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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After all the zaniness of last week, things will be more tame this time around. More than ever, though, remember that these rankings won’t matter nearly as much as many will believe.
Next week is when it’s Game On.
Once we get through Alabama-Auburn – and the rest of Rivalry Week – then the rankings will need to be ultra-scrutinized. Until then, here’s the best guess on how the process is going to work …
25. Wake Forest (7-4)
Last Week: Not Ranked
The four losses might appear to be an issue, but the offense is hot, the wins over NC State, Louisville and Syracuse over the last few weeks are great, and if the committee is doing its homework, it’ll love how the offense is rolling with QB John Wolford right.
24. USF (9-1)
Last Week: Not Ranked
It’ll be more of a record ranking than anything else. The loss to Houston is now horrible, and Tulane is the best win so far, but there’s just no one else who the committee will like.
23. Boise State (9-2)
Last Week: 25
After sneaking into the top 25 last week, Boise State should be deeper into the fun after winning its seventh straight game. There isn’t a whole lot to get excited about other than the blowout win at San Diego State, but with 41 points or more in each of the last four games, it’s rolling at the right time.
22. Oklahoma State (8-3)
Last Week: 13
How much will the committee hate the home loss to Kansas State? The late rally in the 45-40 firefight defeat will get a little bit of respect. But the Cowboys will get more respect for the close losses than for the great wins. Beating Texas and West Virginia will have to do for the key wins.
21. Northwestern (8-3)
Last Week: 23
One of the hottest teams in college football, the Wildcats roared past Minnesota 39-0 for a six-game winning streak. The win over Iowa doesn’t seem like much, but the victory over Purdue looks stronger and the win over Michigan State is still great.
20. Stanford (8-3)
Last Week: 22
The Cardinal might have beaten their arch-rival, but the 17-14 win over Cal was hardly scintillating. The win over Washington isn’t that special, and there still isn’t anything else that’s all that great. Even so, it’s a Washington win over Washington State from going to the Pac-12 Championship.
19. Memphis (9-1)
Last Week: 21
There’s a decent chance Memphis gets a little more respect this week after hanging 66 on the board in a AAC West Division-clinching shootout with SMU. The best win, though is still against UCLA.
18. LSU (8-3)
Last Week: 20
The Troy loss is still the anchor. As good as LSU has been over the last several weeks, and as much as the win over Auburn matters, there’s still a hard-ceiling on how high the Tigers can rise.
17. Washington (9-2)
Last Week: 18
Washington might not be all that great, but it sure was fantastic in the late-rally win over Utah. The ranking depends on how far back the committee wants to go – the 48-16 win over Fresno State is great. That might be it, though. Oregon is the only other sure-thing bowl team it beat.
16. Michigan State (8-3)
Last Week: 17
The committee didn’t drop the Spartans all that far last week after the blowout loss to Ohio State – going from 12th to 17th – and it won’t get ripped too much for a tight battle against Maryland. The Penn State win is still great.
15. Mississippi State (8-3)
Last Week: 16
The Bulldogs will move up because Oklahoma State loss, but the rough performance and late win at Arkansas won’t do much to provide a bigger boost. On the resume is a win over LSU, and that’s it.
14. UCF (10-0)
Last Week: 15
The unbeaten Knights will keep on creeping up just a wee bit. The impressive blowout over Temple wasn’t bad, but there still isn’t anything impressive to go off of other than the blowout over last week’s No. 21 Memphis team. Beat USF, though, and they might just move into the top ten.
13. Washington State (9-2)
Last Week: 14
The wins over Stanford, Utah and USC will stick out more than the losses to Cal and Arizona. Off this week, the Cougars get their shot at Washington for the Apple Cup and a shot at a rematch with USC for the Pac-12 title.
12. TCU (9-2)
Last Week: 12
There’s a shot the committee drops down the Horned Frogs because of the injury issues in the backfield. But the defensive performance against Texas Tech – holding the Red Raiders to three points – will be just enough to keep them in range of big things. Yes, the playoff is still on the table with a win over Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship and a whole lot of help.
