College Football Playoff Rankings: Ohio State opens at No. 1, Penn State in top four of CFP top 25

The first College Football Playoff Rankings of the 2019 season has arrived and with it comes plenty of drama. Before we get to that, one important note to remember: In the first five years of the CFP, no team that has opened at No. 1 has ever gone on to win the national championship. 

With that out of the way, the top five teams in the first CFP Rankings were exactly as expected -- two undefeated teams each from the SEC and Big Ten, plus the defending national champions. The order, however, was up in the air until the rankings officially came in. Ohio State opened as the No. 1 team in the nation, followed by LSU at No. 2, Alabama at No. 3 and Penn State at No. 4. Clemson, who some thought would get the benefit of the doubt despite a weak schedule, was left out of the four-team field at No. 5 with one-loss Georgia checking in at No. 6.

Before we get into this, I want to remind you of the first rule of these rankings releases: Don't overreact. But Clemson is fifth. How could those idiots put the undefeated defending champions fifth?! I get it, but calm down. The playoff does not start today. Clemson is fifth because of a mediocre schedule, no quality wins and a scare at North Carolina. Never fear, though. If the Tigers go 13-0, they will definitely get a chance to defend their title in this year's playoff.

Let's take a look at the entire CFP Rankings top 25. Keep on reading for additional analysis from Jerry Palm.

College Football Playoff Rankings, Nov. 5

  1. Ohio State (8-0)
  2. LSU (8-0)
  3. Alabama (8-0)
  4. Penn State (8-0)
  5. Clemson (9-0)
  6. Georgia (7-1)
  7. Oregon (8-1)
  8. Utah (8-1)
  9. Oklahoma (7-1)
  10. Florida (7-2)
  11. Auburn (7-2)
  12. Baylor (8-0)
  13. Wisconsin (6-2)
  14. Michigan (7-2)
  15. Notre Dame (6-2)
  16. Kansas State (6-2)
  17. Minnesota (8-0)
  18. Iowa (6-2)
  19. Wake Forest (7-1)
  20. Cincinnati (7-1)
  21. Memphis (8-1)
  22. Boise State (7-1)
  23. Oklahoma State (6-3)
  24. Navy (7-1)
  25. SMU (8-1)

What about Minnesota?! They're undefeated and below 6-2 Kansas State?! True, but Kansas State beat Oklahoma and Minnesota beat … um … Georgia Southern? Fresno State? Clemson's schedule may be mediocre, but Minnesota's is significantly worse. Take heart though, Gophers fans. Ohio State went from an initial ranking of 16 to the national title the first year of the CFP. For you, Minnesota, glory is just around the corner, starting this week against Penn State. If the Gophers win that one and four more to get to 13-0, they too will be in the playoff.

Baylor is also sitting behind some two-loss teams at No. 12. Florida and Auburn are right ahead of the Bears. Again, this committee is not leaving out a major undefeated team unless it has five of them. That is not possible this season, which brings me to …

The Pac-12. The committee thought a little more of the two one-loss teams in that conference than it did either Baylor or 7-1 Oklahoma. We will see if that holds up over the next month, but I believe that Oregon is the best one-loss conference champion playoff contender besides Georgia. The difference for the Ducks is a quality nonconference game against Auburn, even though that is their only loss.

Group of Five folks have complained for years that the powers that be do not respect them, and these rankings reflect that to some degree. Wake Forest, who a loss at home to Louisville and only has one win against a team currently above .500 (Boston College), is ahead of Cincinnati. The Bearcats only blemish is a 42-0 loss to Ohio State. That's pretty much what Ohio State does to everybody. Cincinnati also has a win over UCF, but the committee's attitude is one loss in a Power Five conference, even one as far down as the ACC, is better than a one-loss team in a Group of Five league.

On the positive for the Group of Five, five of the bottom six teams in this week's rankings are from those leagues.

Remember, be calm. We still have five weeks to go.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Jerry Palm started writing about sports on the Internet right after Al Gore invented it. He was the first to bring RPI out in the open and is one of the pioneers of predicting the March Madness bracket.... Full Bio

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