Predicting the CFB Playoff Rankings, Where Kentucky Could Open Ahead of Oklahoma and Ohio State

Predicting the CFB Playoff Rankings, Where Kentucky Could Open Ahead of Oklahoma and Ohio State

NCAAF

Predicting the CFB Playoff Rankings, Where Kentucky Could Open Ahead of Oklahoma and Ohio State

The First Edition of the College Football Playoff Rankings will be announced tonight. This is where I remind you that even though we are past the halfway point, this is still a marathon and not a sprint remaining. Many top games still remain and the pressure mounts. Still, the opening rankings can be instructive on how much certain teams need to do to have a chance at the playoffs.

Here are my predictions for where the teams will be ranked by the committee, with my analysis to follow:

  1. Alabama (8-0)
  2. Clemson (8-0)
  3. LSU (7-1)
  4. Notre Dame (8-0)
  5. Michigan (7-1)
  6. Georgia (7-1)
  7. Kentucky (7-1)
  8. Oklahoma (7-1)
  9. Ohio State (7-1)
  10. West Virginia (6-1)
  11. Florida (6-2)
  12. Washington State (7-1)
  13. Penn State (6-2)
  14. Texas (6-2)
  15. Iowa (6-2)
  16. Houston (7-1)
  17. Central Florida (8-0)
  18. Utah (6-2)
  19. Mississippi State (5-3)
  20. Syracuse (6-2)
  21. Virginia (6-2)
  22. Texas A&M (5-3)
  23. Army (6-2)
  24. Boston College (6-2)
  25. Utah State (7-1)

 

LSU over Notre Dame? Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter, but I would be more surprised if LSU was 4th versus if they were 2nd. Looking at past initial releases, the Committee doesn’t just automatically put undefeated teams ahead of those with a loss, and LSU’s resume is likely to be rewarded.

Kentucky? Look, by brand name, Kentucky isn’t in the ballpark with Ohio State and Oklahoma. And if they played head-to-head, the Wildcats would be an underdog against pretty much everyone else in the Top 12. But this initial release is about resumé. Kentucky is the lowest ranked one-loss team from a BCS conference in both the coaches and AP poll, but I don’t think the committee will follow that. The Cats have won at Florida, by 21 over the Mississippi State Bulldogs, have a close loss at Texas A&M, and wins over Missouri and South Carolina. If they can knock off Georgia this week (big if), don’t be surprised if they appear in the Top 5.

Compare that to Ohio State, who has the one-point win over Penn State, the blowout loss at Purdue, and then after that … winning over a 3-5 TCU team? beating Minnesota? Oklahoma’s best win so far is at either Iowa State or holding on to beat Army.

The Pac-12 is in trouble. I don’t see much path for the Pac-12 other than Washington State winning out, winning the conference championship game, and then getting help. The conference might have only two teams in the initial rankings: Washington State and Utah.

Central Florida fans are going to be disappointed again. Look, Central Florida simply hasn’t played anyone, and it doesn’t much matter that they are ranked 9th in the polls. They haven’t played a single team so far in the Top 50 in the Simple Rating System. They have played one team with a winning record, Florida Atlantic at 5-3. The recent committees have not rewarded undefeated seasons by non-power teams when they have no quality wins. I could make an argument that Houston will be ranked higher tonight. And that is their one chance at a big win if both meet in the American championship game. That’s probably not going to be enough to start jumping up, barring major chaos.

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