College Football Playoff Rankings: What Does It All Mean? Breaking It All Down

College Football Playoff Rankings: What Does It All Mean? Breaking It All Down

Week 12

College Football Playoff Rankings: What Does It All Mean? Breaking It All Down

The third College Football Playoff rankings were released. What does it all mean?

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Ohio State’s hopes are now raised, and there could be a big, big fall depending on a new precedent. You want to talk about a divided nation, what happens if Ohio State finishes 11-1, but Wisconsin or Penn State wins the Big Ten championship? If there’s only one spot realistic available – let’s say Alabama, Clemson, and Washington all win out and are 12-1 Power 5 conference champs – then what?

Good luck telling the champion of the best conference in college football this year, “thanks, you won your league, but we’re putting a different team in.”

Good luck telling an 11-1 Ohio State – if this happens, “thanks, you were good enough to be ranked No. 2, you beat Oklahoma at Oklahoma, Wisconsin at Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan State, and Michigan, but we’re putting a different team in.”

It might be a tough argument for the Buckeyes if Penn State wins the Big Ten title – since the Nittany Lions won the head-to-head battle, but Wisconsin? This could be fun.

There’s still no real path for Louisville, even at No. 5. No, 11-1 Louisville – if it finishes that way – wouldn’t get in over a 12-1, Pac-12 champion Washington. No, it wouldn’t get in over an 11-2, Big Ten champion Wisconsin or Penn State. No, it wouldn’t get in over an 11-2, Pac-12 champion Utah or Colorado.

The problem is the resume – Ohio State has a good one, and Louisville doesn’t.

As fun as the Cardinals are, and as amazing as Lamar Jackson might be, don’t fall for the shiny ball of tin foil – they’ve beaten an okay Florida State, a mediocre Wake Forest, and a whole bag of nothing else.

West Virginia vs. Oklahoma will really, really matter. The Mountaineers are only at 14, but if they dominate the No. 9 Sooners, watch how quickly everything changes. If Oklahoma wins in a blowout on the road, do they move up? There might be a hard ceiling for OU because of their two losses – there’s no way they can get in over Ohio State, unless the Buckeyes finish 9-3 – but not for West Virginia. The Mountaineers could be the College Football Playoff story next week.

The three-loss love is starting to kick in. What does LSU have to do to prove to the world that it’s better than Auburn right now? No. 15 Auburn beat No. 16 LSU, but that was a lifetime ago – the Bayou Tigers are playing far, far, far better now than the AU version that’s badly banged up.

No. 13 USC beat No. 10 Colorado – that’s one of the few big whiffs by the committee this week – while No. 19 Tennessee and No. 17 Florida State are still getting some respect.

Which teams outside of the obvious are still in the College Football Playoff hunt? If No. 18 Nebraska wins out, and No. 7 Wisconsin loses, the Huskers will play for the Big Ten title, with a puncher’s chance to get in at 11-2.

The same goes for No. 23 Florida, who could make a ton of noise with a win at No. 16 LSU – it’s actually a positive break for the CFP chances that this got moved to a road game after the Hurricane Matthew rescheduling – and by winning out. Beat Alabama for the SEC title, and at 10-2, how do you leave the Gators out?

KEY NOTES: Assuming Alabama wins the SEC title, top-ranked SEC team left will go to the Sugar Bowl. If No. 16 LSU wins out, it’ll be in if Auburn loses to the Crimson Tide. … No. 13 USC is in range for the Rose Bowl. All it has to do is move up a few spots, and it’ll almost certainly go to Pasadena if Washington wins the Pac-12 title. … Boise State probably won’t even win the Mountain West Mountain division, so forget about the Group of 5 New Year’s Six spot, even at No. 20. No. 22 Western Michigan will get it by winning out, but watch out for the regular-season finale against Toledo. If it’s not WMU, wait to see San Diego State get into the top 25 at the end if it wins the Mountain West title.

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