College Football Playoff Rankings Prediction: Georgia tops, TCU in top four ahead of Clemson, Michigan

College Football Playoff Rankings Prediction: Georgia tops, TCU in top four ahead of Clemson, Michigan

1 The Bulldogs made a relatively easy going of Florida in a 42-20 victory. It could have been even more if Georgia did a better job of taking care of the ball. For all intents and purposes, the SEC East title is on the line in this week’s game with Tennessee, along with a leg up in the race for a CFP berth. 2 The Buckeyes picked up their first win over an AP-ranked opponent with a 13-point win at Penn State. If you’re a fan of game control, this wasn’t a great performance from Ohio State. The Nittany Lions controlled the game in the fourth quarter, but two touchdowns by the Buckeyes in 34 seconds turned it around. The Buckeyes’ strength of schedule is second only to TCU among undefeated teams, but that changes after this week. 3 Tennessee looks primed for the big game in Georgia. The Volunteers destroyed Kentucky, and this is a very good Wildcats team. The winner of the Georgia-Tennessee matchup will surely be No. 1 in these rankings next week, but all hope for a CFP berth is not lost for the loser. 4 The committee could excuse any of the next four teams in any order. I have TCU here because of the strength of the program. The Horned Frogs don’t run teams off the field. They have four wins by 10 points or less, including a double-overtime win against Oklahoma State. 5 Clemson had the week off to prepare for a trip to Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish offense seems to be coming around, although the Tigers defense will be a different level of test for them. Clemson has three wins over teams in last week’s AP Top 25, and while all three are still ranked there, Syracuse and especially Wake Forest are further down the list. 6 Michigan’s program is currently ranked 100th. The next lowest rated program among the six undefeated teams is Georgia at 70. The win over the Spartans was more convincing than the score would indicate. The Wolverines should look dominant at Rutgers. 7 The committee loves itself some Alabama, so the Crimson Tide could be ranked higher than that. Certainly, they will not be lower. The off week came at a good time for Alabama as it begins a tough two-game road trip at LSU and Ole Miss. 8 The Ducks put together another 40-point performance at Cal in a 42-24 victory. Bo Nix may soon start considering the Heisman Trophy. Of course, the one loss will hang over this schedule. No team is tougher for Georgia this week — and every week — than Oregon. The strength of the Ducks schedule will hit Colorado. 9 The Trojans received a pretty good challenge from Arizona, but held on for the win. USC ends three of four at home with the lone exception being the Nov. 19 game at UCLA. 10 It’s a Pac-12 trifecta in this part of the rankings. Not much separates these three teams yet other than Oregon’s win over the Bruins. UCLA handled Stanford with ease. Now, the Bruins begin the Arizona doubleheader, after which is the big game with USC. 11 Ole Miss got a tough fight from Texas A&M, who lately has been playing well enough to lose. The Rebels will spend this Saturday on the couch watching the one team to beat them, LSU, face Alabama, which is their next opponent. 12 Talk about a statement! The Wildcats dismantled Oklahoma State 48-0 and are the biggest rise in the rankings since last week’s showing. Kansas State did it behind backup QB Will Howard, who was filling in for Adrian Martinez. However, K-State can’t rest on its laurels. A talented Texas team visits next. 13 The Utes also had to turn to a backup QB when Cam Rising was late out of the lineup. No problem though. Utah beat Washington State 21-17. The Utes could still win the Pac-12 championship, but with a season-opening loss at Florida, the CFP is out of reach. 14 I don’t foresee much of a drop off for Penn State from their loss to Ohio State. The Nittany Lions acquitted themselves well, and if not for a bad minute in the fourth quarter, they could have won this game. As it stands, PSU is 0-2 against the conference’s top two teams. Their best win came in the season opener at Purdue. 15 The Tigers are still in control of their own destiny when it comes to conference play. They beat Ole Miss two weeks ago and now they get the chance at Alabama. A win would give LSU a tie over the other two contenders in the SEC West. Like Utah, an unfortunate non-conference loss has likely eliminated them from CFP contention. 16 Tulane’s win at Kansas State got a nice boost this week. The reasons the Green Wave aren’t higher than that are their relatively poor strength of schedule and the fact that they have the worst losing streak of any team in the top 25. That came at home to Southern Miss. Their strength of schedule will improve as the season progresses because they still have to face UCF and Cincinnati. 17 We’re down to the last nine teams in this ranking and the ACC has come out to play. The league will have five of the final nine spots. The Tar Heels kick things off with a home win over Pitt. A home loss to Notre Dame is the only blemish on a schedule that is crying out for a quality win. 18 Yes. The Cowboys were shut out by Kansas State 48-0, the Pokes’ first shutout since 2009. There’s more bad news. QB Spencer Sanders left the game in the second half with an injured shoulder. His status for this week’s game is unknown. 19 The Beavers continue to fly under the radar, which is easier to do during an off week. They return to action Friday in Washington. Both teams are 3-2 in the Pac-12, and while a conference championship seems unlikely, they are at least playing for a spot in a good bowl game. 20 Before Saturday, I didn’t think it was possible to squeeze six turnovers into 15 minutes, but that’s exactly what Wake Forest did in Louisville. The Demon Deacons threw interceptions that were returned for touchdowns on the first and last plays of the third quarter. However, it is only a game. There is no time for face. They can still make it to the Orange Bowl if they win. 21 The Orange are off to a 6-0 start, but have now suffered back-to-back losses, most recently at home to Notre Dame. The rest of the journey won’t be easy either. Syracuse finishes with three of four on the road and the home game is against Florida. 22 I’m not 100% convinced the committee would put a major conference team with three losses ahead of one with just one loss, but the differences in strength of schedule and quality of losses are stark. The Bulldogs will look to snap a two-game skid against Auburn, which fired coach Bryan Harsin on Monday. 23 I’m having a hard time understanding how the committee will view this team. The Illini have a great defense by any reasonable measure and an All-American running back in Chase Brown. However, their program is really lacking. The only team to score more than 14 points against Illinois beat them. That came in a 23-20 loss at Indiana in Week 1. It’s hard to pick the best win. They have beaten some decent teams, but not great ones, and the higher quality opponents have played at home. The jury is out on this team until it plays at Michigan on Nov. 19. Their record alone might push the Illini higher up the list than this. 24 The Wolfpack have a tough road ahead of them, especially playing without QB Devin Leary, who was lost for the season with an injury a few weeks ago. They got a win over Virginia Tech but still have this week’s game against Wake Forest before finishing at Louisville and North Carolina. 25 Look! Another ACC team! The Seminoles snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over Georgia Tech last week. All three defeats came from the opposition. They started the season strong with wins over LSU and Louisville, both on the road.

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