College football fans are anxiously awaiting the initial unveiling of the College Football Playoff rankings to see if the committee has tricks or treats in store for their favorite team on Halloween night. This weekend was highlighted by four matchups featuring ranked opponents along with several others with playoff implications.
The game of the day lived up to the hype. After facing a double-digit deficit, J.T. Barrett led an Ohio State comeback to pull out a 39-38 Buckeyes victory. Georgia demolished Florida 42-7 amidst rumors Jim McElwain may be on the way out as Gators coach. The top two teams in our projections are in the SEC, despite the conference being down overall this season.
Notre Dame looked dominant once again as the Irish defeated a good NC State team 35-14. Notre Dame running back Josh Adams rushed for 202 yards and two touchdowns. The postseason picture in the Big 12 is as crazy as the Pac-12 after TCU was upset by Iowa State. The Cyclones now have wins over TCU, Texas Tech and Oklahoma this season.
Houston handed USF its first loss, as the Bulls were the top ranked Group of Five team in last week’s AP Poll. The top ranked Group of Five team will play in one of the New Year’s Six games.
As we discussed last week, it is difficult to know exactly what the committee will emphasize this season. Based on past years we have a pretty good idea of several criteria that are likely to be of particular importance. The committee has a history of rewarding teams with quality wins, even if you have slipped up against inferior opponents. Good wins have been of greater importance than bad losses.
As other contenders look to survive and advance, Alabama had the week off, and entered their bye week as the leader in the clubhouse to get the top spot when Tuesday’s rankings are released.
Here’s a look at our predictions for the College Football Playoff rankings. We will continue to update this as more games go final.
Alabama, Georgia, Notre Dame & Ohio State Are Favorites to Make the College Football Playoff
Alabama has had the most traditional path to be one of the top ranked teams. The Crimson Tide have won all eight of their games, but as the SEC season progresses some of these wins do not look as impressive as we originally thought. Alabama dominated Florida State to start the season, which would be the beginning of the Seminoles tail spin into a dismal season.
The Crimson Tide also have wins over Ole Miss, Arkansas and Texas A&M. From start to finish, Alabama has looked like the most elite team in college football, but the Crimson Tide will be tested next week against LSU. Alabama also has Auburn and a likely showdown against Georgia in Atlanta remaining on their schedule.
Georgia likely sits at No. 2 as their win at Notre Dame continues to look better and better with the Irish’s success. Aside from the head to head matchup, Notre Dame has a better resume, but it is hard to rank the Irish above an undefeated team they lost to. Georgia has benefited from playing in the SEC East, but has won every conference game by at least 25 points. The Bulldogs have South Carolina, Auburn and Georgia Tech remaining on their schedule.
Notre Dame is putting together an impressive resume and sit as a solid No. 3 in our projections. The Irish have wins over Michigan State, USC and NC State who are all expected to be ranked in the Top 25. Adams is making a strong Heisman case, and combined with quarterback Brandon Wimbush makes for a lethal offense. Notre Dame faces Wake Forest next week then finishes up the season against Miami, Navy and Stanford. None of the Irish’s remaining games are guaranteed wins, but Notre Dame likely controls their own destiny if they can run the table.
The No. 4 team is the hardest to decipher as Clemson and Ohio State both have strong cases. The thing that could decide who sits in the final spot in the initial rankings could be how the committee looks at Clemson’s loss to Syracuse. Kelly Bryant was knocked out of the game, but the Tigers were not playing particularly well when Bryant was playing. Clemson has wins over Auburn, Louisville and Virginia Tech. Ohio State has the best individual win with their recent victory over Penn State.
College Football Playoff Rankings: Top 25 Predictions Week 10
|3||Notre Dame (7-1)|
|4||Ohio State (7-1)|
|6||Penn State (7-1)|
|11||Oklahoma State (7-1)|
|13||Virginia Tech (7-1)|
|16||Iowa State (6-2)|
|18||NC State (6-2)|
|19||Michigan State (6-2)|
|23||Washington State (6-2)|
|24||Mississippi State (6-2)|