Fresno State is back in the College Football Playoff rankings, coming in on Tuesday at No. 25, and headed to a Mountain West Conference championship game matchup at Boise State.
The Bulldogs (10-2, 7-1 in the MW) were No. 23 in the first two CFP rankings, out Oct. 30 and Nov. 6, but were dropped after a Nov. 9 loss at Boise State. They also are No. 25 in the Associated Press Top 25 and No. 23 in the Coaches Poll.
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The Broncos (10-2, 7-1) are No. 22 and Central Florida (11-0) is No. 8 — they are the only other Group of Five other conference teams in the rankings.
The gruesome knee injury suffered by Golden Knights’ quarterback McKenzie Milton did not impact their ranking. Central Florida moved up one spot from last week, and remains the favorite to secure the spot in a New Years Six bowl game that goes to the highest ranked champion from the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West or Sun Belt.
Central Florida will play Memphis on Saturday in their conference championship game, with a 12:30 p.m. kickoff.
The Golden Knights outscored South Florida 28-10 after the injury to Milton, and also beat East Carolina with backup quarterback Darriel Mack Jr.
Mack this season has completed 21 of 43 passes (48.8 percent) for 174 yards. He has not thrown a touchdown pass or an interception.
But if Memphis pulls off an upset — it is a 3-point underdog — the Bulldogs and Broncos likely will be playing for that New Years Six bowl spot along with a Mountain West championship.
The Tigers, who finished 8-4 and 5-3 in conference play including a 31-30 loss to Central Florida on Oct. 13, are not in the CFP rankings.
The CFP rankings
3. Notre Dame
6. Ohio State
8. Central Florida
12. Penn State
13. Washington State
16. West Virginia
18. Mississippi State
19. Texas A&M
22. Boise State
23. Iowa State
25. Fresno State