The College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday had only subtle changes from the previous week, but it is like the calm before the storm with a number of pivotal games coming up that can alter the picture considerably.
The top four this week were the same as the top four last week, with Miami and Clemson merely swapping spots. Alabama (11-0) is again No. 1, but the Hurricanes (10-0) moved up from No. 3 to No. 2, displacing Clemson (10-1), which dropped to No. 3.
Holding the fourth spot again is Oklahoma (10-1), just ahead of No. 5 Wisconsin (11-0) and No. 6 Auburn (7-2).
The only change among the top 12 teams from last week was the swapping of positions by Miami and Clemson.
Georgia (10-1) is No. 7, Notre Dame (9-2) is No. 8, Ohio State (9-2) is No. 9, and Penn State rounds out the top 10.
These rankings don't matter until the final CFP rankings are released Dec. 3. At that time, the four teams that will be involved in the national championship playoff as well as the semifinal matchups will be announced.
A lot can happen between now and then because of the contests to be played the next two weeks.
No. 1 Alabama plays a rivalry game on the road against No. 6 Auburn on Saturday, and the winner of that game will face No. 7 Georgia in the SEC title game on Dec. 2. Georgia, which plays Georgia Tech this Saturday, has already assured itself a berth in conference championship contest.
Clemson faces South Carolina on Saturday, then plays Miami in the Atlantic Coast Conference game the following Saturday. The Hurricanes have a game at Pittsburgh on Friday before facing Clemson.
Oklahoma plays a dangerous West Virginia team on Saturday, then will play in the Big 12 title game the next Saturday, probably against No. 12 TCU, a team the Sooners beat 38-20 two weeks ago.
No. 5 Wisconsin faces Minnesota this Saturday, then will play No. 9 Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game the following Saturday.
The only major conference that seems to be out of the playoff picture is the Pac-12. USC, at No. 11, is the top ranked Pac-12 team, and the Trojans will play either No. 13 Washington State or No. 21 Stanford in the Dec. 1 Pac-12 title game.