The Iowa Hawkeyes stayed put at fifth in the Week 11 College Football Playoff Committee Top 25 poll released Tuesday night. The Hawkeyes stayed ahead of fast-rising Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, and nothing about the Hawkeyes' performance was enough to supplant Notre Dame in the field.
Barring an upset, not much about Iowa's circumstance has changed. The current Top 8 and remaining schedule reduces the field to Clemson, the SEC champion, an undefeated Big 10 champion, and either the Big 12 champion (especially if the Big 12 is won by an undefeated Oklahoma State) or Notre Dame. If any of those events don't happen -- if Clemson loses the ACC Championship Game to North Carolina, for instance -- the Irish and Bedlam winner are poised to fill the open spot.
Could Iowa's chances be reduced if Ohio State isn't undefeated or doesn't win the Big Ten East? Possibly, but the nightmare scenario for the Committee has to be an undefeated Power 5 champion passed for a one-loss team, then having that undefeated team win big in a New Years' Day bowl to call the wisdom of that decision into question. The Committee was clearly less-than-enamored with Florida State last season, but the Seminoles made the field as the only undefeated team in a Power 5 conference. And if Iowa was to lose one on the road to the Playoffs, these rankings are only relevant for determining the Rose Bowl participant, anyway.
There are still three weeks (or maybe four, depending on what Navy does) before these truly matter. Until then, Tums are good for the heartburn. Hold on tight.