College Football Playoff Rankings Prediction: Nov. 7 Projection
What will the second round of College Football Playoff rankings look like on Tuesday night?
The College Football Playoff Rankings Projection
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They took into account strength of schedules and relative wins to correctly put Georgia No. 1. Based on resumes, Notre Dame probably should’ve been second, but it’s fine – no one’s going to argue too much against Alabama.
But now what happens after all of the chaos on Saturday?
This isn’t about trying to get into the minds of the playoff committee; it’s about trying to get into the process and how it will play out.
Last week’s rankings don’t matter anymore. They’re thrown out and the committee starts from scratch, debating and arguing over each and every spot in meticulous fashion.
So guessing how the machine works now, here’s what the top 25 will probably look like on Tuesday night.
25. Washington State (8-2)
Last Week: 25
Here’s the problem. Some committee members in the room will want to move the Cougars up higher after beating Stanford, and with the win over USC still on the resume. But Wazzu just lost to Arizona 58-37 two weeks ago, and it can’t and should’ve be ranked higher.
So considering this a holding pattern for the moment, with chances to move way, way up with games at Utah and Washington ahead.
24. Arizona (6-3)
Last Week: 22
Considering the win over Washington State, and with the way the offense continues to roll with Khalil Tate at the helm, the Cats likely won’t take too much of a tumble. Losing at USC will be seen as not that bad, especially with the way the team fought back late.
23. Memphis (8-1)
Last Week: 23
The Tigers still don’t have a strong win – UCLA and Houston are fine, not great – and they were obliterated by UCF. However, at 8-1 with a devastating offense, that was good enough to get to 23 in the first rankings. They probably won’t move much, if at all.
22. Northwestern (6-3)
Last Week: NR
The argument could be made for being a whole lot higher. The Wildcats took down an Iowa team that just pantsed Ohio State, and beat a Michigan State team that just beat Penn State. But they lost to Penn State 31-7 – even if it was a late run to make the score ugly – and the last three wins were all in overtime. That’s never been done before.
21. Michigan (7-2)
Last Week: NR
The Wolverines, for some reason, were dogged by the other rankings, and then totally dismissed by the College Football Playoff types. Why?
The best win is over … Florida? No … Rutgers? No … Air Force? They have yet to beat a team that’s likely to go bowling, but the defensive metrics and stats are too good to keep them out of the top 25.
20. LSU (6-3)
Last Week: 19
The Tigers aren’t going to be punished too much, if at all, for losing at Alabama in a 24-10 battle. The wins over Syracuse and Auburn are strong enough to offset the Troy clunker – it was in last week’s rankings.
19. Penn State (7-2)
Last Week: 7
Ugh. The close call losses to Ohio State and Michigan State takes Penn State from being this close to No. 2 to tumbling down the rankings. At this point, the blowout win over Michigan is great, and the win at Iowa looks terrific, but the Nittany Lions will be behind the Buckeyes.
18. Ohio State (7-2)
Last Week: 6
This might be way too generous, and it will all depend on where Iowa is put. The win over Penn State still matters, but the second-best win is over … Indiana? Nebraska? Army? At least the win over the Knights came against a team that’ll go bowling.
17. Iowa (6-3)
Last Week: NR
How do you not put the Hawkeyes ahead of Ohio State after that?
The three losses came to Penn State on the last play of the game, on the road to Michigan State in the final moments, and to Northwestern in overtime. Beating Iowa State and dropping the double-nickel on the Buckeyes should make Iowa the highest-riser of the week.
16. UCF (8-0)
Last Week: 18
This is where the big old goose egg comes in. While everyone else is crashing and burning, the Knights keep on answering the call. The lone good win might be against a Memphis team that hasn’t lost to anyone else, but beating FIU 61-17 now looks terrific.
15. Michigan State (7-2)
Last Week: 24
By far, this is the hardest projection of the bunch – this is where the committee will have a wild debate.
This week, the Spartans should be put ahead of Penn State, and thanks to the win over Iowa, they should be ahead of Ohio State, too. The loss to Northwestern was in overtime on the road, and the other loss was to No. 3 Notre Dame.
14. Oklahoma State (7-2)
Last Week: 11
That was a firefight that could’ve gone either way. The Cowboys won’t be punished too hard for the 62-52 loss to the Sooners. The two losses are at home – that’s an issue – but losing to TCU and OU is as acceptable as it gets. But now the Cowboys have to drill Iowa State on the road.
13. Virginia Tech (7-2)
Last Week: 13
Well that’s over with. The ACC title dreams are all but smashed, but the Hokies won’t lose much ground – if any – considering the two losses are at Clemson and at Miami. The rest of the body of work isn’t that great, though.
12. Mississippi State (7-2)
Last Week: 16
The Bulldogs miserably failed two of their other big tests, getting blown away by Georgia and Auburn on the road by a combined score of 80-13. But none of that matters now.
They’ve won their last four games by double-digits – fine, so struggling to get by UMass and beating BYU might not be great – but Alabama is coming to Stark Vegas. Win, and all of a sudden they’re deep in the SEC West title chase.
