Update: The penultimate College Football Playoff Rankings are out. Click here to view them.
As we have for the past several weeks, we are predicting what the top 25 of the fifth release of the College Football Playoff Rankings release will look like Tuesday night.
Here, we try to emphasize the same criteria the CFP Selection 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 record 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 how I think the top 25 will look this week.
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.
Even though it was a tumultuous weekend in the lower two-thirds of the College Football Playoff Rankings, it was pretty clean at the top. Only Michigan lost among teams ranked in the top 10 going into the weekend, and of course, the Wolverines fell to No. 2 Ohio State.
With all that in mind, here is what I think the top 25 will look like this week.
2. Ohio State: The Buckeyes will have played four games against teams in the top nine of this week's rankings, and three of those were on the road. Nobody else can match that schedule. They are 3-1 in those games.
4. Washington: The CFP Selection Committee has yet to put UW behind a two-loss team, so I'll leave the Huskies here. I will not be surprised if Michigan stays in front for one more week.
5. Michigan: The Wolverines have also played four of the top nine teams, but they got three of those games -- and all of their wins against that group -- at home.
9. Oklahoma: The Sooners took the week off to prepare for Bedlam.
10. Oklahoma State: The committee's favorite team spends another week in the top 10. It plays Oklahoma on Saturday for a chance to return to the Sugar Bowl.
13. West Virginia: The Mountaineers are doing just fine against the non-Oklahoma teams on their schedule. OU and OSU pounded them pretty good, though.
14. Auburn: The Tigers lost to Alabama in the Iron Bowl, but a Crimson Tide victory this week could send Auburn to the Sugar Bowl.
15. Florida: The Gators didn't have much for Florida State last week and now they have to get ready for Alabama. Uh-oh.
16. Western Michigan: The Broncos should be in the clear for a spot in the Cotton Bowl if they beat Ohio to win the MAC on Friday. I say "should be" because the committee has not been very high on this team. Their schedule does hold them back. Seven of the 10 teams ahead of them in last week's rankings lost.
19. LSU: The Tigers finished strong, winning four of six since Ed Orgeron took over for Les Miles. LSU's only losses were close games at home to the two SEC division champions
22. Virginia Tech: The committee has overlooked this team. Clemson had better not make that mistake. The Hokies have shown they can give the Tigers a fight.
23. Tennessee: The Vols lost at Vandy to end the season, but those Life Championship trophies will help soothe the pain.
24. Pittsburgh: The Panthers quietly had a good season. They have wins over Penn State and Clemson, two playoff contenders.
25. Iowa: The Hawkeyes got off to a rough start this season, losing to North Dakota State and Northwestern at home, but finished well, including late wins over Michigan and Nebraska.