College Football Playoff Rankings projections: Ohio State will stay ahead of LSU at No. 1 overall

Another long journey has ended as the college football regular season comes to a close, and the time has come to learn who will be vying for the national championship at the end of this month. On Sunday afternoon, the College Football Playoff Rankings will be released for the final time in 2019, with the big question looming over everything being who will take the top spot. 

There is some debate over which team should be the No. 1 seed when the CFP Rankings are released on Sunday. There may also be some debate over which team should be No. 4, but I think it is pretty cut-and-dried across the board. We will have some great teams in this year's College Football Playoff. Hopefully, we will also get some great games.

Ohio State had to come back from a 21-7 halftime deficit, and it did just that to defeat Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game, 34-21. Some are saying this performance should cost the Buckeyes the No. 1 seed, but this is a team that absolutely dominated their schedule over the first 12 games of the season.  They now have five wins over teams in the rankings by a combined score of 198-72. They don't have a seven-point win over a now-unranked team like LSU against Texas.

Ohio State doesn't have wins by five points or three points over anyone, as LSU does against Alabama and Auburn, respectively. Only two teams played the Buckeyes to within 24 points. Ohio State had one bad half all season, and that was on Saturday. That kind of dominance should not go unrewarded.

Want to join the action this bowl season? Enter the CBS Sports Bowl Challenge and pick the games for a free chance to win $5,000. You can even create a buddy group to compete with friends. Terms Apply.

Here is how I expect the final rankings to look when they are released Sunday.

College Football Playoff Rankings projection
The Buckeyes came back from down 14 at half to beat the Badgers 34-21. While they did have a rough first half and trailed by two touchdowns for the first time all season, that should not be enough to knock them out of the top spot. Last week: 1
LSU had its best performance of the season in a 37-10 win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. It was one that had people clamoring to give LSU the No. 1 seed. That could happen, I suppose, but it would be a case of recency bias. The Tigers do have four wins over teams in the rankings, all of which were in the top 12 to start the week. Last week: 2
The Tigers were a four touchdown favorite against the second-best team in the ACC. They covered easily in a 62-17 win over Virginia to win the ACC title. Clemson might be the third seed, but it is more than capable of defending its national title. Last week: 3
The Sooners survived a battle from Baylor to win 30-23 in overtime and take home another Big 12 championship. With the losses by Utah and Georgia, the door is open for Oklahoma to be the fourth team in the playoff. Last week: 6
The Bulldogs took a beating from LSU in a 37-10 loss in the SEC Championship Game -- and not just in the margin of defeat. Georgia players were getting a lot of attention from the trainers during the game. Georgia could fall lower than this, but that would be overreacting to one game. Last week: 4
The Ducks finally got the big win they had been looking for all season, and it came in the Pac-12 Championship Game against former No. 5 Utah. That will give Oregon some juice in the rankings, especially as a conference champion. The Rose Bowl awaits. Last week: 13
Baylor needed to play three quarterbacks but still took Oklahoma to overtime before losing. It was the kind of game you would expect between No. 6 and No. 7. I expect Baylor to stay put. Last week: 7
The Badgers dominated the first half against Ohio State but fell to the Buckeyes for a second time this season. At least it wasn't 38-7. It was a good enough performance for Wisconsin to stay where it was in the rankings last week. Last week: 8
Did not play. Last week: 9
Did not play. Last week: 10
The Utes, like Alabama the week before, were a team that largely passed the eye test but did not have much on the resume to back it up. Like the Crimson Tide, expect a sharp drop for the Utes after a 35-17 loss in the Pac-12 title game to previous No. 13 Oregon. Last week: 5
Did not play. Last week: 11
Did not play. Last week: 12
Did not play. Last week: 14
Did not play. Last week: 15
The Tigers beat Cincinnati for the second week in a row to win the AAC championship. Memphis will be in the Cotton Bowl as the Group of Five representative. Last week: 17
Did not play. Last week: 16
Did not play. Last week: 18
The Broncos took care of Hawaii 31-10 and are the Mountain West champion.  Boise State's reward for that is a trip to the Las Vegas Bowl. Last week: 19
The Mountaineers jumped out to a big lead and held on for a 45-38 win over Louisiana to win the Sun Belt title. They will appear in the New Orleans Bowl. Last week: 21
The Bearcats went 0-2 in Memphis over the last two weeks but may get a decent opponent in a bowl game. Last week: 20
Did not play. Last week: 22
The Cavaliers got smoked by Clemson, as expected. The committee has no real reason to punish them for that. Last week: 23
Did not play. Last week: 24
Did not play. Last week: 25
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

Our Latest Stories