11. USC (8-2)
Last Week: 17
Remember, it’s about the here-and-now for the committee as much as it is about the overall body of work. And right here, and right now, USC is on a two-game winning streak with a. blowout win at Arizona State – who beat Washington – and with a scintillating 49-35 win over Arizona.
Basically, the Trojans are doing it again, getting hot as the season winds down. The difference this time is that they’ll end up in the Pac-12 title game.
Right Now College Football Playoff & New Year’s Six (not projected)
College Football Playoff: Sugar Bowl
Georgia vs. Clemson
College Football Playoff: Rose Bowl
Alabama vs. Notre Dame
New Year’s Six
Orange Bowl: Miami vs. Wisconsin
Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Auburn
Fiesta: Washington vs. TCU
Peach: UCF vs. Mississippi State
10. Auburn (7-2)
Last Week: 14
The highest-ranked two-loss team last week will move up with a chance to make some serious noise over the next few weeks. The 42-27 win at Texas A&M was nice, the 49-10 win over Mississippi State was great, and now it’s time to go big-game hunting.
Beat Georgia, and then the talk about a two-loss team getting in will fire up.
9. Washington (8-1)
Last Week: 12
Back on track with a 38-3 domination of Oregon, the Huskies aren’t going anywhere. But now it’s about the finishing kick, needing to roll past Stanford on the road before taking care of Utah, Washington State, and in the Pac-12 championship against – most likely – USC.
Things are starting to shake out, Dawgs. Go 12-1 again, win the Pac-12 again, and go to the College Football Playoff again – with a little help, though.
8. TCU (8-1)
Last Week: 8
There’s no worry, TCU. The 14-7 loss to Iowa State two weeks ago isn’t quite as strong now after the Cyclones lost, but the rest of the resume is just fine. Win out, go 12-1 with a Big 12 championship, and you’re going to find your way into this thing.
7. Wisconsin (9-0)
Last Week: 9
The committee still won’t like the strength of schedule, but there is a difference between being an 8-0 Power Five team and beating 9-0 Power Five team beyond just the obvious digit change. Now that TCU’s Iowa State loss looks worse, the Badgers will slide on up.
But the schedule is still an issue. Beating Indiana 45-17 is nice, but that’s what you’re supposed to do.
6. Miami (8-0)
Last Week: 10
Ignored and unloved in the first rankings as one of the five remaining unbeatens, Miami now gets a whole bunch of respect after ripping up No. 13 Virginia Tech 28-10.
The Hurricanes might have struggled way too much against Florida State and Georgia Tech, but it’s still the only team to beat Toledo, and it’s still just one of five unbeatens. Beat Notre Dame next week, and the Canes are No. 3.
5. Oklahoma (8-1)
Last Week: 5
It’ll be the committee’s biggest high-level debate: should Oklahoma be No. 4?
The win at Oklahoma State was technically better than Clemson’s win at NC State, but the win over Ohio State now isn’t nearly as strong and the loss to Iowa State stings a little more after the Cyclones lost to West Virginia.
At the very least, the Sooners won’t slip. They’ll still be right on the doorstep of getting into the high rent district after their 62-52 win over the Cowboys.
4. Clemson (8-1)
Last Week: 4
After Syracuse lost to Florida State, Clemson’s loss in the Carrier Dome might look a little worse now according to the iPad part of the College Football Playoff committee argument.
But if the Tigers were liked at four last week, they’ll be loved after winning at NC State. There’s a hard ceiling at the moment, though – they’re not going to get to No. 3.
3. Notre Dame (8-1)
Last Week: 3
The Irish have every right to the No. 2 spot.
The wins over USC, NC State and Michigan State are better than anything Bama has come up with, and if you really believe Georgia is No. 1, then that 20-19 home loss might mean that they should be just behind the top Dawg.
But now Josh Adams is hurt, Brandon Wimbush is a bit banged up, and the defense just had a whole slew of problems against Wake Forest.
But here’s the deal. If the Irish beat unbeaten Miami at Miami, they’re going to move up to two next week.
2. Alabama (9-0)
Last Week: 2
Of course Alabama passes every eye test defensively, but the offense sputtered a bit against LSU. It was a win, but it was a fight.
The overall body of work still matters, and so far the best win now is a victory over an LSU team that got rolled by Mississippi State 37-7, and Mississippi State got rolled by Georgia 31-3.
And now, considering Texas A&M just got blown away at home by both Auburn and Mississippi State, that 27-19 Bama win in College Station is starting to look like a problem.
1. Georgia (9-0)
Last Week: 1
The committee doesn’t take into account margin of victory outside of whether or not it was an easy win or a struggle. And now, the same reasons why Georgia was No. 1 in the first round will be the same reasons why it’ll stay.
The double-digit wins keep on coming, the victories over Mississippi State and Notre Dame are still more impressive than anything Alabama has done, and yes, the margin of victories have been strong, too.