled Dec. 20.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.