And here we go. The first College Football Playoff rankings of the season come out on Tuesday night. What will the top 25 be?
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It’s the Tuesday night vote that actually will matter to your every day life. How much of a shakeup will there be in Week 2 of the College Football Playoff rankings after No. 4 Texas A&M, No. 10 Nebraska, No. 11 Florida, and No. 13 LSU all lost?
There might be more than you think, but there should be a big separation. Be stunned if Washington isn’t in the top four, and assume a few key three-loss teams are going to find their way into the top 25.
So what’s going to matter?
Who’s the top two-loss team? How far will the key Week 10 losers fall? Where will the teams likely to be in the respective conference championships be? They should be interesting – and we know they’re not rigged. They’re the Week 2 College Football Playoff top 25 rankings, and they’ll almost certainly be …
2016 Second College Football Playoff Top 25 Rankings Will (Most Likely) Be …
1. Alabama (9-0)
Week 1 Ranking: 1: Clemson and Michigan have a reasonable case to be made considering the Crimson Tide’s only win over a College Football Playoff ranked team came against Texas A&M – before last week. The tough 10-0 win over LSU will only cement the top spot.
2. Clemson (9-0)
Week 1 Ranking: 2: Again, there’s an argument for Clemson as the No. 1 team considering the College Football Playoff-ranked wins over Louisville – which should technically be the best win by anyone this year after the Week 2 rankings – Auburn, and Florida State. Syracuse might not be seen as anything special nationally, but winning 54-0 against a dangerous team was exactly what the Tigers needed to do.
3. Michigan (9-0)
Week 1 Ranking: 3: The Wolverines continue to dominate, destroying Maryland 59-0. If the rankings go according to play, Michigan will have one of the nation’s best wins, taking down Wisconsin, to go along with a top 15 win over Colorado and a complete and utter destruction of Penn State. If you want to put the Wolverines No. 1, you might not be wrong.
4. Washington (9-0)
Week 1 Ranking: 5: Drama, schmama. Even if Texas A&M had destroyed Mississippi State, instead of inexplicably losing, Washington would still likely slip into the top four after a 66-27 blasting of Cal. But here’s the problem – there still aren’t any really good wins other than the squeaker against Utah.
5. Ohio State (8-1)
Week 1 Ranking: 6: The Buckeyes did exactly what they needed to do to get everyone talking again. Nebraska came into Columbus looking to revitalize its College Football Playoff chances, and instead, it got flattened 62-3 in Ohio State’s best performance of the season. It’ll move up while …
6. Louisville (8-1)
Week 1 Ranking: 7: The Cardinals will drop below the Buckeyes. Yeah, they just waxed Boston College 52-7, but there’s one problem – they’ve beaten almost no one. The Florida State win helps, but Ohio State has wins now over Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Oklahoma from the College Football Playoff rankings. The Cardinals don’t have much other than their claim to fame being a close loss at Clemson.
7. Wisconsin (7-2)
Week 1 Ranking: 8: Flip a coin between the Badgers and Auburn for the honor of being the best of the two-loss teams. While the LSU win might be fading, beating Nebraska and Northwestern will carry some weight. The big key will be the two losses to top five teams.
8. Auburn (7-2)
Week 1 Ranking: 9: The Tigers control their own destiny no matter where they’re ranked. If they beat Georgia and Alabama on the road, forget about the losses to Clemson and Texas A&M, the SEC championship will be for a spot in the CFP. The 56-3 win over Arkansas a few weeks ago will take on greater importance.
9. Penn State (7-2)
Week 1 Ranking: 12: The Nittany Lions are looking more and more amazing. The win over Ohio State is the crowning achievement, but the loss to Pitt will keep them in the back of the pack just a little bit. However, the 41-14 blowout over Iowa showed just how much the team has improved.
10. Oklahoma (7-2)
Week 1 Ranking: 14: Here’s the problem – where’s the big win? The Sooners will get credit for the eyeball test for an offense that’s ripping everything up, however, they have yet to beat a team that’ll be within ten miles of the current College Football Playoff rankings. Texas is the best win, and maybe Kansas State is close – whatever.
11. Oklahoma State (7-2)
Week 1 Ranking: 18: There’s a real chance the College Football Playoff committee members start to give more love and attention to the Cowboys once they really dive into the accomplishments. What did we learn in the first rankings? The Central Michigan loss mattered. OSU’s wins over West Virginia and Pitt are better than anything OU has done.
12. Colorado (7-2)
Week 1 Ranking: 15: This should be an interesting test case team. Having a week off might hurt the cause a wee bit, but it’ll still move up considering other key teams will move down. The Buffs’ problem is the lack of a real win – Stanford only sort of counts. The Buffs will get credit for the losses at Michigan and USC rather than any victories.
13. Texas A&M (7-2)
Week 1 Ranking: 4: How far will the Aggies really drop after the inexcusable loss to Mississippi State? The win at Auburn will still register high on the charts, and the Arkansas win will help, but the Trevor Knight injury will matter.
14. Utah (7-2)
Week 1 Ranking: 16: The Utes will move up despite the week off, but they have two issues. 1) The loss to Cal will be a killer, and 2) other than USC, they’ve beaten a fat load of jack squat. The Trojans and BYU are the only two teams they’ve beaten so far who are sure to go bowling.
15. West Virginia (7-1)
Week 1 Ranking: 20: Gut-feeling – the College Football Playoff committee will like the rebound blowout over Kansas, even if it was only Kansas that the team had the rebound blowout win against. The 34-10 win over TCU a few weeks ago should make a bigger splash after the Horned Frog blowout over Baylor this week.
16. Virginia Tech (7-2)
Week 1 Ranking: 19: On a three-game winning streak, the Syracuse loss might start to fade a wee bit, but it’ll still be tough to generate too much more than this. The win over North Carolina will be a bit deal, and beating Miami and Pitt will help.
17. North Carolina (7-2)
Week 1 Ranking: 21: The Tar Heels just pasted Georgia Tech 48-20 as part of a nice run for a hot team, but the blowout loss to Virginia Tech will still be an issue. The win over Florida State is better than several higher-ranked teams have, but it won’t be enough to make a bigger jump.
18. Arkansas (6-3)
Week 1 Ranking: Not Ranked: The Hogs weren’t going to be ranked after getting blown away by Auburn, but a dominant 31-10 win over last-week No. 11 Florida should rocket them up the charts. The three losses to Alabama, Texas A&M, and Auburn will be as acceptable as it gets.
19. Florida (6-2)
Week 1 Ranking: 11: Don’t be totally surprised if the College Football Playoff committee bounces Florida out of the top 25 altogether. The losses to Tennessee and Arkansas aren’t awful, but now the Kentucky blowout isn’t any big deal and the best win is still over a mediocre Georgia.
20. LSU (5-3)
Week 1 Ranking: 13: College Football Playoff committee, here’s a request – don’t drop the Tigers too much. they battled No. 1 Alabama hard, and came really, really close to beating Wisconsin and Auburn. That’s three losses to top ten teams, but where are the wins? Ole Miss? Ehhhh, not really.
21. Florida State (6-3)
Week 1 Ranking: 22: The Seminoles will move up a wee bit with a win over NC State, and with the losses to Louisville, North Carolina and Clemson all acceptable, but there isn’t a signature win for the massively underachieving team.
22. Western Michigan (9-0)
Week 1 Ranking: 23: Okay, fine. The Broncos are still unbeaten, and they’re still blowing everyone out, but the Northwestern win lost a bit of its luster after the loss to Wisconsin. The Broncos aren’t going to get too much credit for blasting Ball State.
23. Boise State (8-1)
Week 1 Ranking: 24: The Broncos still have the win over Washington State, but that was a million years ago. Even though the ranking will continue to be good, they might not even with their division – Wyoming should take the Mountain – much less the Mountain West. Forget about the New Year’s Six.
24. USC (6-3)
Week 1 Ranking: Not Ranked: The Trojans should be far higher than this, but won’t be. The losses to Alabama, Stanford, and Utah came in September, and now, with Sam Darnold and the offense rocking and rolling on a five-game winning streak, this is the hot team. A few higher-ranked teams don’t have a win as good as USC’s over Colorado.
25. Washington State (7-2)
Won’t the Cougars start to move up a bit after blowing away Arizona 69-7? They should, but the guess is that Arkansas and USC will slide on it and the big win won’t matter too much considering the opponent. Stanford is the lone decent win – and that includes beating UCLA.