Georgia football back on top of College Football Playoff rankings, plus the Pac 2 lives

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Last night, Oregon State and Washington State were granted a preliminary injunction, gaining control of the Pac-12 … for now. We’ll have more on that in future editions.

Plus, we have a change at the top of the CFP rankings. And Stewart Mandel discusses Jayden Daniels’ Heisman case. Here’s what’s happening in college football Until Saturday …

UGA Takes Over Top Spot

Bulldogs move to No. 1 in CFP rankings

The selection committee released its third edition of College Football Playoff rankings last night. Here are the top four teams (all are 10-0):

1. Georgia

2. Ohio State

3. Michigan

4. Florida State

Washington (also 10-0) is the first team out of the Playoff at No. 5. I brought in national writer Nicole Auerbach, who ranks teams weekly in a top 10 series, to react to the newest rankings:

“The committee made the right call in sliding Georgia to the No. 1 spot now that the Dawgs have two of the best wins of any contender (over No. 9 Mizzou and No. 13 Ole Miss). The only qualm I have about the top six is that Washington remains behind Florida State — despite a stronger resume that includes a win over No. 6 Oregon. I’m surprised that hasn’t changed in any iteration of the rankings so far this season, especially this week as we see the selection committee adjust No. 1 for a similar reason.

“The committee’s inconsistent logic this season may not ultimately matter much, especially with Michigan-Ohio State still to come and a possible Oregon-Washington rematch in the title game. But it’s so strange to me that this group isn’t giving the Huskies the credit they deserve for the grueling schedule they’ve played. A win at USC and a win over Utah should be more than enough to bump ’em ahead of Florida State! Arizona is now a top-20 win, too! C’mon, guys. It’s OK to admit you were wrong!”

Nicole broke down the full Top 25 with Chris Vannini on the Until Saturday podcast. The Athletic staff has live updates and analysis here.

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Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs travel to Tennessee on Saturday. (Todd Kirkland / Getty Images)

Mandel’s Mailbag

Daniels was already in the Heisman Trophy talk, but did Florida help hand him the trophy? If you voted today, who is getting your vote? — Jeff H.

Daniels would have my vote today. His historic night against Florida, when he became the first FBS player to throw for 350 yards and run for 200 in the same game, became his new signature moment, but he has been carrying LSU all season.

He’s the highest-rated passer in the country, and his 11.6 yards per attempt are a full yard better than the next closest player, Alabama’s Jalen Milroe. On top of throwing for 3,164 yards and 30 TDs, Daniels is closing in on 1,000 rushing yards with eight more TDs.

There’s only one problem: He doesn’t have a big win to date (although winning a shootout at Missouri looks more impressive now than it did then), and he’s not going to get one. All LSU (7-3) has left is Georgia State and Texas A&M (6-4).

Meanwhile, three other extremely impressive candidates will be very much in the spotlight. Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. has a season-defining opportunity at Michigan, and Oregon’s Bo Nix and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. will have prime-time games against No. 11 Oregon State the next two weeks before possibly squaring off against each other in Las Vegas in the Pac-12 title game.

While I’d like to think I won’t get caught up in recency bias … realistically, I absolutely will. And it’s not like Nix (No. 3 passer rating, 3,135 yards, 29 TDs, 2 INTs) or Penix (No. 9 passer rating, 3,533 yards, 28 TDs, 7 INTs) are far behind Daniels. If they do end up playing in Las Vegas with a Playoff berth on the line, I believe the winning QB will win the trophy.

That is frankly remarkable to think about — a Pac-12 QB beating out an SEC QB and Ohio State’s best player. Nix and Penix Jr. must be benefiting from their conference’s amazing TV deal.

Read the full mailbag here.

Recruiting Update

Which teams are in panic mode?

Let’s update the 2024 recruiting class rankings, per the 247Sports Composite. And yes, Georgia is No. 1 here too!

1. Georgia: 27 commits, 4 five-stars, 18 four-stars

2. Ohio State: 23 commits, 5 five-stars, 14 four-stars

3. Florida State: 23 commits, 3 five-stars, 13 four-stars

4. Florida: 20 commits, 2 five-stars, 13 four-stars

5. Alabama: 20 commits, 2 five-stars, 11 four-stars

Since our last update on Oct. 25, Florida State and Florida have swapped places in the top five, with two decommitments for the Gators and a pledge to the Seminoles from four-star CB Jamari Howard, a top-20 player in Florida.

And five-star edge rusher Elijah Rushing committed to Oregon. Rushing committed to Arizona in July, but his flip has boosted the Ducks to No. 6 in the rankings. Top-ranked tackle Jordan Seaton (IMG Academy) is the only five-star prospect uncommitted and most recently took an official visit to Colorado on Nov. 4.

With top recruits coming off the board and early signing day looming (Dec. 20), which teams need to pick up the pace? Antonio Morales lists some teams in panic mode: USC, Colorado and Texas A&M, among others.

Texas A&M Chatter

Coaches asked about Aggies’ opening

Multiple coaches have been asked about the opening at Texas A&M after the Aggies fired Jimbo Fisher on Sunday. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Oregon’s Dan Lanning: A candidate on Bruce Feldman’s list of A&M targets, Lanning said, “There’s zero chance I would be coaching somewhere else.” Lanning is in his second season with the Ducks and signed a new contract in July with a $20 million buyout. Speculation was rooted in Lanning’s past stops in the SEC at Alabama and Georgia, but he seemed to shoot the rumblings down fairly definitively. Oregon, of course, is headed to the Big Ten anyway.
  • Colorado’s Deion Sanders: ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith said Sanders to Texas A&M “needs to happen” on Monday’s episode of “Get Up.” Coach Prime, however, isn’t interested in having the A&M discussion. “I want to win a game. You think I sit down and think about that kind of stuff?” Sanders said. “Come on. I’m good. We gotta win. Let’s focus on this week.” (Colorado plays Friday at Washington State). And what does he tell parents who wonder if he’ll be at Colorado long-term? Sanders said he never hears that question.
  • Clemson’s Dabo Swinney: In his 15th full season as Clemson’s coach, Swinney offered an ambiguous response to the A&M question, per Chapel Fowler of The State newspaper: “I’m just focused on this job … always have been. Just trying to beat North Carolina. It must be November — that’s all I can say.”

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