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Questions for the College Football Playoff selection committee

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Galloway's, Palmer's Top 5 remain the same after Week 11 (1:49)

Joey Galloway and Jesse Palmer break down who they think should make the College Football Playoff and give their biggest takeaways after Week 11. (1:49)

With each of the top 10 teams winning in Week 11, the College Football Playoff selection committee's top four should stay the same from last week, with No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 4 Michigan all still comfortable with their playoff positions.

While there's no disputing Alabama's top spot, the gap between the Crimson Tide and the Tigers might not be as wide as national perception might suggest. On paper, top-ranked Alabama and second-ranked Clemson are almost twins, with the Tide having a slight edge.

Alabama is No. 1 in ESPN's Football Power Index and No. 1 in strength of record, while Clemson is No. 2 in both categories, but not by much. The Tide is just 1.6 points ahead of Clemson in FPI, which isn't a very big gap considering Clemson is a robust 4.7 points ahead of No. 3 Georgia. Strength of record also reveals a slim margin. The average top-25 team would have a 2.8 percent chance to go 10-0 against Alabama's schedule and just a 3.4 percent chance to go undefeated against Clemson's lineup.

Clemson's minimal edge is in defensive efficiency, where the Tigers rank No. 1 (95.0), but Alabama is right behind at No. 2 (93.9). Clemson is No. 6 in offensive efficiency (80.5) to Alabama's top-ranked 97.2.

Clemson might also have the edge in strength of schedule, with three wins over current top-25 teams (No. 13 Syracuse, No. 16 NC State and at No. 17 Boston College) to Alabama's two (at No. 7 LSU, No. 16 Mississippi State). But if Texas A&M sneaks into the top 25, the Crimson Tide look better based on that common opponent.

Alabama wins on paper -- albeit slightly -- but would the game be as close as the statistics?

It has been in the past.

In January 2016, Alabama beat Clemson 45-40 for the national title. In January 2017, Clemson beat Alabama 35-31 to win it all. With Clemson holding down the No. 2 spot, the Tigers would play the No. 3 team in a semifinal. Alabama would get the No. 4 team. Assuming both win, the Tide and the Tigers would be pitted against each other in the national title for the third time in the CFP era. If the game is as even as they are statistically, it could make for another instant classic.

The top four aside, here are three other questions facing the 13-member selection committee heading into their third official ranking of the season, which will be revealed Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Will Oklahoma drop because of its defense?

Oklahoma has previously qualified for the CFP semifinals with a suspect defense, but this season's D is bad even by the Sooners' standards. Oklahoma State had 39 first downs on Saturday, the most any team has earned on an FBS defense this season. The Cowboys had 20 first downs on first-and-10 alone, racked up a total of 640 yards and averaged an astounding 7.4 yards per play.

If the selection committee is going to penalize UCF in part because of its defense, will it apply the same measure of criticism to its current No. 6 team? UCF is No. 54 in defensive efficiency. Oklahoma is No. 83.

Will Oklahoma's defensive struggles open the door for West Virginia to leapfrog the Sooners? Or will it hurt the entire Big 12's playoff position?

What is the state of Washington?

As we inch closer to the Apple Cup, where the Pac-12's playoff hopes will either end entirely or still hinge on one-loss Washington State, how do the league's only two ranked teams stack up in the eyes of the committee? Three-loss Washington sneaked in at No. 25 last week after a host of middle-tier teams lost in Week 10, and Washington State has held steady at No. 8. Washington is coming off a bye, while Washington State earned a 31-7 win at Colorado. Add Washington State to the list of teams with a better defense than Oklahoma. Could the Cougars move up at the Sooners' expense? Where Washington ranks also is important to Wazzu's strength of schedule, as it might be the Cougs' only regular-season opponent ranked in the CFP top 25.

Is UCF stuck in a rut?

The undefeated Knights have been ranked No. 12 for two straight weeks. Will anything change after a 35-24 win against a 2-8 Navy team?

Probably not.

With no upsets in the top 10, it's unlikely anyone falls out, and according to ESPN's strength of record metric, UCF's ranking is also justifiable. The average top-25 team would have a 42 percent chance to go 9-0 against the Knights' schedule; that's 11th in FBS, behind the nine Power 5 teams with one or zero losses and 8-2 LSU (otherwise known as the top 10 in the playoff rankings).

Last week, selection committee chair Rob Mullens lauded UCF's offense but questioned its defense.

"Obviously, they have a powerful offense," Mullens said. "McKenzie Milton continues to lead that powerful offense. But when you watched their game last week, you could see the defensive struggles. They gave up nearly 700 yards to Temple. Again, that is a piece of it. Strong offense, struggling on defense."

Sort of like Oklahoma.