Seth’s College Football Playoff Rankings – Review and Preview of Top 10 CFP Contenders

Sports Commentary by Seth Rainey

With the College Football Playoff Committee’s first list of rankings published, tested, and then revisited, Seth Rainey, NHS senior and P&G sports writer, takes us through the ups and downs with an eye toward this weekend’s match-ups. Starting with the first set of rankings, the real tests of the college football season are reviewed and previewed leading into week two of the ranking season.

College Football Playoff Rankings – Top 10

CFP Rankings – Week One

Rank Team Overall Record Next Opponent
1. Alabama Crimson Tide 8-0 (5-0) @ #13 LSU
2. Clemson Tigers 8-0 (5-0) Syracuse
3. Michigan Wolverines 8-0 (5-0) Maryland
4. Texas A&M Aggies 7-1 (4-1) @ Mississippi State
5. Washington Huskies 8-0 (5-0) @ California
6. Ohio State Buckeyes 7-1 (4-1) #10 Nebraska
7. Louisville Cardinals 7-1 (4-1) @ Boston College
8. Wisconsin Badgers 6-2 (3-2) @ Northwestern
9. Auburn Tigers 6-2 (4-1) Vanderbilt
10. Nebraska Cornhuskers 7-1 (4-1) @ #6 Ohio State

The College Football Playoff Committee unveiled the first set of rankings that decided which teams will be admitted into the Playoff come January.

There was no surprise at the top of the list with the Crimson Tide having dominated every opponent thus far this season. With a balanced offensive attack, and a defense full of future NFL stars, it seems as though the Tide are well on their way back to the Playoff. They had a tough contest the following weekend as they traveled to Baton Rouge to battle Ed Orgeron’s LSU squad.

Two more undefeated teams followed with Clemson and Michigan slotted to face each other as the 2 and 3 seeds. Clemson is led by Heisman candidate Deshaun Watson as well as arguably the top receiver corps in the nation. Michigan has had a resurgent season as Jim Harbaugh is finally seeing his team produce behind the effort of yet another Heisman candidate in Jabrill Peppers.

Texas A&M rounded out the playoff bracket as somewhat of a surprise over Washington. The Aggies were 7-1 with their only loss coming at the hands of the Crimson Tide, and had shown a prolific offense featuring Oklahoma transfer Trevor Knight and the dynamic Christian Kirk.

Washington was slotted at five even though they had yet to suffer a loss on the season. Heisman candidate quarterback Jake Browning came out of nowhere to shock the nation with his play for the Huskies.

Ohio State came in at six following their loss to Penn State. J.T. Barrett and the rest of the Buckeyes face another tough test this weekend as #10 Nebraska comes to town. Urban Meyer was more than aware that he had to keep his team composed to avoid back to back losses, which would most likely knock them out of playoff contention this late in the season.

Louisville and Heisman front-runner Lamar Jackson entered the rankings at seventh with their only loss coming against the undefeated Clemson Tigers. Jackson’s electric season vaulted the Cardinals firmly into playoff consideration, and with their current schedule, they look to be in constant contest for the nod to the final four if another team fails to produce.

At eighth stood the highest ranked two-loss team in the nation, the Wisconsin Badgers. With an offense powered by stud running back Corey Clement, the Badgers were in good position to advance to 7-2 against a below-average Northwestern squad.

The Auburn Tigers entered at number nine with probably more momentum than any other team. With the SEC’s top rushing attack and a top ten national scoring defense, the Tigers are becoming a surefire threat with only three weeks until the Iron Bowl. They looked to advance to 7-2 as they faced Vanderbilt as 25.5 point favorites, and we would all later see them close the deal on Vandy and stay in contention for the final four.

Rounding out the top ten was the Nebraska Cornhuskers. They entered the week’s highly anticipated match-up against #6 Ohio State looking to solidify their status as contender rather than a pretender. Sitting at ten, the Cornhuskers needed to consider every game from now on a must-win as one more loss could end their playoff hopes for good.

CFP Rankings – Week Two

Rank Team Overall Record Next Opponent
1. Alabama Crimson Tide 9-0 (6-0) Mississippi St.
2. Clemson Tigers 9-0 (6-0) Pittsburgh
3. Michigan Wolverines 9-0 (6-0) @ Iowa
4. Washington Huskies 9-0 (6-0) #20 USC
5. Ohio State Buckeyes 8-1 (5-1) @ Maryland
6. Louisville Cardinals 8-1 (5-1) Wake Forest
7. Wisconsin Badgers 7-2 (4-2) Illinois
8. Texas A&M Aggies 7-2 (4-2) Ole Miss
9. Auburn Tigers 7-2 (5-1) @ Georgia
10. Penn State Nittany Lions 7-2 (5-1) @ Indiana

The Crimson Tide advanced to 9-0 following their 10-0 victory over #24 LSU in a defensive slug-fest. Alabama’s defense shut down Leonard Fournette and were able to squeak by in Baton Rouge. Up next for the Tide is Mississippi State, who is coming off of a playoff-shattering upset over #8 Texas A&M.

Clemson remains at #2 after their dismantling of Syracuse 54-0. The Orange stood no chance even after the injury to Heisman candidate Deshaun Watson, who threw two touchdowns and rushed for one before leaving the game. The Tigers are once again favored to win big as they face Pittsburgh in Death Valley.

The Michigan Wolverines round out an unchanged top three following a 59-3 victory over Maryland. They face a much tougher task this week as they travel to Iowa to battle the Hawkeyes in what has trap-game potential. 

The match-ups this weekend will surely allow some teams to fight for attention and continue to make their case for a place in the playoffs, while many fans will be watching their teams battle to keep their place and drive with momentum to a final four finish.