The season-ending injury to Alabama starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa shocked and saddened many college football fans across the country Saturday, but it didn't impact the No. 5 Tide's standing with the College Football Playoff selection committee -- at least not yet.
The third CFP ranking stayed mainly status quo, with No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Georgia holding onto the top spots, while Alabama remained the first team on the outside looking in. The two most noticeable changes were No. 8 Penn State's jump ahead of No. 10 Minnesota, in spite of the Gophers' win over the Nittany Lions, and No. 18 Memphis now leading the Group of 5 race ahead of No. 19 Cincinnati. Minnesota dropped because of its road loss at No. 17 Iowa, which moved up three spots from last week.
It's also notable that USC has earned the No. 23 spot, marking the first time that a Pac-12 team other than No. 6 Oregon or No. 7 Utah has been ranked by the committee. USC is somewhat of an X factor in the Pac-12 playoff race because it's a major reason why Oregon has been ranked ahead of Utah -- the Ducks beat USC, while Utah lost to the Trojans. USC can also still win the Pac-12 South, as it holds the tiebreaker over Utah.
Here's what the bracket would look like if the playoff were today:
No. 1 LSU would face No. 4 Georgia in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. The selection committee makes sure the No. 1 seed is not at a geographic disadvantage, and it would likely consider Atlanta to be a more favorable location for the Bulldogs.
That's why No. 2 Ohio State would face No. 3 Clemson in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
Because the Big Ten champion is in a semifinal, the league's next highest-ranked team, No. 8 Penn State, would go to the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual, where it would face No. 6 Oregon because the Rose Bowl is also guaranteed the Pac-12 champion if it's not in a semifinal.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl, which is guaranteed an SEC team against a Big 12 team, would take No. 5 Alabama against No. 9 Oklahoma, as they are both the highest-ranked teams available from each conference. The Capital One Orange Bowl is guaranteed the ACC champion, but since No. 3 Clemson is in a semifinal, it would take the next highest-ranked ACC team.
In this week's rankings, there aren't any other ACC teams, so the Orange Bowl would likely choose from three seven-win teams in Virginia, Pitt or Virginia Tech. For this week, the projection is No. 10 Minnesota against Virginia Tech, as the Orange Bowl can choose the ACC's opponent from the Big Ten, SEC or Notre Dame.
The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic would feature No. 7 Utah against No. 18 Memphis, which would be guaranteed a spot as the highest-ranked Group of 5 champion.
(All games can be seen on ESPN and the ESPN App)
Saturday, Dec. 28
Noon ET: Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: No. 7 Utah vs. No. 18 Memphis (AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas)
4 or 8 p.m. ET: College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Clemson (Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta)
4 or 8 p.m. ET: College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl: No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Georgia (State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona)
Monday, Dec. 30
8 p.m. ET: Capital One Orange Bowl: No. 10 Minnesota vs. Virginia Tech (Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida)
Wednesday, Jan. 1
5 p.m. ET: Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual: No. 6 Oregon vs. No. 8 Penn State (Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California)
8:45 p.m. ET: Allstate Sugar Bowl: No. 5 Alabama vs. No. 9 Oklahoma (Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans)