Predicting the College Football Playoff Rankings

In a couple of hours the College Football Playoff (CFP) selection committee will reveal its rankings for the 2017 CFP. The first unveiling of these rankings comes on the heels of a tumultuous weekend in college football. A previously undefeated Penn State team lost a heart breaker to a strong Ohio State team that is fighting for its life and a surprise TCU team lost its first game of the season in a shocker to Iowa State. There are currently five teams in the AP and coaches polls that are undefeated (Alabama, Georgia, Wisconsin, Miami, and UCF) and a host of power five conference teams with one loss. From listening to the talking heads around college football, I suspect there is some remorse over last year’s inclusion of Washington in the CFP due to the Huskies’ weak strength of schedule. I believe the committee believes that the Big Ten and SEC are a cut above the other conferences and more deserving of the top spots when weighing teams with just one loss. Strangely enough, I expect these experts will weigh strength of schedule more favorably then overall record as well.

How the CFP Rankings should Look

  1. Alabama 8-0
  2. Georgia 8-0
  3. Wisconsin 8-0
  4. Oklahoma 7-1
  5. Ohio State 7-1
  6. Notre Dame 7-1

Why: Alabama and Georgia are clearly deserving of the top spots. They have both been dominant all season and field strong defenses with enough play makers to keep them in any game. Wisconsin has played a less than stellar schedule, but they have done what good football teams do, they win. They still have a chance to prove themselves down the stretch in the Big Ten Championship game and at Michigan in mid-November. Oklahoma and Ohio State both have one loss, but Oklahoma won in Columbus in week 2 giving them the benefit of the doubt despite their loss to Iowa State. The Buckeyes will have a chance to leap frog Oklahoma if they can win out in the Big Ten. Notre Dame is on the outside looking in and needs to make a statement in the last month of the season to have a chance.

How the CFP Rankings will Look

  1. Alabama 8-0
  2. Georgia 8-0
  3. Ohio State 7-1
  4. Notre Dame 7-1
  5. Wisconsin 8-0
  6. Oklahoma 7-1

Why: The selection committee is prizing strength of schedule over overall record and that favors the Fighting Irish whose only blemish came by a single point against the second ranked Bulldogs in week 2. Ohio State’s only loss came to Oklahoma early. This will also be an overreaction after the Buckeyes’ impressive comeback against a previously undefeated Penn State team. Wisconsin gets the nod ahead of Oklahoma based on its record.