Since the start of the college football season there have been conversations, and in many instances arguments, about where teams deserved to be ranked and who has a legitimate chance to make the college football playoffs. Fans, analysts, and even coaches have been advocating for their teams and using everything from strength of record, ranked wins, pedigree and even the long decried “Eye Test” to justify their beliefs on who the top teams in the country are.
Clemson has been heavily scrutinized despite their wins against ranked opponents and being one of only six remaining undefeated teams. Both the Coaches’ and AP poll have kept the Tigers right around the 4-5 ranking. Nevertheless, some pundits have said the Tigers aren’t worthy of this spot and will be “taking a chance away from more legitimate teams” should they win the ACC and make the playoffs.
Ultimately, it doesn’t truly matter what the AP poll, Coachs’ poll, fans, analysts, or anyone else thinks. The only poll that matters is the official College Football Playoff Poll that have just been released. It needs to be stated that the initial ranking will almost assuredly look different as teams continue to play through their schedules and upsets or inevitable matchups occur.
Let’s take a look at who the committee believes are the top 25 teams and react to the top 7.
This isn’t surprising. Tennessee has the best offense the country and have the best win in taking down Alabama. Whatever your feelings against the Tide, and we will discuss them shortly, they rarely get beaten in the regular season so when it does happen people notice. Their SOS is ranked higher than both OSU and Georgia, explaining why they are ranked higher than either of those teams. As impressive as their win over Bama was, it won’t matter if they can’t take care of business this week against UGA. The winner of that game will all but guarantee their spot in the SECCG.
#2: Ohio State
Ohio State has looked dominate this year. They have a better point differential than Tenn and UGA but their SOS is 52nd. They have only been challenged once all year and that was against Penn State this past weekend that OSU had to rally to victory in the 4th quarter. Their next best win is Norte Dame who while looking better recently, is still not a great football team. The only threat that appears on the rest of their schedule is the matchup against Michigan.
The defending champions come in 3rd in the first poll. UGA started the year looking like an unstoppable juggernaut with how easily they dispatched Oregon. However, they have shown to play down to their competition when they struggled against Kent State and very nearly lost to Missouri. They have a chance to continue their dominance against the SEC East with a matchup against Tennessee this weekend.
This is the right spot for Clemson. Despite how they’ve been looked down upon by opposing fans and some analysts with questionable biases, the tigers continue to win games. They have beaten more ranked opponents than any other team in the top 7 after taking down Wake Forest, NC ST and Syracuse. There isn’t a lot of meat left on the schedule to improve the resume save for potentially playing the currently ranked No. 17 team in UNC at the ACCCG. Clemson just needs to block out the noise and continue to win and it starts against a ND team that has played better of late and steam rolled Syracuse in the dome.
It is both surprising and pleasing to see Michigan at this position. Though they have looked impressive on the field, like OSU they haven’t played a tough schedule and struggled against Maryland. They did beat Penn State, by a larger margin than OSU did for that matter, and will play both Illinois and OSU to end the year. If they are still undefeated at that time then they will have proven they are one of the 4 best teams in the nation.
Alabama is at this spot solely due to their pedigree. Their play on the field has not been that impressive this year. They struggled against TAMU, should have lost to Texas and did lose to Tennessee. They haven’t looked like the Alabama of old but they will have back to back weeks to prove they are still the best team in the SEC when they face LSU and Ole Miss.
Although they are undefeated TCU has had to come back against lesser competition and are fortunate to still be undefeated. However, they have beaten more ranked teams than Bama and have a showdown against ranked Texas in two weeks. The Horn frogs will have the opportunity to prove they deserve to be higher than 7th.
#11: Ole Miss
#13: Kansas State
#15: Penn State
#17: North Carolina
#18: Oklahoma State
#21: Wake Forest
#22: NC State
#23: Oregon State
Do you agree with the committee's 1st poll of the season? Be sure to follow the link below to view the current CFB odds at Draftkings. Clemson is currently -190 to make the Playoffs after the latest round of rankings with Ohio State the favorite and UGA right behind them. It looks like bettors don’t quite believe in the Vols.