The first rankings by the College Football Playoff committee consist of a few surprises, mainly Clemson and LSU topping Ohio State in the rankings, while Alabama and Notre Dame, teams with one loss, have an edge over Baylor, Michigan State, TCU and Iowa, while Florida complete the top 10.
The Buckeyes, 8-0, have been number one since the preseason, but not looking very impressive in some of their wins and the perceived weakness of the Big Ten helped push them down from their poll spots, although they are still in the top 4 which is what matters the most. Clemson are first due to their dominance in victory, and possibly also their win over Notre Dame, helping both schools in terms of strength of schedule, maybe the most important thing for the committee.
LSU being in the top 4 or even second isn’t that surprising considering they have wins over two of the teams in the top 20 (Florida, Mississippi State). Alabama, with one loss to Ole Miss (18th in the CFP rankings), seem to enjoy their record against ranked teams, although none of the teams they’ve beaten are ranked anymore except for Texas A&M (6-2, 19th). However, we won’t have two SEC West teams in the top 4 when it’s all said and done, and there’s a mega clash in Tuscaloosa between the Crimson Tide and LSU Tigers this weekend.
Notre Dame did lose a nail biter to Clemson, but have done very well despite losing their starting quarterback early in the season. But have they been better than TCU, Baylor and Michigan State? It seems the committee doesn’t hold much respect for the Big 12 or the Big Ten, and even prefers Florida in the case of giving them the top 10 spot of Stanford, who have a little edge in the human polls while Utah are right behind them at 12th.
Toledo lost to Northern Illinois in the midweek Maction which means they won’t be in the rankings next week and anymore this season. It’s surprising to see Northwestern back in the top 25, while the committee doesn’t see much difference between undefeated Iowa in the Big Ten and Memphis (13th). Oklahoma State, another undefeated team, is 14th, while Houston, one of three American Conference teams in the rankings, are 25th.