College Football Playoff picks after Week 5

Alabama and Georgia once again duked it for the top spot in our writers’ College Football Playoff picks — and the Bulldogs made it closer than usual — but the Crimson Tide just refuse to give up the No. 1 rank.

If Alabama is No. 1 following a 42-21 stroll over a rated Ole Miss team then Georgia is No. 1-B this week after demolishing a top-10 Arkansas team 37-0. Alabama and Georgia are unanimous choices from our writers, with the Tide getting seven votes for the top spot and the Dawgs finishing with six.

Iowa — coming off a close call against Colorado State last week — was selected on seven of the ballots this week following a 51-14 road rout of previously undefeated Maryland on Friday night. The Hawkeyes turned their opponent over seven times in a statement win and solidified their spot in the top five this season. The victory set up a crucial Big Ten matchup next week, with Iowa welcoming Penn State to Iowa City.

The Nittany Lions also proved they are worthy of the CFP with a 24-0 win against Indiana on Saturday night and landing 11 picks. Penn State’s game against the Hawkeyes next week will certainly be a litmus test for both teams, but a loss doesn’t necessarily knock either out of their respective Big Ten division races or the CFP conversation.

In what was a huge win for the Group of 5, the Cincinnati Bearcats knocked off Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, and firmly put their names in the running to become the first Group of 5 school to make the CFP. It was the first time a Group of 5 team beat a top-10 team on the road. The historic victory landed the Bearcats on eight ballots, their most of the season.

Oregon fell out of the picks after a 31-24 loss in overtime at Stanford on Saturday. The defeat drops the Pac-12 out of the playoff conversation — for now — and the western-most team in our writers’ picks is now Iowa.

The five-team field this week is the smallest of the year thus far.

Andrea Adelson: 1. Georgia, 2. Alabama, 3. Iowa, 4. Cincinnati
Kyle Bonagura: 1. Alabama, 2. Georgia, 3. Penn State, 4. Cincinnati
Bill Connelly: 1. Alabama, 2. Georgia, 3. Cincinnati, 4. Penn State
Heather Dinich: 1. Georgia, 2. Alabama, 3. Iowa, 4. Penn State
David M. Hale: 1. Alabama, 2. Georgia, 3. Cincinnati, 4. Penn State
Chris Low: 1. Alabama, 2. Georgia, 3. Iowa, 4. Cincinnati
Harry Lyles Jr.: 1. Alabama, 2. Georgia, 3. Penn State, 4. Cincinnati
Ryan McGee: 1. Alabama, 2. Georgia, 3. Penn State, Cincinnati
Adam Rittenberg: 1. Georgia, 2. Alabama, 3. Iowa, 4. Penn State
Alex Scarborough: 1. Alabama, 2. Georgia, 3. Penn State, 4. Cincinnati
Mark Schlabach: 1. Georgia, 2. Alabama, 3. Iowa, 4. Penn State
Tom VanHaaren: 1. Alabama, 2. Georgia, 3. Penn State, 4. Iowa
Dave Wilson: 1. Georgia, 2. Alabama, 3. Iowa, 4. Penn State

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