CBS Sports graphic

The regular-season portion of the 2022 college football season has reached its conclusion with Rivalry Week creating a lot more clarity that we were expecting. That was due in large part to upset losses by LSU and Clemson, which eliminated each of them from consideration for the College Football Playoff.

That does not mean that the CFP Selection Committee will have an easy job, though. There will still be difficult and important decisions to be made that could still impact the playoff and certainly the New Year's Six matchups.

Before we get to the rankings themselves, here's a refresher listing some of key points the committee members consider when deciding a team's ranking beyond their on-field record:

  • Strength of schedule
  • Conference championships (when decided)
  • Head-to-head
  • Results vs. common opponents
  • Results vs. ranked opponents

Thankfully, the committee's definition of "ranked opponents" is different than what you're used to seeing. The rankings they use are the prior week's CFP Rankings. They do not consider where teams are ranked when the games were played either in the CFP, AP Top 25, etc. Using game-time rankings is the most worthless way to determine "ranked opponents;" in fact, the committee specifically forbids the use of any poll that has a preseason starting point.

Notice that "game control" is not listed in the criteria. It never has been considered despite the term (or similar concepts) coming out of the mouth of the committee chairman at times the last few full seasons. (The CFP does not have a way to measure "game control" -- I've seen the data the committee uses -- but let's not kid ourselves: They do talk about it.)

With all that in mind, here is how the CFP Rankings will look this week. Remember: This is not necessarily how I would vote if I were on the committee. I am merely predicting what they will do Tuesday night.

Note: This projection is based only on results to this point. It does not reflect the final forecast for the playoff. The complete bowl playoff and bowl projections through the end of the season can be found here.

College Football Playoff Rankings prediction

The Bulldogs properly dispatched Georgia Tech and will look to repeat as SEC champions against LSU. That game has a little less buzz than it might have due to the Tigers' loss to Texas A&M. Last week: 1
Michigan stuck it to Ohio State for the second year in a row, this time in Columbus. The Wolverines are now the boss of the Big Ten until someone knocks them off that pedestal. It seems unlikely that Purdue will be able to accomplish that, but they aren't called Spoilermakers for nothing. Last week: 3
The Horned Frogs did something no other team has done this season: obliterate Iowa State's defense. The Cyclones were giving up only 19 points per game before TCU hung 62 on them. The previous high against ISU was Baylor's 31. Kansas State will take another shot at the Horned Frogs, but even a loss likely will not keep TCU out of the CFP. Last week: 4
The Trojans picked up their second straight rivalry win, knocking off Notre Dame, 38-27. USC will look to exact revenge on Utah, the only team to beat the Trojans this season, in the Pac-12 Championship Game. USC is looking to become the first Pac-12 team to play in the CFP since Washington in 2016. Last week: 6
The Buckeyes will probably miss out on the playoff again this season after getting trounced by Michigan at home. They could still back in to the top four, but it is no longer in their hands. Last week: 2
Alabama pounded Auburn 49-27 in the Iron Bowl, and its postseason fate is now in the committee's hands. The Crimson Tide need to be ranked ahead of Ohio State this week to have any hope at all. Last week: 7
Senior QB Joe Milton III led a run-heavy Volunteers offense to a 56-0 rout of Vanderbilt. Tennessee should be ranked high enough to land somewhere in the New Year's Six, even if LSU upsets Georgia. Last week: 10
The Nittany Lions finished the regular season with a 35-16 win over Michigan State. PSU did not beat Ohio State or Michigan but was perfect against everyone else. Unfortunately, unless Purdue crawls onto the bottom of these rankings, none of those wins will have come against ranked opposition. Still, a New Year's Six game is possible. It could even be the Rose Bowl if USC gets beat by Utah. Last week: 11
The Tigers lost to a Texas A&M team that had been left for dead a long time ago, and it cost them any chance at the CFP. A loss to Georgia could mean not playing in the New Year's Six at all, but a win puts LSU in the Sugar Bowl. Last week: 5
Clemson blew a late lead against rival South Carolina and cost itself any chance of playing in the playoff. A win in the ACC Championship Game against North Carolina will put the Tigers in the Orange Bowl. Last week: 8
The Wildcats beat Kansas to secure a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game against TCU. Kansas State looks like it will go to the Sugar Bowl, win or lose. Last week: 12
Washington's regular season is over after a win over Washington State in the Apple Cup. The Huskies could be in position to play in the Rose Bowl should USC win the Pac-12 and qualify for the playoff. Last week: 13
The Ducks blew a big lead at Oregon State and blew a shot at the Pac-21 championship along with it. A season with a lot of promise started and ended with a thud. Last week: 9
Utah throttled Colorado as it should have, and now the Utes are looking for a return trip to the Rose Bowl in the Pac-12 Championship Game against USC. The Utes needed Oregon to lose and both Washington and UCLA to win to take the Pac-12 tiebreaker. Last week: 14
The Seminoles beat Florida 45-38, which is the highest-scoring game in the history of that rivalry. They finished three games behind Clemson in the division standings but will be ranked higher than the Tigers' opponent in the ACC Championship Game. Last week: 16
It was not easy, but the Bruins took care of Cal to end a pretty good regular season at 9-3. Last week: 18
The Beavers have their first nine-win season since 2012 after their 38-34 come-from-behind victory over Oregon. Coach Jonathan Smith has something building in Corvallis. Last week: 21
The good news is that the Green Wave earned the right to host the AAC Championship Game with a 27-24 win at Cincinnati. The bad news is that their opponent, UCF, already beat Tulane on the road once this season, so home field may not be as big an advantage as you might think. Last week: 19
The Fighting Irish could not overcome the offensive power of USC, finishing their season 8-4. They recovered nicely from a poor start. Notre Dame will play in one of the ACC bowl games. Last week: 15
The Longhorns beat Baylor 38-27 but did not get the help they needed to get to the Big 12 title game. The Alamo Bowl likely awaits. Last week: 23
The Knights blew a 28-point lead to South Florida but scored with 20 seconds left to beat the Bulls. The ACC title game at Tulane is next. Of greater concern is the status of QB John Rhys Plumlee, who left the game at halftime with an injury suffered in the second quarter. Mikey Keene is a proven backup, though. Last week: 22
The Tar Heels picked up their second straight loss and third home loss of the season in overtime to NC State. Things are trending very badly for UNC as they prepare to play for the ACC title against Clemson. Last week: 17
The Bulldogs won the Egg Bowl on the road, so that is a nice way to end a pretty good regular season. Last week: NR
South Carolina ended the playoff hopes for its opponents in back-to-back weeks. The Gamecocks won 31-30 at Clemson, giving the Tigers their second loss of the season. That came just one week after they did the same to Tennessee. Last week: NR
The Wolfpack ended the season on a high with a 30-27 OT win over rival North Carolina. Last week: NR