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UCLA Football: College Playoff Rankings- Bruins #9; New Year's Here We Come

The latest college football rankings are out. And, no surprise, the playoffs have an SEC flavor. But the Bruins keep inching up, and now stand to be solidly in the mix for a New Year's game with the #9 ranking.. But first we need to take care of business against $C. As this week's rankings show, lose and you tumble (see ASU). We control our own destiny. But we still need to win every week.

Another tackle by $C after UCLA has scored a touchdown- let's see more of these on Saturday
Another tackle by $C after UCLA has scored a touchdown- let's see more of these on Saturday
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The College Football Playoff Committee released its current rankings today. And thanks to ASU's loss at Oregon State, and Georgia's demolition of Auburn, there was significant movement from the prior standings.

Here are the rankings, courtesy of SB Nation-

Rank Team Last week Week 12 result Toughest opponent left (per F/+) If the season ended today ...
1 Alabama (9-1) 5 Won 25-20 vs. No. 1 Mississippi State Auburn Sugar Bowl vs. Mississippi State
2 Oregon (9-1) 2 Idle Oregon State Rose Bowl vs. Florida State
3 Florida State (10-0) 3 Won 30-26 at Miami Boston College Rose Bowl vs. Oregon
4 Mississippi State (9-1) 1 Lost 25-20 at No. 5 Alabama Ole Miss Sugar Bowl vs. Alabama
5 TCU (9-1) 4 Won 34-30 at Kansas Texas New Year's bowl
6 Ohio State (9-1) 8 Won 31-24 at No. 25 Minnesota Michigan New Year's bowl
7 Baylor (8-1) 7 Idle Kansas State New Year's bowl
8 Ole Miss (8-2) 10 Idle Mississippi State Orange Bowl vs. Georgia Tech
9 UCLA (8-2) 11 Idle USC New Year's bowl
10 Georgia (8-2) 15 Won 34-7 vs. No. 9 Auburn Georgia Tech New Year's bowl
11 Michigan State (8-2) 12 Won 37-15 at Maryland Penn State
12 Kansas State (7-2) 13 Idle Baylor
13 Arizona State (8-2) 6 Lost 35-27 at Oregon State Arizona
14 Auburn (7-3) 9 Lost 34-7 at No. 15 Georgia Alabama
15 Arizona (8-2) 14 Won 27-26 vs. Washington Arizona State
16 Wisconsin (8-2) 20 Won 59-24 vs. No. 16 Nebraska Minnesota
17 Utah (7-3) 23 Won 20-17 (2OT) at Stanford Arizona
18 Georgia Tech (9-2) 22 Won 28-6 vs. No. 19 Clemson Georgia Orange Bowl vs. Ole Miss
19 USC (7-3) NR Won 38-30 vs. Cal UCLA
20 Missouri (8-2) NR Won 34-27 at No. 24 Texas A&M Arkansas
21 Oklahoma (7-3) NR Won 42-30 at Texas Tech Oklahoma State
22 Clemson (7-3) 19 Lost 28-6 at No. 22 Georgia Tech South Carolina
23 Nebraska (8-2) 16 Lost 59-24 at No. 20 Wisconsin Minnesota
24 Louisville (7-3) NR Idle Notre Dame
25 Minnesota (7-3) 25 Lost 31-24 vs. No. 8 Ohio State Wisconsin

If the season ended today, #1 Alabama would play #4 Mississippi State in the Sugar Bowl, and #2 Oregon would play #3 Florida State in the Rose Bowl. So UCLA can make some serious noise by beating $C and Stanford, and then taking care of business at Levi's.

The College Football Playoff Committee picks the four teams for the National Semi's, and also picks the eight teams for the remaining four prestige games- this year, Cotton, Fiesta, Orange and Peach. The Orange Bowl in 2014 takes the ACC #2 team, which would be Georgia Tech based on the above rankings. And the highest ranked conference champion from outside the Power Five conferences (Pac 12, ACC, Big 10, Big 12, SEC) gets an automatic berth. That would probably be Marshall at this point, although there is actually no team from outside the Power Five in this week's rankings.

That leaves six slots. One has to go to a Big 12 team- TCU, based on the above rankings. One has to go to a Big 10 team- Ohio State, based on the above rankings. That leaves four slots. And based on this week's rankings, those four slots would go to Baylor, Mississippi, UCLA, and Georgia. The committee takes geography into account. Based on that, UCLA would presumably wind up in the Cotton or Fiesta Bowl against TCU, Ohio State or Baylor. But we are hungry for more.

If you look at the 12 teams by conference, you have ACC two, Big 10 one, Big 12 two, SEC four, Pac 12 two, Conference USA one. My theory remains that the Committee will magically spread the wealth in the final rankings, so that each of the Power Five conferences will get at least two slots. If these had been the final rankings, I would have expected Michigan State to jump over Georgia, so the Big 10 would have two slots and the SEC would have three.

In any case, this is all speculation. Everything will be decided on the field. And that starts for UCLA on Saturday. One win at a time. Go Bruins !!