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College Football Playoff rankings: Washington moves into top 4

Washington joined Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson in the top 4 of the College Football Playoff rankings.

The Huskies (11-1) moved up a spot to No. 4 in the latest rankings released Tuesday, returning to the top 4 for the first time since suffering their only loss to Southern Cal on Nov. 12. Alabama (12-0) and Ohio State (11-1) held on to the top two spots, respectively, while Clemson (11-1) jumped one spot to No. 3 as the beneficiary of Ohio State’s double-overtime win over Michigan, which fell to No. 5, on Saturday.

The final rankings will be released Sunday. The national semifinals will pit No. 1 against No. 4 and No. 2 against No. 3 in the Peach and Fiesta bowls on Dec. 31 with the winners squaring off in the national championship game Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

Rounding out the top 10 are Wisconsin, Penn State, Colorado, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, respectively. Auburn is the Southeastern Conference’s second-highest ranked team at No. 14, meaning the 8-4 Tigers are in line to play in the Sugar Bowl should Alabama beat No. 15 Florida in Saturday’s SEC championship game.

There will also be plenty of eyes on the Big Ten championship game between Wisconsin and Penn State, a game that will make things interesting for the playoff selection committee should Penn State win. The two-loss Nittany Lions handed Ohio State its only loss on Oct. 22, leaving the committee to decide whether to send two Big Ten teams to the playoff or possibly leave Penn State out despite a head-to-head win and a conference title over the Buckeyes.

Washington will take on Colorado for the Pac-12 championship Friday. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will play for the Big 12 title Saturday while Clemson will get Virginia Tech in the ACC championship game.