Pair of top 4 losses throws 1st playoff picture into mayhem

Photo of Pair of top 4 losses throws 1st playoff picture into mayhem
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The third and fourth preliminary playoff slots went up for grabs Saturday, as two of the top four teams in the AP Poll - No. 2 Penn State and No. 4 TCU - suffered their first losses of the season.

It's a certainty that 8-0 squads Alabama and Georgia will be there when the College Football Playoff committee unveils its initial top four Tuesday, but it's anyone's guess as to which other schools will fill the remaining two playoff positions.

Meet the contenders:

Penn State (AP Poll ranking: No. 2)

Penn State suffered its first loss at Ohio State, but only fell by one point against a perennial powerhouse that came into action ranked sixth. The Nittany Lions have completely dismantled most of their other opponents, including Michigan one week ago.

TCU (AP Poll ranking: No. 4)

TCU might face an uphill battle getting a top four spot after losing to Iowa State, considering the playoff committee hasn't always been kind to Big 12 teams. However, the Horned Frogs still own a convincing road victory over Oklahoma State, and their loss came on the road to a ranked club.

Wisconsin (AP Poll ranking: No. 5)

Wisconsin is the only Power 5 team beyond Alabama and Georgia with an 8-0 record. Strength of schedule isn't on the Badgers' side, though, as they haven't faced a single ranked opponent.

Ohio State (AP Poll ranking: No. 6)

Ohio State lost early in the season to Oklahoma, but may have made up for it by knocking off No. 2 Penn State. Of all the one-loss teams, the Buckeyes have the most impressive victory.

Clemson (AP Poll ranking: No. 7)

Clemson lost to Syracuse, but has impressive wins over Auburn and Virginia Tech to hang its hat on. The loss came when quarterback Kelly Bryant was forced out with injury. As defending national champions, the Tigers may get the benefit of the doubt and a top four position if they take care of Georgia Tech on Saturday night.

Miami (AP Poll ranking: No. 8)

Miami is still undefeated, like Wisconsin, though the Hurricanes are only 7-0 because of a cancelled game earlier in the season due to Hurricane Irma. Miami lacks a signature win at this point, and has struggled to overcome the likes of unranked foes Florida State, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, and North Carolina.

Notre Dame (AP Poll ranking: No. 9)

Notre Dame has a very strong case to make that it deserves to be in the first edition of the top four, as the Fighting Irish have pummeled ranked squads USC and NC State in the last two weeks. Their only loss came against Georgia, where they only lost by a single point.

Oklahoma (AP Poll ranking: No. 10)

Oklahoma sits in a nearly identical situation as Big 12 compadre TCU, as it defeated a formidable foe on the road (Ohio State), before later losing to Iowa State. Unlike TCU, Oklahoma's loss came on its home field. The Sooners must beat Texas Tech on Saturday night to have a real case.

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