Not only does the conference championship weekend provide a pretty clear picture of upcoming college football playoff pairings, it also makes significant changes in USA TODAY Sports’ most recent regular season AFCA coach survey.
Alabama is back where it started the season in first place after beating the previously undefeated Georgia in the SEC championship game. The Crimson Tide received 54 of 62 votes for first place and will likely move into the playoffs as the top seed.
It wasn’t unanimous, however, when Big Ten champions Michigan got five No. 1 votes and claimed the No. 2 rankings. Georgia slipped to 3rd place after the defeat, but should still be in the semi-finals. The American Athletic Conference champion, Cincinnati, remains # 4, and the Bearcats also took the remaining three first spots as the only undefeated team going into the postseason.
Notre Dame, 11-1 in the clubhouse, rounds off the top 5, followed by Big 12 Champion Baylor. Ohio State and Mississippi hold up 7th and 8th, respectively, awaiting their likely New Year’s Six Bowls invitations. The state of Oklahoma falls four places to 9th place.
TOP 25: Complete USA TODAY Sports AFCA coach survey
SHELL PROJECTIONS: Will Alabama or Michigan be # 1?
UPS AND DOWNS: College football winners and losers from week 14
There are some weird hybrids between the teams that didn’t play this weekend to accommodate a few teams that did. Michigan State gains three places to 10th, while Oklahoma drops a few places to 13th. In between are Pac-12 winner Utah, who climbed six places to 11th place, and ACC champion Pittsburgh, who climbed three steps to 1st place No. 12.
Texas San Antonio is back in 25th place on the polls after recovering from their first loss and winning the Conference USA championship.
The state of San Diego is out after losing the title in Mountain West to the state of Utah.