Oklahoma and Iowa became the latest, freshest entries into the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday night. The Sooners (10-1) rose from No. 7 to No. 3 and the Hawkeyes (11-0) from No. 5 to No. 4, to join No. 1 Clemson (11-0) and No. 2 Alabama (10-1) in the coveted playoff spots with two rankings left.
The new arrivals left no room for Ohio State (10-1), No. 3 for the first three weeks of the rankings, and Notre Dame (10-1), No. 4 for the past two. The former of those tumbles was expected after Ohio State's shocking 17-14 home loss to Michigan State, which dropped the Buckeyes to No. 8.
The latter wasn't a certainty as the Fighting Irish went to No. 6.
"It was more about the performance of Oklahoma State and Michigan State against ranked teams that propelled them ahead of Notre Dame," said Jeff Long, the athletic director at Arkansas and the chairman of the 12-member committee.
Michigan State's win helped it vault from No. 9 to No. 5. If the Spartans (10-1) can defeat Penn State at home Saturday, they will get a chance to crack the top four even if No. 4 Iowa wins at Nebraska on Friday, because Michigan State would play Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game on Dec. 5.
While Oklahoma and Michigan State made the largest leaps within the top 10, Baylor (9-1) lurked. After opening at No. 6 for two weeks, then slipping to No. 10 after losing at home to Oklahoma, the Bears went to No. 7, because they traveled to provide Oklahoma State (10-1) its first loss, docking the Cowboys from No. 6 to No. 10.
Oklahoma will visit Oklahoma State on Saturday.
The move that figured to stoke the most conversation was Oklahoma's rise. The Sooners beat No. 19 TCU 30-29 on Saturday. But they had to block a two-point-conversion pass after leading 30-13 in the fourth quarter. Long cited on ESPN "Oklahoma's body of work, then adding to it this past week with another top-25-ranked team."
NCAA will wait on plan to fill bowls
The NCAA football oversight committee will wait until next week to complete a plan for matching sub-.500 teams with bowls if there are not enough bowl-eligible squads to fill 40 games.
Seventy-one teams have won at least six games and secured at least a .500 record, the minimum for playing in a bowl. If nine more teams don't become bowl eligible, losing teams would fill the remaining spots.
Among the teams that need wins in their season finales are Virginia Tech, Nebraska, Illinois and Minnesota.
Awards name finalists
Alabama running back Derrick Henry, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and Clemson QB Deshaun Watson are the finalists for the Maxwell Award, given to the nation's best player.
Finalists for nine awards that will be handed out Dec. 10 during ESPN's college football award show were announced Tuesday.
The finalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award for best defensive player are Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich, Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib and Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland.
The Doak Walker Award finalists for best running back are Henry, McCaffrey and LSU's Leonard Fournette.
Finalists for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award are Watson, TCU's Trevone Boykin and Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield.
The Outland Trophy for outstanding lineman finalists are Baylor tackle Spencer Drango, Stanford guard Joshua Garnett and Alabama defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson.
•Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio wouldn't comment on the status of quarterback Connor Cook for Saturday's game against Penn State. Cook missed last week's victory over Ohio State because of a sore right shoulder.
•Dantonio said he expects linebacker Ed Davis, who missed all of this season because of a knee injury, to be granted a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA.