Polls & Rankings

Predicting The First College Football Playoff Rankings


November 1st. That’s when the first College Football Playoff rankings come out for the 2016 season. What will they look like? Who’ll be on top of the first CFP rankings?


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What will the College Football Playoff rankings look like when they first come out on November 1st?

As we now know, what truly matters are the final rankings with the five weekly exercises leading up to the big day on December 4th more like snapshots of what’s happening at the moment.

Who are the Power 5 champions going to be? Until that gets figured out, everything else is about giving the top teams a glimpse of where they stand.

That’ll matter in a big way this year for Notre Dame – if it’s still alive and kicking after the first two months – and for a Group of Five program like Houston, Boise State or San Diego State, if any or all of them are still unbeaten.

Remember, timing is a big deal for the first rankings. Teams coming off of big wins going into the first committee meeting will get a whole lot more respect.

It’s going to be a wild year, and once the College Football Playoff committee is done with its first go-round, the prediction of the first rankings – NOT a prediction of the final rankings – are …

2016 College Football Playoff Rankings Prediction After November 1st

1. Oregon

It’s going to be a rough run for the Pac-12 in the first College Football Playoff rankings, but they’ll have the No. 1 team in the country.

Oregon will be the only unbeaten Power 5 conference team remaining going 8-0 – the key road game at USC comes next. Wins over Nebraska, Washington and Arizona State will be strong enough, and again, the record will matter.

2. Ohio State

At Oklahoma. The Buckeyes coming up with the win in Norman – along with a win at Penn State – will get the attention and respect of the CFP committee for the No. 2 spot. The loss at Wisconsin will be considered more than a little respectable.

3. Tennessee

The Vols first loss of the season will be at Texas A&M, and then they’ll come back roaring with a win over Alabama and a victory at South Carolina to go into the first College Football Playoff rankings 7-1 and the top-ranked SEC team.

4. Alabama

The Crimson Tide win over USC will get plenty of CFP love, and winning on the road at Ole Miss and Arkansas will be terrific, but with the rankings coming out the week before the LSU game, they’ll be just behind Tennessee after losing to the Vols.

5. Notre Dame

The Irish will start out the season with a loss at Texas, but they’ll roll through the next seven games including wins over Michigan State, Stanford and Miami to get right back into the College Football Playoff hunt. At 7-1 with Navy and Army up next, they’ll be a huge story.

6. LSU

The Tigers will get the job done against Wisconsin and Ole Miss, but the loss on the road at Florida will be just enough to keep the 7-1 Tigers out of the top four.

7. Louisville

The win over Florida State will make all the difference. There won’t be much else in terms of strength-of-schedule with the second-best win coming against NC State, and a loss to Clemson will put a cap on how high the Cardinals will go.

8. Michigan State

The early loss at Notre Dame will be just enough to keep the Spartans down going into early November, but they’ll be 7-1 with wins over Wisconsin, BYU, Northwestern and Michigan making up for it.

9. Michigan

After starting out 7-0 and looking like a lock for the No. 1 spot in the first College Football Playoff rankings, the Wolverines will lose at Michigan State.

10. Iowa

The Hawkeyes will be on a roll starting the season 7-0, but a home loss to Wisconsin before going into a bye week will keep them just out of range of one of the key spots. But they’ll still be in the hunt for the CFP if they win out.

11. Miami

Just when it’ll seem like the Hurricanes are rolling with a 5-0 start including a huge win over Florida State, they’ll lose back-to-back games against Virginia Tech and Notre Dame on the road to kill the buzz going into CFP Week 1.

12. Florida State

The Seminoles will be 6-2 after losing at Louisville and later at Miami, but the win over Clemson gets them on the map going into the first rankings.

13. Clemson

The 6-2 Tigers will be stunned by Georgia Tech on the road early on in the ACC season, but a win over Louisville will change things back up. The loss at Florida State keeps them out of the top ten.

14. Georgia

Kirby Smart’s 6-2 team will look the part in wins over North Carolina and Florida, but losses to Ole Miss and Tennessee will be enough to keep the Dawgs out of College Football Playoff range – for now.

15. Florida

The win over LSU will give the Gators a huge boost, but losing at Tennessee and going into the first College Football Playoff rankings coming off a loss to Georgia will be a killer.

16. Boise State

How much respect with the 8-0 Broncos get? That’ll grow over the following weeks. Wins over Washington State and Oregon State will only go so far, but beating BYU will help with the CFP schedule cred.

17. Oklahoma State

The 7-1 Cowboys won’t have the splashiest of wins, and they’ll lose at Baylor, but they’ll have the best record in the Big 12. The win over Texas – and a solid victory over Pitt – will bring the respect to get into the top ten.

18. Texas

The Longhorns will be so close to being great in the first rankings. They’ll get wins over Notre Dame and Oklahoma, but losses on the road at Kansas State and Oklahoma State will keep them out of the top ten.

19. Oklahoma

This will be as low as the 6-2 Sooners get all throughout the process – they’re going to roll through the rest of the schedule. The wins over Houston and TCU will keep them in range, but losses to Ohio State and Texas will sting in the rankings.

20. Georgia Tech

An early win over Clemson cranks up the ranking for the 6-2 Yellow Jackets. However, back-to-back losses to Miami and Pitt puts a cap on how high they’ll start.

21. Arizona State

One of the big early surprises, the Sun Devils will start out 7-2 with great wins over UCLA and Texas Tech. Losses to USC and Oregon on the road won’t be that bad.

22. Houston

Starting out the season with a loss to Oklahoma will be enough to crush the early rankings for the Cougars. Winning at Cincinnati and Navy will be nice, but the American Athletic won’t have the juice it held in last year’s rankings.

23. Baylor

The 6-1 Bears will be the tough call. They’ll tag Oklahoma State with its only loss, but the rest of the schedule is awful. Beating Iowa State on the road will be the second-best win, and the loss at Texas will hurt.

24. Wisconsin

The Badgers will be 5-3, but they’ll slip into the top 25 coming off of wins over Ohio State, Iowa and Nebraska to offset more-than-acceptable losses to LSU, Michigan and Michigan State.

25. San Diego State

At 8-0, San Diego State will be one of three unbeatens still remaining in college football. However, the best win will come over California at home. Winning at Northern Illinois won’t get enough respect to boost the first ranking higher.