With the first College Football Playoff rankings being announced tomorrow, I thought I’d share my own. A lot will change this final month with so many big conference games. But as of now, here’s how I see things–meaning if the season were to end today, the top four are the teams I see as most deserving to be in the Playoff right now, not necessarily how I think it will be 5-6 weeks from now.
Top 30 (30 this week just to show where I think teams like Houston, Memphis and Toledo really are)
- Ohio State (8-0) – No wins vs. ranked teams, but the Defending National Champs still haven’t lost and no one has done anything significant enough to jump them.
- TCU (8-0) – Also with no wins vs. ranked opponents, but the Horned Frogs are building on last year’s success, scoring points like it’s a video game and have the best player in the country. Brutal schedule down the stretch though: @Oklahoma State, Kansas, @Oklahoma, @Baylor.
- Clemson (8-0) – I’m sold more and more on Clemson each week. Biggest test of the year is this week vs. Florida State.
- LSU (7-0) – Already three wins over top 25 teams. The Tigers go to Tuscaloosa this week though to take on the Crimson Tide. Winner puts themselves in the driver’s seat for the SEC and the Playoff.
- Alabama (7-1) – Also already with three wins over top 25 opponents. Ole Miss has Bama’s number the last couple years, but not a whole lot of shame in having your only loss be to the then no. 15 Rebels.
- Baylor (7-0) – Lost QB Seth Russell for the season to a neck injury. True freshman Jarrett Stidham takes over, but it’s not as big a concern as it might seem. Stidham is 24/28 for 331 yards, 6 TD’s and 0 INT’s on the year–and the Bears have plenty of weapons around him.
- Michigan State (8-0) – Undefeated, yes, but I can’t help but feel the Spartans are only the third best team in their conference–despite beating Michigan on the last play of game. MSU controls it’s own destiny, but I don’t see it going well for them in the end.
- Notre Dame (7-1) – Two wins over ranked opponents and their only loss was by two points @Clemson. The final game of the season @Stanford should be really good. While I don’t think the Irish would fair well in the Playoff, I think they have a good chance to get there.
- Stanford (7-1) – Barely squeaked by an average Washington State team 30-28, but nonetheless the Cardinal is on a 7-game win streak after dropping the season opener @Northwestern. They also haven’t and don’t play any cupcakes this entire season, which is great for their resume in the end.
- Florida (7-1) – Only loss was by 7 @LSU. That, coupled with wins over Ole Miss and Georgia tell me the Gators could be for real again. Barring a total meltdown, they’ve got the SEC-East wrapped up, so now we just wait to see if they can spoil things for the far superior SEC-West in the SEC Title game.
- Oklahoma State (8-0) – The Cowboys haven’t lost yet, but they also haven’t really been tested yet either. Began the season playing three straight cupcakes and have also already played Big 12 cellar-dweller Kansas. I think the fun stops soon as OSU hosts TCU this week, then @Iowa State, vs. Baylor and vs. Oklahoma. 2-2 is the best I see them finishing the final month of the season.
- Iowa (8-0) – With the Hawkeyes schedule set up the way it is this year in the Big Ten (they somehow manage to not play Ohio State, Michigan or Michigan State), there’s a very good chance they go to the Big Ten Title game undefeated, but I’m still not a believer. Iowa is 4th best in their own conference and it will show before the season is over.
- Oklahoma (7-1) – The way the Sooners schedule was set up this year, not being 8-0 has to be a disappointment. Still left: @Baylor, vs. TCU, @Oklahoma State. Another loss is inevitable.
- Utah (7-1) – The USC loss will prove to be less damaging than it originally appeared because the Trojans are gonna keep winning.
- Michigan (6-2) – Close loss @Utah to start Harbaugh’s tenure, then an even tougher loss on a fluke final play vs. Michigan State. Wolverines are legit though and could make more noise this final month of the season.
- Florida State (7-1)
- Ole Miss (7-2)
- Mississippi State (6-2)
- Texas A&M (6-2)
- UCLA (6-2)
- BYU (6-2)
- Boise State (7-2)
- Wisconsin (7-2)
- Houston (8-0)
- Temple (7-1)
- Toledo (7-0)
- Memphis (8-0)
- North Carolina (7-1)
- Duke (6-2)
- Northwestern (6-2)
Predicted Conference Champs:
ACC: Clemson (but I still feel winning out is their only hope of making CFP)
Big 12: TCU (even if Baylor didn’t lose Seth Russell)
Big Ten: Ohio State (assuming J.T. Barrett truly only misses one game)
Pac-12: Utah (for now, trending more toward Stanford though these last two weeks)
SEC: Alabama (thanks to getting LSU at home this year)
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