The AP Top-25 quickly drops into irrelevancy as the committee hits everyone with a shock and places teams far from where the AP voters have all year. But imagine if the 2-loss Tigers were to beat Georgia, then Alabama two weeks later, then Georgia again to claim the SEC title.
So let's break down the contenders and what Penn State may be looking at come tomorrow night. So I really think there's two different things going on there.
In 2015, Notre Dame was ranked No. 4 in the first part of November, but while muddling through 28-7 and 19-16 victories versus Wake Forest and Boston College, respectively, the Irish dropped to No. 6 at 10-1 by the time it played Stanford in the season finale (where it lost 36-35 when the Cardinal converted a field goal on the game's final play).
Following them, it's very likely that a couple of one-loss teams will slot in ahead of the other undefeated Power 5 teams.
However, a game earlier in the afternoon between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will most certainly push the Horned Frogs closer to the playoff even before they take the field.
The committee is known for being inconsistent with their formula when it comes to their rankings. They've ridden a soft schedule to an undefeated record and may not face a ranked team until the Big Ten Championship game. The year before that, there were 3 unbeaten teams at this point but only 1 by the end of the regular season. If the Irish win out, they're in. If they top Virginia Tech this weekend, it'll be a big addition to the Hurricanes' resume. But they did lose so I have them here.
What will the committee think of Ohio State? November's fare - think Virginia Tech-Miami, Notre Dame-Miami, Georgia-Auburn, Auburn-Alabama, Oklahoma-Oklahoma State, TCU-Oklahoma, Michigan-Wisconsin and Ohio State-Michigan - and Championship Saturday on December 2 will tell all.
Clemson may have an argument to be the best one-loss team.
All that said, Georgia could start No. 1 in the first Playoff rankings. Their loss came to Syracuse in Carrier Dome with their starting Quarterback injured. However, they do have a loss against Oklahoma. For example, last season Penn State was left out and Ohio State got in.
Penn State is close behind at 24th and 13th, but the Nittany Lions' signature victory, a home dismantling of MI, doesn't match what Notre Dame and Clemson have accomplished. In Ohio State's favor, Oklahoma is ranked inside the Top 10. The Tigers would probably make the field, which means that at this point they seem to control their own destiny.
Meanwhile, Alabama is also at 8-0 with their best win to date against Texas A&M - that "data point" doesn't exactly help the Tide. Aside from the win against the Nittany Lions, the Buckeyes have not beaten a solid team.