It’s getting more and more interesting. The fifth College Football Playoff rankings of the season come out on Tuesday night. What will the top 25 be?
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Ohio State? Penn State? Wisconsin? Washington? It’s going to be the big debate over the next several days as everyone debates whether or not the Buckeyes should be in – even if they’re still high in the latest rankings.
For now, here’s the best guess on what we’ll see on Tuesday night.
2016 Fifth College Football Playoff Top 25 Rankings Will (Most Likely) Be …
1. Alabama (12-0)
Week 4 Ranking: 1: Stay with me. Yeah, it’s the No. 1 team, but the best win on the schedule now? USC – and that was a million years ago and Sam Darnold wasn’t Sam Darnold yet. The team with the best resume is …
2. Ohio State (11-1)
Week 4 Ranking: 2: Broken record time after saying this for the last few weeks – be careful, because we just don’t know. I feel like one of those pre-election types talking about how there’s a path for Hillary to lose, but it bears repeating. Just because OSU is No. 2 now, that doesn’t mean it’ll be there after the conference championships.
3. Clemson (11-1)
Week 4 Ranking: 4: The Tigers are starting to roll, looking more and more like the Tigers we were all waiting for. Destroying South Carolina in a rivalry game will look very, very good. And no, there’s no keeping Clemson out for Ohio State if it beats Virginia Tech.
4. Washington (11-1)
Week 4 Ranking: 5: There’s no reason to worry. Either the Huskies will be No. 4 this week and will stay there, or they’ll be there in the final rankings with a Pac-12 championship. No way, no how will a 12-1 Pac-12 champ be left out.
5. Michigan (10-2)
Week 4 Ranking: 3: Sort of a guess here, but the committee will still love the Penn State win even more now, along with the wins over Colorado and Wisconsin. The Wolverines will be just renting this spot, making a whole slew of Wolverine fans all excited. But no – there’s no path.
6. Wisconsin (10-2)
Week 4 Ranking: 6: It might not have been a dominant win over Minnesota until late, and there might not be any amazing wins like Penn State has, but the losses to Ohio State and Michigan are still as acceptable as it gets. It’s going to take a blowout win in the Big Ten Championship – and a lot of luck – to get in, though.
7. Penn State (10-2)
Week 4 Ranking: 7: Do … not … read … anything … into this … ranking. If Penn State wins the Big Ten Championship, it’ll have a better argument than Ohio State to get in. Yeah, Ohio State beat Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin, but Penn State will have beaten Wisconsin, too … and Ohio State.
8. Oklahoma (9-2)
Week 4 Ranking: 8: It actually helps the Oklahoma cause that Ohio State is 11-1. Now, if the Sooners roll past Oklahoma State, and if Clemson and Washington lose, as the re- hot Big 12 champs, yeah, they might just sneak up.
9. Colorado (10-2)
Week 4 Ranking: 9: Technically, USC should’ve been ahead of the Buffs over the last few weeks, but now, with that win over a Utah team that beat the Trojans, and with a phenomenal finish to the year with only losses to Michigan and USC on the road, they could sneak up a bit higher than this.
10. USC (9-3)
Week 4 Ranking: 12: Will the College Football Playoff committee move the Trojans past Oklahoma State? After the way they beat a bad – but motivated – Notre Dame, yeah. The win over Colorado will get more and more respect.
11. Oklahoma State (9-2)
Week 4 Ranking: 10: Don’t worry if the Cowboys fall out of the top ten. Beat Oklahoma, and there’s a top eight spot and the Sugar Bowl waiting. But now, there’s no real path to get in unless chaos kicks in, and even then it’ll be a long shot.
12. Florida State (9-3)
Week 4 Ranking: 14: The Seminoles looked the part against Florida, and now with the Louisville loss, the path is there to go to the Orange Bowl to face – most likely – Michigan in a spicy matchup that’ll be among the best games of the bowl season.
13. West Virginia (9-2)
Week 4 Ranking: 18: This will be the There’s No One Else move up. The Mountaineers roared back this week against Ohio State after losing to Oklahoma, but it’ll all be forgiven, mainly because the committee has few other choices.
14. Auburn (8-4)
Week 4 Ranking: 13: Thanks to a whole slew of other big losses in the top 25, Auburn won’t move much, if at all. The overall resume still works, and there’s no shame whatsoever in losing at Alabama. For those committee members that actually watched this one with all the other noise going on, the Tiger D did an okay job not to slip.
15. Western Michigan (12-0)
Week 4 Ranking: 21: There still might not be anything impressive on the resume – Northwestern is the one big win – but 12-0 is 12-0, and at this point in the season, that’ll matter. Everyone else is dropping like flies, and the Broncos keep on rowing that boat.
16. Florida (8-3)
Week 4 Ranking: 15: The Gators just looked SO bad offensively against Florida State, but the Demarcus Walker and the Seminole D had something to so with that. Still, the win over LSU will matter just enough to offset the key losses to Arkansas and Tennessee that look awful now.
17. LSU (7-4)
Week 4 Ranking: NR: This is where the hard part really kicks in. The guess is that the blowout win over Texas A&M will be taken into account, and the four losses – Wisconsin, Auburn, Alabama and Florida – will all be given a little more respect than before. There’s some eye test involved here.
18. Virginia Tech (9-3)
Week 4 Ranking: NR: The ACC hasn’t received too much love in the process – unless you’re Clemson or Louisville – but that’s about to change. Virginia isn’t good, but the Hokies won their rivalry game in a blowout, and there are just enough good wins to creep up. That Syracuse loss, though, will be a problem.
19. Iowa (8-4)
Week 4 Ranking: NR: How much more does Iowa have to pay for its past sins? Beating Michigan and Nebraska in the last three weeks should be nice-looking enough to move up into the rankings. Finally.
20. Stanford (9-3)
Week 4 Ranking: 24: Blowing past Rice doesn’t matter, but the Cardinal offense is starting to roll against the bad teams. Okay, so the five-game winning streak came against a whole slew of bad teams, but that win over USC earlier in the season should matter. Also, Stanford has the Pac-12’s best non-conference win – Kansas State.
21. Navy (9-2)
Week 4 Ranking: 24: The Houston win doesn’t matter so much now, but the Midshipmen are on a roll winning their last four. When you hang up 75 points on the board – 75-31 over SMU – and 141 in the last two games and 183 in the last three, the committee will notice.
22. Louisville (9-3)
Week 4 Ranking: 11: Even with the loss to Kentucky, the Cardinals just won’t fall off the map. The Florida State blowout will still make a difference, and the close call loss to Clemson will still be counted. Even if the last few weeks have been ugly, they’ll stick around the top 25.
23. Utah (8-4)
Week 4 Ranking: 22: The Utes still beat USC – they’re the last team to stop the Trojans – and that’ll be just enough to matter. There’s no shame to losing to Colorado on the road, playing well enough to not fall too far.
24. Nebraska (9-3)
Week 4 Ranking: 16: It’ll be more about the losses than the wins. Losing at Iowa doesn’t seem so bad – even if it was ugly, and losing to Wisconsin and Ohio State on the road are of course fine. There just isn’t anything positive to get up much higher than this.
25. Washington State (8-4)
Week 4 Ranking: 23: There won’t be a slide out of the top 25 after losing to Washington State, but it’ll be very, very close. There are still enough decent performances to hang around.