The college football playoff rankings are going to be released for the first time tonight and with that, we’ll see how much the committee favors certain factors over others. Four teams currently sit undefeated in the Power 5 conferences, but it seems almost a given that those won’t be the four teams in the top four tonight.
There are many teams that will have to play games to help eliminate others, and the biggest game that could eliminate a team potentially is the SEC Championship since Alabama and Georgia are assumed to be the top 2. Where will teams like Ohio State, who just beat #2 Penn State fall? What about Clemson, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and other one loss teams?
Here is how I see it. Obviously the committee doesn’t care what I think, but I feel like there should be a nice mix of who the four “best” teams are and who the four “most deserving” teams are – because those rarely are the same four teams at the end of the season. You could say that the four most deserving teams right now would be: Alabama, Georgia, Wisconsin, Miami. you could make an argument that the four best teams are: Georgia, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Penn State. There are crazy arguments all over the place for really any of the top 7-8 teams to be in the top four tonight. It depends on what you place importance in.
Of course, I’ve said for years that it should be a 16-team playoff so that everyone that has any kind of argument, still gets a chance. It’s not fair that Central Florida could run over everyone and never have a chance in hell to make it to the playoff, and it’s not fair that no matter what – at least one Power 5 conference will ALWAYS be left out. What kind of system is that?
Just imagine a playoff right now (loosely thrown together using AP rankings/assumed conference champs of all 10 conferences):
(1) Alabama (SEC Champ) vs. (16) FAU (C-USA Champ)
(8) Penn State (At-Large) vs. (9) Central Florida (AAC Champ)
(5) Clemson (ACC Champ) vs. (12) Wisconsin (At-Large)
(4) TCU (Big 12 Champ) vs. (13) Toledo (MAC Champ)
(6) Georgia (At-Large) vs. (11) Oklahoma (At-Large)
(3) Notre Dame (At-Large) vs. (14) Arkansas State (Sun Belt Champ)
(7) Washington (Pac-12 Champ) vs. (10) Miami(At-Large)
(2) Ohio State (Big 10 Champ) vs. (15) Boise State (MWC Champ)
Anyway, time to jump off my soapbox and quit dreaming and on to my rankings.
Jon’s Week 10 College Football Playoff Rankings
1. Georgia (8-0)
Georgia easily has the best win of the undefeated teams with their victory over Notre Dame. They also have arguably the best rushing attack in the country, alongside Alabama and Notre Dame, which is why they beat rival Florida 42-7 and only completed four passes. If they have to pass it, they are capable, but they don’t need to. They also have the #3 defense in the country right now, giving up only 252.1 yards per game. If they keep winning, they will have a chance to face Alabama (most likely) in the SEC Championship to truly lock in the title of “best team in the regular season” before the playoffs begin. However, as we’ve seen – that doesn’t always translate to finishing the season #1, as the top ranked team has yet to win the playoffs.
2. Alabama (8-0)
This is right where Alabama needs to be. Crazy Alabama fans will probably get angry at this, but believe me, #2 is the best spot for Alabama. If you’re superstitious (or only a little stitious), they were #2 when they won their one CFP title and #1 the other two years when they lost. Also, their Florida State win is useless now. Yes, it was against a healthy Florida State, but that doesn’t matter much when they are 2-5 right now. All they have to do is win out and they get Georgia to fully assert their dominance and reclaim #1. Plus, Nick Saban doesn’t like rat poison for his team and putting them #1 is the biggest dose of poison you can give.
3. Notre Dame (7-1)
If you’re going for quality losses, Notre Dame has one in a 1-point loss to Georgia earlier in the season. They both have two of the best rushing attacks in the nation, and are a challenge for anyone they face. Notre Dame is also always going to be the beneficiary of a tougher schedule that looks more impressive than most due to being an independent, but they are also without a conference title game as well, so there are positives and negatives to that. Still, they have wins over three teams that are currently ranked, and they were all by 20+ points.
4. Ohio State (7-1)
Some people will complain that the Buckeyes lost to Oklahoma, but they have been lights out since then, including beating Penn State this past weekend. I think the eye test does mean something. A win is not just a win and a loss is not just a loss. At least in my opinion. I’ve always thought that just because a kicker makes or misses a game winning field goal, doesn’t change my opinion on what happened to get to that point. So with that, yes – the Oklahoma loss was bad for Ohio State, but they have since played well enough for me to think they are one of the best teams in the country.
This is where the line gets blurred between “who is best” and “who is most deserving”. Ohio State is second best of the 1-loss teams in my opinion, but Oklahoma only has one loss and beat them head-to-head. I’m still leaning toward Ohio State due to them running over teams, then beating a top 10 team. Compare that to Oklahoma who has since lost a game and barely beaten three teams that don’t even have winning records (Baylor, Texas, Kansas State). Both teams still have a lot of work to do, and things will play themselves out.
5. Clemson (7-1) – Their loss is going to hurt them because it’s the worst loss of any team in the top 10. Still, they should be able to win out and be ok. NC State will be an important game for them this week.
6. Penn State (7-1) – Everyone is ready to remove Penn State from the playoff picture, but if they run the table, then one of two things will happen. Ohio State falters along the way and Penn State is in the same spot Ohio State was last year. Or, Ohio State wins out, then Penn State runs the table, and has a 1-point loss on the road to one of the best teams in the country. They are still alive, but it will be tough.
7. Wisconsin (8-0) – Yeah, they are undefeated, but that’s the only reason they are this high.
8. Oklahoma (7-1) – Their win over Ohio State should have them higher than this, but they just haven’t looked that great in some of their games recently. Their offense has been good, but defense has not. Bedlam can help prove a lot this week.
9. TCU (7-1) – The loss to Iowa State is bad, but we are seeing more of how good Iowa State is than how bad TCU or Oklahoma are. At least they beat Oklahoma State, but there is still work to do.
10. Oklahoma State (7-1) – Still one of the best offenses in the country, and we’ll see what happens this week against Oklahoma.
11. Miami (8-0)
12. Virginia Tech (7-1)
13. Iowa State (6-2)
14. UCF (7-0)
15. Washington (7-1)
16. LSU (6-2)
17. Auburn (6-2)
18. NC State (6-2)
19. USC (7-2)
20. Mississippi State (6-2)
21. Memphis (7-1)
22. Stanford (7-2)
23. Michigan State (6-2)
24. Arizona (6-2)
25. Michigan (6-2)