College Football Playoff Rankings prediction: Canes, Sooners are big gainers
The Canes and Sooners are in a great spot in this college football rankings prediction
Every week ahead of the College Football Playoff Rankings release, we will be predicting what the top 25 will look like when the CFP Selection Committee makes its announcement Tuesday at approximately 9 p.m. ET. It is a warmup act for the warmup act, which are the CFP Rankings releases before the final one.
Note: Predictions in this post are based only on results to this point, so they do not reflect the final forecast for the playoff, which can be found here.
Here, we will try to emphasize the same criteria the committee uses. That will be difficult because, as we have learned, the committee can be all over the map. Sometimes, it decides that head-to-head matters; sometimes, it doesn't. Sometimes, strength of schedule matters; sometimes, it doesn't. Sometimes, relative dominance matters; sometimes, it doesn't. Sometimes it's about game control -- whatever that is -- or recency bias or ... ah, you get the idea.
What we have learned is that this process is highly subjective. It is much more subjective than the process that the basketball committee uses, which is what the football committee was modeled after. With all of that in mind, here is what I think the top 25 will look like this week.
|The Crimson Tide picked up their best road win of the year in a nail-biter at Mississippi State. Strength of schedule should have the Tide at No. 1 this week. Saturday, Alabama takes its annual mid-November sabbatical by showing Mercer no mercy. (2)|
|The turnover chain is No. 2 on Tom Fornelli's Heisman Trophy ballot, and after the Hurricanes brought that out four times against Notre Dame, it's hard to argue against that. Miami made a strong case for No. 1 this week with a 41-8 drubbing of the Irish. The lack of a noteworthy road win should keep them short of that mark. (7)|
|Oklahoma-TCU, Part I, went to the Sooners in convincing fashion. That should be enough to push OU ahead of Clemson, at least for this week. It will take a significant upset to prevent Oklahoma-TCU, Part II, from happening in Dallas in the return of the Big 12 Championship Game. (5)|
|You wouldn't think that beating Florida State would hurt a team's strength of schedule, but that is the case this year. The Tigers handled the Seminoles comfortably but will likely fail to gain a spot this week. (4)|
|I thought Georgia would lose at Auburn but never thought it would get run off the field. If the committee overreacts to the big margin, the Bulldogs could find themselves behind Auburn despite the extra loss for the Tigers. (1)|
|The Badgers knocked off Iowa at home, 38-14. Both Iowa scores came on interception returns by Josh Jackson. Other than those plays, Wisconsin was dominant. The Badgers play the team with the best record they will have faced so far this season when Michigan visits on Saturday. (8)|
|Auburn sent a message with the pounding the Tigers gave Georgia on Saturday. They still get Alabama at home, so nobody should be conceding the SEC to the Crimson Tide just yet. (14)|
|Just when you thought Notre Dame was a playoff team. The Irish stunk up the joint in Miami and will need some divine intervention from Touchdown Jesus to get back into playoff contention. (3)|
|TCU lost at Oklahoma, 38-20, but still has a decent resume, led by a win at Oklahoma State. Barring something unforeseen, the Frogs will get another shot at OU much closer to home in Dallas. (6)|
|If Ohio State is ahead of TCU this week, it is only because the committee overreacted to the Buckeyes margin in a 48-3 stomping of Michigan State. They have yet to beat anyone of note away from home and got stomped themselves in both of their losses. (13)|
|The Trojans took care of Colorado to clinch the Pac-12 South. Unfortunately, the Buffaloes did not do much for USC's strength of schedule, so I expect no movement this week. (11)|
|The Nittany Lions stopped a two-game losing streak with a 35-6 win over Rutgers. Four points is all that separates Penn State from an undefeated season. It is going to take an Illinois-over-Ohio-State level miracle to give PSU a shot at repeating as Big Ten champion. (14)|
|The last two weeks have been good for the Cowboys' strength of schedule, if not their record. They followed up last week's loss to Oklahoma with a come from behind win at Iowa State. (15)|
|The undefeated Knights should start to see a bit of a climb in the rankings this week as some of the teams ahead of them picked up a third loss. (18)|
|The Cougars do not have a noteworthy road win yet, but they do have nice wins at home over Boise State, USC and Stanford. (19)|
|Mississippi State had it won, but Alabama is Alabama for a reason. OK, several reasons, one of which is knowing how to win. The Bulldogs will be kicking themselves about letting this one get away for quite some time. (16)|
|Yikes, Sparty. That was an ugly loss to Ohio State. Here is your stat of the day: MSU is 7-3 but has been outscored by nine points this season. Even with that margin, do not expect a huge drop for the Spartans. (12)|
|Washington got beat at Stanford 30-22 on the Friday night #Pac12AfterDark feature. As it stands today, the Huskies have one win over a team above .500. That came over 7-3 Fresno State, although they do have four wins over 5-5 teams in their league. (9)|
|The Tigers have only lost at UCF and have wins over UCLA, Navy at Houston. They may get another shot at the Knights in the AAC title game. They cannot do much to cause a move up the rankings before then, although a win over SMU this week would be decent. (22)|
|The Wolfpack rebounded from a disappointing loss to Clemson with a hard fought win at Boston College. They missed their shot at a New Year's Six game last week, but nine wins and a good bowl game would have to be considered a successful season. (23)|
|It is hard to believe this team lost to Troy. LSU pulled away from Arkansas in the second half for a 33-10 win over the Hogs. That serves as one more nail in the coaching coffin of Bret Bielema. (24)|
|The Wildcats had an easy time with Purdue this week. Unfortunately for Northwestern, Duke's season spiraling down the toilet is dragging their profile down. (25)|
|The Hawkeyes have four losses, all to teams ahead of them on this list, and only the loss to Penn State on the final play of the game came at home. Wins over Iowa State and Ohio State -- also in these rankings -- show just how tough the Iowa schedule has been. (20)|
|The Cyclones had another tough loss this week to Oklahoma State at home in a game it looked like they had won. It has still be a remarkable turnaround for ISU this season since losing its starting quarterback the week leading up to the Oklahoma game. (21)|
|The Cardinal beat Washington on Friday for their first big win of the season. Prior to that, the best thing you could say about Stanford is that they had no bad losses. (NR)|
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