11. Penn State (9-2)
Last Week: 10
Penn State didn’t do anything to drop down, as much as the committee will like the USC win over UCLA to move up a bit. The 44 points allowed to Nebraska will stand out just enough to be the difference. The big problem? Where’s the big win? Northwestern is it.
What The College Football Playoff & New Year’s Six Would Be Right Now (this is NOT a projection … it’s based on what the rankings will probably be on Tuesday)
College Football Playoff: Sugar Bowl
Alabama vs. Wisconsin
College Football Playoff: Rose Bowl
Miami vs. Clemson
New Year’s Six
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Ohio State
Cotton Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Auburn
Fiesta: USC vs. UCF
Peach: Oklahoma vs. Georgia
10. USC (10-2)
Last Week: 11
Will beating UCLA matter more than Penn State beating Nebraska? Sort of. The Trojans are hot at the moment, and the committee will love the rivalry win aspect compared to Penn State’s struggles in the second half against the Huskers.
9. Ohio State (9-2)
Last Week: 9
The committee will start to look at how the teams are playing. It’ll despise the Iowa loss now more than ever, but the blowout over Michigan State and the annihilation of Illinois – as expected as that was – should trump Notre Dame’s struggles against Navy. But it won’t. However, if the Buckeyes roll through through Michigan, they’ll be on the doorstep of the top four. In other words, don’t get into too much of a twist.
8. Notre Dame (9-2)
Last Week: 8
The lackluster win over Navy will be blown off because the people in that room will know exactly how nasty it is trying to deal with that option attack. But more than anything else, the win over USC – the blowout win over USC, actually – will carry enough weight to keep the Irish fixed at eight.
7. Georgia (10-1)
Last Week: 7
There’s still absolutely no reason to worry or panic. Unlike Auburn, this is still one of five teams that controls its own destiny. The win over Notre Dame is still solid, and beating Mississippi State, South Carolina and now Missouri matters. The ranking this week doesn’t matter a lick.
6. Auburn (9-2)
Last Week: 6
Here’s the big problem for Auburn. Let’s say it does beat Alabama next week. Then what? If Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Miami and Clemson all win, the Tigers still be on the outside of the top four. But for now, hanging at No. 6 will be good enough. Beat the Crimson Tide, and beat Georgia, and it’ll move in for the ACC Championship loser.
5. Oklahoma (10-1)
Last Week: 4
Baker Mayfield issues aside, Oklahoma deserves to be No. 3 ahead of Clemson. Oklahoma’s loss to Iowa State is much better than Clemson’s loss to Syracuse, and the win over Ohio State on the road – the committee apparently loves road wins – is better than anything the Tigers have done. The Sooners have three wins over teams ranked in last week’s CFP top 13, but this committee LOVES Clemson. And …
4. Wisconsin (11-0)
Last Week: 5
This was the time two years ago when Iowa moved from fifth to fourth with its 11-0 record making a difference after beating a mediocre Purdue. Now with Northwestern starting to rock, Florida Atlantic rolling, and with a double-digit win over Michigan, the Badgers are actually piling up an okay – but hardly amazing – resume of wins over teams that’ll go bowling. All that matters is a 13-0 mark, and they’ll be in no matter what. But again …
3. Clemson (10-1)
Last Week: 2
This committee loves, loves, loves Clemson. However …
Syracuse, Syracuse, Syracuse.
Yes, Clemson rolled through its cupcake game against Citadel, but that loss to Syracuse is looking awful now. The Kelly Bryant Was Hurt excuse doesn’t wash – it was a loss to a team that’s not going bowling. Miami beating Virginia by double-digits will be enough to drop the Tigers down a spot.
2. Miami (10-0)
Last Week: 3
The committee screwed up big-time last week putting the Canes 3 and Clemson 2, and now it’ll make amends. Yes, it’ll still get all squishy over Clemson’s overall resume, but Miami’s win over Notre Dame is still the best victory by anyone in the top three. There overall body of work might not be as great as Clemson’s, but that 0 in the loss column will matter.
1. Alabama (11-0)
Last Week: 1
If the committee decided to put Bama No. 1 last week based on, “Uhhhh, we think its really good,” and ignoring the resume, it’s not going to drop the Tide now.