Today marks a dividing line of sorts college football as the College Football Playoff Committee released their first top 25 rankings of the season. For nine weeks plus the preseason we’ve only had the AP and Coaches poll to tell us which teams are the best, and every talking head Twitter personality had their own top 4. As of Halloween night, we finally got the one that mattered.
The CFP’s top four includes Ohio State, Georgia, Michigan, and Florida State, with the Buckeyes taking the top spot. I don’t think any argument can be made against these four teams sitting at the top, they’ve shown they’re best teams in college football. However, there will be no end to arguments about in which order the teams should be. The Buckeyes at #1 is a bit surprising, but they have the strongest resume of the bunch, having beaten two teams in the CFP rankings. Georgia and Michigan, while dominant in most of their games, haven’t played any currently ranked teams. Florida State, meanwhile, soundly beat #14 LSU on opening weekend but haven’t played a ranked team since.
CFP chair Boo Corrigan cited Ohio State’s ranked wins as the deciding factor in the committee’s decision. “We looked at it, the big win over Notre Dame, and the win over Penn State, and they have difference makers on offense...We looked at it; Ohio State deserved to be No. 1.”
Indeed, strength of schedule looks to have been a curse to the Bulldogs and Wolverines. Georgia has only beaten two FBS teams with winning records, while Michigan has played the 111th strongest schedule according to ESPN. However, both those teams will have chances to prove themselves as Georgia has yet to face Missouri, Ole Miss, and Tennessee and Michigan has dates with Penn State and Ohio State left on the schedule. Without a doubt this top four will be reshuffled at some point over the next few weeks.
The only other undefeated power 5 school, Washington, finds itself as the first team out at #5, while rival Oregon is the highest ranked 1-loss team at #6. The Huskies own the head to head win, naturally setting them ahead of the Ducks in the rankings, but they also have a challenging schedule ahead, with games against ranked teams USC, Utah, and Oregon State on deck.
Texas is the top Big 12 team in the rankings at #7, thanks in no small part to Oklahoma’s loss to Kansas last Saturday. Those Sooners check in at #9 with Alabama sandwiched in between the two rivals. Five teams sit atop the Big 12 with 4-1 conference records but there’s still a good chance these two teams meet again in the championship game. If they do, and depending on what happens in the Pac-12, one of these teams could be making their case for the final four. Finally, rounding out the top of the rankings are Ole Miss at #10, Penn State at #11, and Missouri at #12.
There is your top 12 and you’ll no doubt read plenty of think pieces on how the playoff would shake out if we had the 12-team format a year early. It’s nice to have a poll with some real stakes, and it’ll be great to see how the rest of the season plays out with so many great games to play.
What are your thoughts on the first CFP rankings, and who would you have put as your top four?