I wanted to give it a few weeks before I started putting together my tier lists. I feel like the competition has already separated itself this early in the season but some surprise teams have made their way into the fold. After the first three weeks, most teams have already played a good team. Rarely will a team get three stinkers back-to-back-to-back.

I don’t rank every team, only the teams that I would put in the S or A Tier. What is an S Tier? S basically means “super” as in – these are the absolute cream of the crop and definitely playoff caliber teams. They have separated themselves from everyone and no one is on their level. In video games, S Tier characters as usually the ones that are banned because they are so overpowered.

If a team is a B Tier team or below, I don’t rank them. I could continue to rank tiers until I got through every FBS team, but I am not going to do that. If a team made the cut for S or A (which is broken into A+, A and A-) then that means they are a “good” team. Imagine these tiers as my top 25 – there won’t necessarily be 25, it’s however many I feel belong on the list. I’ve always disliked top 25 lists because nothing has really been done to say that Alabama is better than Georgia who are both better than Clemson. They are all good teams now that are all capable of beating one another and belong on the same level for now.

Note – the teams are listed in alphabetical order, not a ranking, under any given tier.

S Tier

Alabama – Just absolute dominance so far. Tua is for real, and Jalen is actually playing really well when he comes in. I still believe they run the table with either one, but Tua puts them on another level. The defense isn’t perfect, but is still playing really well. Many people thought they would give up a decent amount of points against Ole Miss, but after the first play, they shut them out. Really impressive.

Clemson – After Clemson survived their scare at Texas A&M, it should be smooth sailing until the end of the season. Boston College is looking good so far and South Carolina could be a test, but nothing between now and then should be. Clemson has the easiest path to the playoff in my opinion.

Georgia – The Missouri game will be interesting this coming week. Georgia should still win with ease, but we’ll see if Missouri can put up points on the Georgia defense. Their next real test shouldn’t come until October 13 when they head to LSU. They can lose that game and still win the East with ease and have a shot at the playoff.

Ohio State – I was wondering about Ohio State early on in the TCU game. That would have dropped them from the top tier. But they came back and were easily the better team in the second half, and that was without their best player in Nick Bosa.


A+ Tier

LSU – You have to give Coach O all the credit in the world. No one would have thought that LSU would 3-0 after playing two top 10 (at the time) teams. LSU has the #1 strength of record according to ESPN. They gave a top 25 team only a 19% chance to win those games. Joe Burrow has struggled at times, only completing 46.2% of his passes, but has come up clutch when they need him to and hasn’t turned the ball over. Nick Brossette has looked really good running the ball too.

Oklahoma – Beating FAU and UCLA wasn’t much, but going on the road to a team they lost to last year in Iowa State showed me a little more. I still expect Oklahoma to slip up somewhere and I can’t put them as an S Tier team right now. They get Texas and TCU back to back in October (with a bye week in between) and we’ll see what they are made of then.


A Tier

Auburn – Tough loss for Auburn against LSU. That makes multiple bad performances against LSU in a row now. I don’t know what it is about LSU that Gus Malzahn can’t seem to get past, but Auburn now has no more losses to play with. Auburn’s chance to make the playoff fell to 2% after the loss and they have to beat four more top 25 teams on their schedule with three of those on the road (@ Mississippi State, vs. Texas A&M, @ Georgia, @ Alabama).

Stanford – The win over USC doesn’t look quiet as impressive after USC got thumped by Texas, but the next two weeks will tell us a lot as they go to Oregon and Notre Dame.

UCF – Didn’t get to see them because of the hurricane, but they get Lane Kiffin’s squad next week followed by a decent schedule including Pitt, an SMU team that hung tough with Michigan and then at Memphis and ECU.

Virginia Tech – Another team affected by the hurricane. Should be easy next week against Old Dominion, but then at Duke and at home vs. Notre Dame should be interesting games.

Washington – Washington was fairly evenly matched with Auburn and have won out since. They get an Arizona State team that finally lost but has exceeded expectations this week followed by a BYU team that has also exceeded expectations.

West Virginia – No game because of the hurricane and it was one that would have no doubt helped their college football playoff resume. It’s unfortunate but they now need to try and win out. An easy enough schedule until November when it gets really tough as they are @ Texas, vs. TCU, @ Oklahoma State and vs. Oklahoma.

Wisconsin – Yikes. BYU has looked good, but Wisconsin should be better than this. They now have less than a 1% chance to make the playoff. They would have to win out and hope chaos ensues to where there aren’t enough 1-loss teams ahead of them with a Power 5 loss instead of BYU (which counts as P5 to some people). Their game at Iowa just got a lot more interesting this weekend.


A- Tier

These teams are still good teams, but need to show me something against a legitimate opponent before I put them higher than this. In other words – go beat a team in a tier higher than this or beat multiple teams in this tier.

Miami
Michigan
Mississippi State
Notre Dame
Oklahoma State
Oregon
Penn State
TCU
USC


My playoff as of now:

(1) Alabama vs. (4) Ohio State
(2) Clemson vs. (3) Georgia

(5) LSU
(6) Oklahoma

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Jon Lunceford is a sports media broadcaster and digital professional. Jon is a graduate of the University of Alabama school of journalism, and played football at Birmingham-Southern College. He has also won two AHSAA Football State Championships while at Homewood High School and was a two-time World Cyber Games Team USA representative. He currently hosts Primetime on WJOX 94.5 and runs the high school athletics site JoxPreps.