College Football Playoff Rankings prediction: Ohio State ticks up ahead of game vs. Michigan
What will the CFP Rankings look like upon their release? Jerry Palm takes a stab hours before the show
It was another pretty chalky week at the top of the College Football Playoff Rankings. In fact, it's been that way pretty much all season. Maybe chaos will reign this final week before championship weekend. I'm not holding my breath. We are here to predict what the top 25 will look like when the CFP Selection Committee makes its announcement Tuesday at approximately 7 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.
In this space, 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 would look like if it was released this week.
|The Crimson Tide took their SEC Saturday Sabbatical a little too seriously for the game against The Citadel. The teams were tied at 10 at the half. Lee Corso would have taken a picture of the scoreboard. A 27-point Bama third quarter put an end to that, but it was fun while it lasted. (Last week: 1) |
|Clemson finished off ACC play with an easy win over Duke. The Tigers will take on in-state rival South Carolina in one of four ACC-SEC rivalry games this weekend before battling Pittsburgh in the ACC Championship Game. (2) |
|The Irish were the hot pick as an upset victim against Syracuse. Um, not so much. ND rolled the Orange with ease at Yankee Stadium. Notre Dame is the only team in the top six that ends its season this week. (3) |
|The Wolverines toyed with Indiana before putting the Hoosiers away in the second half. You can't blame them if they were looking ahead to this week against Ohio State (streaming live on fuboTV -- try for free) a little bit. (4) |
|Georgia pounded UMass in its tune-up for Georgia Tech this week. The Bulldogs cannot afford to think about Alabama and the SEC title game next week. The Yellow Jackets are good enough to take them down if the Bulldogs are not focused on the task at hand. (5) |
|Changing defensive coordinators has not solved the Sooners' defensive problems, but they still have had enough offense to overcome them. That will get sorely tested again this week at West Virginia with a berth in the Big 12 Championship Game at stake. A loss would most likely knock OU out of that contest. (6) |
|The battle for this position in the rankings has gotten hotter as the Tigers have damaged their strength of schedule the last two weeks. Playing Texas A&M to end the season will not hurt. (7) |
|The Cougars could overtake LSU this week, but if not then, for sure it would happen with a win in the Apple Cup over Washington on Saturday and a victory over Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game. (8) |
|The Buckeyes have not looked like a top 10 team since winning at Penn State on Sept. 29. However, that one loss to Purdue is not enough to knock OSU down, even though that loss looks worse every week. (10)|
|UCF blew out Cincinnati in the showdown for the AAC East title, which is the Knights best win of the season so far. They finish up the regular season with South Florida and await the Houston-Memphis winner in the AAC Championship Game. (11) |
|The Mountaineers coughed up a chance to make the College Football Playoff but can still play for the Big 12 title with a win over Oklahoma. They can get in with a loss, too, but need some unlikely help. (9) |
|The Wildcats should have been ranked ahead of Florida last week and should be this week as well. UK beat Middle Tennessee and will now face what's left of Louisville. The Wildcats have a legitimate shot at a New Year's Six game. (17) |
|Florida did some damage to its strength of schedule with a win over Idaho, which is the Gators' second win over an FCS team this season. They get to try to put a hurting on Florida State this week and end the Seminoles' 36-year bowl streak. (13)|
|The Nittany Lions did not impress at Rutgers but came away with a 20-7 win. PSU is in play for a New Year's Six game, especially if the committee keeps underrating Kentucky's season. (14) |
|All Texas has to do is beat Kansas to play in the Big 12 title game. If Oklahoma beats West Virginia, the Longhorns are in second place outright. If West Virginia wins to create a three-way tie, Oklahoma loses the tiebreaker. (15) |
|The Huskies smacked Oregon State around on Saturday, setting up a winner-take-all match with Washington State for the Pac-12 North title and a date with Utah next Saturday. (18) |
|The Utes beat Colorado handily to finish conference play at 6-3 and clinch a spot in the Pac-12 title game against the Apple Cup winner. But first, the Holy War game against BYU. (19) |
|Syracuse was the most overrated team in last week's rankings, and it showed against Notre Dame. Of course, it didn't help that Orange quarterback Eric Dungey got hurt. His availability for the season finale against Boston College is uncertain. (12) |
|The committee loves themselves some Mississippi State. That is because their four losses have come to the four SEC teams ranked ahead of the Bulldogs. They will try to avoid getting egg on their faces in the rivalry game with Mississippi on Thanksgiving night. (21) |
|The Wildcats have the strangest resume the committee has had to deal with in its brief history. Home losses to Duke, Akron and Notre Dame in nonconference play balanced with winning the Big Ten West division. (22) |
|ISU took its fourth loss of the season at Texas. There is no shame in that, but it eliminated the Cyclones from Big 12 championship contention. (16)|
|Colorado State was a brief step out of bounds from upsetting the Aggies in one of the most gut-wrenching losses you'll ever see. Utah State made its debut in the rankings last week despite having far and away the worst strength of schedule of anyone in the top 25. (23)|
|The Broncos also made its 2018 debut in the rankings last week and will host the Aggies on the Smurf turf for a spot in the Mountain West Championship Game against Fresno State. (25) |
|The Aggies handled Conference USA leader UAB with relative ease last Saturday. Texas A&M hosts LSU to end the regular season. (NR) |
|The Camp Fire in Northern California caused The Big Game at Cal to be postponed until Dec. 1. The Cardinal will travel to UCLA to face the Bruins with an eye improving their bowl prospects. (NR) |
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