The initial College Football Playoff rankings release Tuesday night, and we believe it’s clear who the top four teams should be.
1. Alabama (8-0) | Last week: 1
After their bye week, Alabama faces what is likely their toughest test of the regular as they go to Death Valley to face LSU at night. It’s going to be a must-watch game for college football fans, and it’ll be interesting to see how Tua Tagovailoa does against a Tiger defense giving up less than 200 passing yards per game.
2. Clemson (8-0) | Last week: 2
A rivalry game did not stop Clemson, who rolled to a 59-10 win over Florida State in Tallahassee. Trevor Lawrence’s great ability was on display, and they’re tough to beat when the freshman phenom plays that well. The Tigers have three of their last four games at home to end the regular season.
3. LSU (7-1) | Last week: 3
Like Alabama, LSU is coming off a bye week for their biggest remaining matchup of the regular season. A home win for the Tigers would mean they have an excellent chance of being in the SEC title game, which will certainly be a play-in College Football Playoff game. Quarterback Joe Burrows is probably the key to an LSU victory on Saturday night.
4. Georgia (7-1) | Last week: 4
Jake Fromm showed why he’s going to eventually be a very high pick in the NFL Draft whenever he’s done leading the Bulldogs, as he had a major bounce-back effort to lead Georgia over a huge win in the Florida-Georgia game after the team’s loss to LSU a couple weeks ago. Georgia must keep it going in a potential top-ten matchup with Kentucky this Saturday afternoon.
5. Ohio State (7-1) | Last week: 5
The bye week should have given this talented Ohio State team time to get it together and stop allowing the big plays defensively. Scott Frost’s Cornhuskers could potentially create some problems with their offense, but the Buckeyes shouldn’t have much trouble with a team still getting their footing under a new head coach. Ohio State can certainly climb back near the top of the Playoff discussion.
6. Notre Dame (8-0) | Last week: 6
Notre Dame took care of business against Navy in what could have been a tough game in San Diego—it’s a good sign for the Fighting Irish moving forward. They have a great chance to be 12-0 at the end of the regular season, and they’ll likely be in the top four for the first rankings released by the Committee on Tuesday night. But we don’t think they belong in there over Alabama, Clemson, LSU, and Georgia.
7. Michigan (7-1) | Last week: 7
The bye week came at a good time for Michigan as they’re preparing to face one of the best players in the country in Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley. This is the toughest remaining road test of the season for the Wolverines, who lost last season to the Nittany Lions but won in a blowout in Happy Valley two seasons ago.
8. Oklahoma (7-1) | Last week: 10 (+2)
The loss by Texas was huge for Oklahoma, as the Sooners are likely to be the highest-ranked Big 12 team in the initial Playoff rankings. The defense has given up point totals of 27 and 14 the last two weeks, so they appear to be getting better there, but this weekend against Texas Tech could be a big test.
9. UCF (7-0) | Last week: NR
UCF certainly could have been here a lot sooner than this, and it’ll be interesting to see where they are ranked tomorrow night. They’ll need some help, but the Knights have a legitimate shot to work their way into the top four if they remain undefeated through the end of the season.
10. Washington State (7-1) | Last week: NR
Washington State could be leapfrogged by teams like Kentucky, Penn State, and West Virginia moving forward, but Mike Leach’s squad keeps racking up wins in the Pac-12. There are only a few weeks left in the season, but there could be a lot of craziness with the Cougars right in the middle of it down the stretch.