College Football Rankings Week 2: A Review

The College Football Playoff Committee just released their playoff rankings, and with two previous top 5 teams losing, the rankings changed immensely.  First off, former #1 Ohio State dropped to the #2 spot; this being due to the fact LSU beat Alabama last Saturday in the “Game of the Year”. Many college football fans predicted the ranking switch between LSU and Ohio State, as the CFP Committee would favor an LSU road win against undefeated Alabama, rather than an Ohio State blowout win versus Maryland (3-6).  Furthermore, Alabama losing its first game opened the door for undefeated Clemson (former #5) to jump to the #3 spot. Former #6 ranked Georgia also jumped two spots to acquire the #4 ranking. Former #3 Alabama (8-1) dropped #5, while former #4 Penn State (8-1) dropped to the #9 ranking. Near the middle of the Top 10 rests the two PAC-12 powerhouses, Oregon at #6 and Utah at #7, both teams jumping 1 spot as a result of Penn State and Alabama losing.  Oklahoma (8-1) and Florida (7-2) round out the top as the #9 and #10 seeds respectively.

As of right now, the College Football Playoff Committee looks to be near perfect for the 10 best teams in the country, at least in my eyes.  Fellow Edsman sportswriter Sam Richardson partially agrees with the latest CFP rankings, saying “Alabama shouldn’t be top 4 due to their extremely weak strength of schedule and lack of telling victories”.  Though Sam Richardson somewhat agrees with the latest rankings, he believes the PAC-12 candidates of #7 Utah and #6 Oregon should not have a chance at making the college football playoff because “[The PAC-12] is simply a weaker conference, and a one-loss team from the SEC or Big-10 should make it over them. The only way they would have a shot is either by having a strong non-conference win or by going undefeated”. Personally, if Alabama loses the Iron Bowl against Auburn and Georgia loses in the SEC Championship Game, I can see the Oregon Ducks or Utah Utes have a very realistic chance of attaining the #4 seed in the four-team playoff.  For this to happen, Clemson, Ohio State, and LSU would also have to win out, but the opportunity for a PAC-12 representative in the College Football Playoff is not as far-fetched as some people may think.  

The most surprising teams this season have most certainly been Baylor and Minnesota. Out of the two, Baylor is the team most likely to be knocked out of the small group of undefeated teams. So far, their strength of schedule has been 78th in the country and they even went to triple-OT against a 4-5 TCU squad. This weekend will be a telling matchup for them, and the nation will finally get to see if Baylor is a mediocre team who has benefited off of a weak SOS, or if they are really a contender. Minnesota, on the other hand, is coming off of an extremely strong win against the previously #4 Penn State. However, like Baylor, they have a difficult remaining schedule with conference opponents Iowa, Northwestern, and Wisconsin remaining. If all continues as is, PJ Fleck’s squad of Golden Gophers will win the Big 10 West with a minimum of 1 win against #15 Wisconsin.

 The next month of college football will surely prove to be crucial for “bubble” teams, as they attempt to make a playoff push.  Even this weekend, there are multiple games with playoff implications on the line, including #12 Baylor versus #9 Oklahoma, and #8 Minnesota versus #20 Iowa.  As each week goes on, the rankings will become even more interesting, as the debate for the top 4 teams in the country will grow even more controversial and the true strength of each team becomes increasingly evident.

-Diego Palko ‘21 & Sam Richardson ‘22