College Football Playoff: What Will The Rankings Be?

    If the College Football Playoff were set today, which teams would be in? Who are the four predicted to make it at the end of the season? And what's the current pecking order?

    November 1, 2015


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    The first official College Football Playoff Rankings are coming out on Tuesday night, so what will they be? What’s the committee going to be looking at and what will they come up with when they finally decide?

    The 12 committee members will argue the merits of each team in each spot, and they’ll have all the stats and all the data in front of them to do a side-by-side comparison to try getting each spot right. So with that in mind, here’s the best guess …

    College Football Playoff Top Four Rankings Will Likely Be …

    1. LSU (7-0)

    The SEC might not have the juice it had last year at this time, but it’s still the strongest conference in college football and LSU’s win over Florida is enough to take the top spot. The committee likes road wins, and while the Tigers only have two so far, beating Mississippi State is looking stronger and stronger to go along with the victory over Syracuse. Beating Auburn and South Carolina might not carry much weight, but the win over WKU might get a little credit. It’ll hardly be a slam dunk, but Ohio State, TCU and Baylor don’t have a win over anyone nearly as good as Florida – or Mississippi State.

    2. Clemson (8-0)

    When the committee goes through the side-by-side comparisons, and combines it with the eye-test, if Clemson isn’t No. 1 it’ll be in the front-and-center in the debates. The win over Notre Dame will be the key to the puzzle, but blowing away Miami 58-0, and with the offense going into Raleigh and blasting away on NC State, this will look the part of the top team. But is the overall resume going to be enough? Beating Appalachian State and Louisville is strong, but Georgia Tech and Boston College’s problems will bring the Tigers back in the pack.

    3. Ohio State (8-0)

    There’s no rationalization for this other than the committee just liking how Ohio State looks. The Buckeyes beat Penn State, but that’s not good enough. Virginia Tech, Indiana, Maryland and Rutgers – those are the other Power 5 conference wins. Beating Northern Illinois and Western Michigan is nice, but there’s no way, no how, a committee that really and truly looks at the side-by-side comparisons should put the Buckeyes in the top three. However, this is all based on who the committee thinks the top teams are, so opinion plays a role.

    4. TCU (8-0)

    The TCU offense is humming at just the right time. Being hot matters, and the Horned Frogs are sizzling after beating Iowa State and West Virginia without a problem. The wins over Texas Tech and Minnesota on the road are looking better now than they did a few weeks ago, but the real tests are coming. No, there isn’t a truly impressive opponent on the slate so far, but it’s a far better slate than anything Baylor has dealt with.

    If Done Now, The College Football Playoff Next Eight For The New Year’s Six Bowls Would Be …

    5. Michigan State (8-0)

    The Spartans fail the eye test compared to some of the other key teams, but the wins are starting to look better and better with Oregon becoming a factor again and Purdue beating Nebraska. The win over the Ducks – along with Sparty’s current reputation – might be enough to sneak into the top four, and beating Michigan on the road might be the clincher. The only reason MSU might not be in could be because of what the TCU offense is doing, but on paper, it deserves to be in right now far more than Ohio State.

    6. Baylor (7-0)

    The loss of Seth Russell will matter for the moment, but that won’t play a big role going forward if Jarrett Stidham keeps the offense humming. For now, not having the starting quarterback is a factor, but the bigger issue is a miserable schedule with the best win coming against a Texas Tech team that can’t stop anyone, and the second best win coming over a West Virginia team that’s getting plastered whenever it plays anyone solid. The third best win? Iowa State.

    7. Iowa (8-0)

    Pure and total speculation here, but the committee members are going to love this team mainly because they’ll buy in to the idea that it’s a tight, well-coached bunch that’s getting it done the way they like it. Remember, opinion is a big part of this, and with a blowout win over Northwestern on the road, and the win at Camp Randall over Wisconsin, that’s about as solid as it gets. Beating Pitt and Illinois also helps, but it’s that Badger win that’ll push the Hawkeyes into top four consideration.

    8. Notre Dame (7-1)

    Everyone watched the Temple game, which will turn into a massive plus with the Owls getting more and more respect. The Irish handed Temple and Navy their only losses, but it’s the win over USC that’ll be what everyone likes the most. It’s a slate full of nice wins, but the biggest overall positive could be the two-point loss at Clemson – about as acceptable as they come. Call this a holding pattern ranking – Notre Dame will be on the radar, but a few blowouts against Pitt, Wake Forest and Boston College would help.

    9. Florida (7-1)

    This might be the committee’s toughest call. The wins over Tennessee and Ole Miss carry the Gators in the rankings, mainly because beating Kentucky and Missouri on the road really isn’t that great. However, the committee might really like that Florida got the job done against the Wildcats and the Tigers on the road. It’s the 38-10 blasting of Ole Miss that matters, while the loss at LSU by seven is about as acceptable as it gets. Throw in the Georgia win, and don’t be shocked if Jim McElwain’s team is ahead of several unbeatens.

    10. Alabama (7-1)

    Total guess here that the committee sees what everyone else does. This is a top four team, and some members will be sure to fight for it with an 18-point win over Wisconsin, a 28-point win over Georgia, and big wins over Texas A&M on the road and Tennessee and Arkansas at home. In all, there are six wins so far over teams that’ll probably go bowling – this might be the best resume in all of college football, except for the loss to Ole Miss. The committee will be thinking ahead, putting Alabama behind Florida, for now. If the Crimson Tide beats an LSU team that beat the Gators, the ranking goes flying into the top four.

    11. Stanford (7-1)

    The loss to Northwestern seems like it’s ten years ago now. Road wins over USC and Washington State will carry plenty of weight, while blasting UCLA and Arizona will be duly noted. UCF is miserable, and going to Oregon State and coming away with an easy win isn’t special, but there’s enough to like as the best team in the Pac-12 at the moment to potentially get into the top ten.

    12. Oklahoma State (7-0)

    Gut feeling – the committee isn’t going to like the Cowboys. The defense couldn’t make a tackle against Texas Tech, and that’s it for the decent wins. There’s a possibility that Central Michigan is the only other team that OSU has played that’ll go bowling. Kansas State will have to fight to get a 13th game, and West Virginia is probably in, but there’s absolutely nothing on the schedule to get excited about. OSU is fighting to get by the WVUs and Kansas States of the world, while the big boys are blowing them out .

    And The Highest-Ranked Group Of Five Team Would Be …

    Memphis (8-0)

    Don’t’ be fall-off-your-chair stunned if Memphis is ranked in the top ten. And why not? How can Alabama be ranked higher than the team that beat Ole Miss? The problem, of course, is the rest of the schedule, with the second-best win after the Ole Miss victory coming against either Cincinnati or Bowling Green. With Navy, Houston and Temple coming up soon, the Tigers will get plenty of chances to prove themselves.

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