We are finally at the point where the committee will release the first college football playoff standings. These ranking mean very little, as there is lots of season left. The most interesting thing to me however is the number of games already played between the top teams. So, without further ado, here are where I currently have things:
1. Georgia – Do I think they are the best team in the country? No, I do not. However, I like their resume better than Alabama at this point. While Bama is better on eye test, they don’t have the wins Georgia does. Georgia has one of the best two wins of the season, when the won on the road at Notre Dame. They also destroyed a ranked Mississippi State team. I give credit to teams that schedule difficult games, and that’s why Georgia gets the nod here. They still have to play Auburn and Alabama.
2. Alabama – Look, Bama tried. They scheduled an opening game against an FSU team everybody had in their preseason top 5. They had no idea they were beating a team that probably won’t even go bowling. They haven’t beaten anyone that I would truly consider that good yet, but they have been straight up destroying people. I think they are the best team in the country, but their resume doesn’t match the talent just yet.
3. Notre Dame – Notre Dame is a final drive against Georgia away from being undefeated. They haven’t beaten a great team yet, but they’ve destroyed several good ones in USC, NC State, BC, and Michigan State. They still play Stanford and Miami as well. I think if they win out they are almost surely in. There is still a scenario where if it comes down to Georgia and them that they get left out, but I would put them ahead of any one loss team now, and with their remaining schedule, I don’t see how they go below 4 if they win out.
I think the separation between the next three teams is next to nothing. You can make compelling cases for Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Clemson. The case for Oklahoma is they have the signature win of the season, not just winning at Ohio State, but winning convincingly. The downside is they haven’t beaten a ranked team since. They do still have Bedlam against Okie State, and a game against TCU, plus a Big 12 title game rematch against one of those 2, so I think they will have a strong case if they win out. Ohio State has a great win against Penn State, and would also get a decent win against Michigan, and a likely unbeaten Wisconsin. They would potentially have one loss and be winners of the toughest conference in football. Clemson has the best resume to date, and they get my number 4 spot. They’ve already beaten Auburn, BC, and Virginia Tech. They still have a likely Miami game, plus NC State on their schedule. They do have the worst loss, but it was with their starting QB getting knocked out in the first half, and somehow, having the worst loss isn’t as bad because they didn’t lose to one of the teams they are in contention with. I’m not sure Clemson’s remaining schedule is tough enough to keep them here, so they better start blowing teams out.
4. Oklahoma – Head to head means something, and especially head to head on the road.
5. Ohio State – Great win last week, but the loss to Oklahoma looms large
6. Penn State/Wisconsin – Wisconsin will likely go through the entire regular seasons without playing a ranked team. They have no room for error. Penn State needs Michigan to upset Ohio State. Precedent was set last year when the committee took a one loss Ohio State over a 2 loss Big 10 Champion Ohio State.
The doomsday scenario to me is as follows, Alabama beats an undefeated Georgia in the SEC title game and Notre Dame, Clemson, Ohio State, and Oklahoma win out. In that scenario Bama is the only sure thing. Notre Dame would have the best wins, but can you really put them in over Georgia? Does Notre Dame not being a conference champion hurt them? Can you actually leave Ohio State out if they win the loaded Big 10? Oklahoma will have beaten Ohio State at the shoe, they have to go in over Ohio State, right? There is lots of football left, but there is potential for complete chaos if things go the right way.