It seems like a foregone conclusion at this point that both Alabama and Clemson will make the College Football Playoff this year. That feeling was only confirmed when the first College Football Playoff Rankings came out Tuesday night with both teams occupying the top two spots. Before this week, however, neither team had a resume strong enough in our rankings to find themselves in the top four. These rankings are meant to measure the strength of which everyone has beaten, and doesn’t take full account of how they’ve played doing so.
Still, unlike Alabama, Clemson has moved up into the top four this week, though it wasn’t solely due to Clemson’s accomplishments. The Tigers demolished Florida State on Saturday, but that win was only worth a point because the Seminoles aren’t the team many expected them to be.
What caused the Tigers to climb from No. 6 last week to No. 3 this week was No. 3 Texas’ loss to Oklahoma State and the bye weeks of Michigan and Ohio State. The problem Clemson faces as far as these rankings are concerned is that Boston College is the only ranked team currently on its schedule, and there’s no guarantee the team Clemson faces in the ACC Championship will be ranked either.
Fortunately for the Tigers, if they keep winning all these games by nearly 50 points per game like they have the last three weeks, it won’t matter much.
As for the rest of our teams, here’s how the rest of this week’s top 10 shakes out. If you aren’t familiar with how we compile these rankings, you can read the explanation here.
- Without fail, if you mention how good Alabama is on Twitter, somebody who isn’t an Alabama fan will tell you how it hasn’t played anybody. As these resume rankings reflect, the statement is true, but only to a point. The Tide only has one win over a ranked team, and that was against a Texas A&M team that’s now 5-3. Aside from that, Alabama’s best win is either Ole Miss or Mizzou. I’ll let you decide which was more impressive amongst yourselves. Still, when it comes to Alabama, it’s not a question of who it has beaten, but how thoroughly it has dominated everyone it has played. And with this Saturday’s game against LSU as well as a date with Mississippi State next week, Alabama will have a chance to boost its rating here. For example, Alabama is currently favored by 14-point favorite over LSU. So if it beats LSU by 14 points on Saturday, it will earn 8.4 resume points, which would put its season total at 20.6, and that would likely place it in the top four.
- Michigan may still be behind Ohio State and Georgia here, but the Buckeyes play Nebraska this week so can only earn a point. Michigan plays Penn State, and a win over the Nittany Lions would be worth at least 5.1 points, potentially launching the Wolverines past Ohio State and into the top four. Conversely, should Penn State beat Michigan it would earn at least 7.1 points. Penn State is currently at No. 23 in these rankings with 4.5 points, and an additional 7.1 would likely put it in the top 10 next week.
- This week’s game between Georgia and Kentucky will have major ramifications on the SEC East as well as these rankings. A Georgia win would be worth at least 5.1 points while a Kentucky win would be worth at least 6.1.
- Texas has two losses, so its playoff hopes are likely toast. Still, if there’s any team right now that has a chance to reach the playoff with two losses, it’s the Longhorns. They’re still ranked No. 7 here and they’re playing West Virginia this week. They could also still play Oklahoma again in the Big 12 Championship Game if they win out. It’s a longshot, but not all hope is lost just yet. The Longhorns would need a lot of help, though.
- You’ll notice there aren’t any Group of Five teams in the top 10. So if the past three years are any indication with how accurate these rankings have shown to be, this isn’t good news for UCF. And just in case all this wasn’t bad enough for the Knights’ chances, UCF isn’t even the highest-ranked Group of Five team in the resume rankings. The Knights are currently at No. 15 with 6.0 points. Houston is at No. 12 with 8.1 points.
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