What will the College Football Playoff rankings be on Sunday? Here’s the best guess.
Okay, so we’re here. It’s top for the College Football Playoff final top 25 rankings to come out, and it’s time to finally know who gets to play in the big four-team tournament. The best projection and top 25 prediction is …
25. NC State Wolfpack 8-3 (22)
The eight wins stand out. It was the only team to beat Liberty, it hung tough with Miami, and it ended up being one of the five or six beat teams in the ACC.
24. Tulsa Golden Hurricane 6-2 (23)
The 27-24 loss to Cincinnati should be enough to earn more respect than this, but the loss to Oklahoma State to start the season will be what keeps the Golden Hurricane down this far. It was still a magnificent year.
23. Oklahoma State Cowboys 7-3 (21)
The Cowboys died down the stretch … sort of. They lost three of their last six games and beat up the Big 12’s bad teams, but they won’t bounce out of the top 25 after being firmly in it the week before.
22. Texas Longhorns 6-3 (20)
Texas deserves a better ranking than this. The loss at home to TCU hurts, but the other losses were to Oklahoma and Iowa State, and all three defeats were this close to going the other way.
21. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns 9-1 (19)
Louisiana gets the shaft in all of this. It beat Iowa State, the one loss is to unbeaten Coastal Carolina, and there wasn’t a chance to prove that it might actually be the Sun Belt’s best team with the rematch with the Chanticleers called off.
20. USC Trojans 5-1 (13)
There weren’t any great wins, and the loss to Oregon was devastating. Had USC won in a blowout in the Pac-12 Championship, it would’ve had an interesting case for the fourth spot considering ow everything shook out.
19. Oregon Ducks 4-2 (NR)
This will tidy everything up. The losses to Oregon and Oregon State won’t exactly be brushed aside, but what amounted to a road win at USC for the Pac-12 champion will move the Ducks up hither than the Trojans to make it all easy to put everything in order.
18. Miami Hurricanes 8-2 (18)
This might be a little low. The blowout loss to North Carolina still hurts, but wins over NC State and Pitt are solid, and the 31-14 victory over Conference USA champion UAB looks a lot better now.
17. BYU Cougars 9-1 (17)
The Cougars are off to the Boca Raton Bowl to face UCF after a very fun and very exciting season. There aren’t a ton of massive wins, but there are enough good ones to be ranked a bit higher than this. It doesn’t matter – the Cougars are already settled into a bowl game.
16. Iowa Hawkeyes 6-2 (16)
The losses to Purdue and Northwestern happened to start the season, but a six-game winning streak to close things out was impressive. However, there wasn’t a win over anyone with a winning regular-season record. Even so, there were enough good victories to be in the top 16.
15. North Carolina Tar Heels 8-3 (15)
The Tar Heels were impressive enough against Miami last week to hang around the top 15, and the loss to Notre Dame wasn’t awful. The losses to Florida State and Virginia might push the Tar Heels lower, but nothing much happened to knock the team down too much.
14. San Jose State Spartans 7-0 (24)
Call this a wish ranking, because it’s the right thing to do. San Jose State not only went unbeaten with a Mountain West Championship, but it won all seven games by double-digit. Beating Nevada and Boise State should help earn the Spartans top 15 consideration.
13. Northwestern Wildcats 6-2 (14)
The Cats fought the good fight in the Big Ten Championship loss to Ohio State, and the win over Iowa now looks terrific, but the loss to Michigan State stings. It was a terrific season to get to the second Big Ten title game in three years.
12. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 11-0 (12)
The committee still won’t get this right. It should put one-loss Louisiana ahead of Iowa State – the Ragin’ Cajuns beat the Cyclones – but it’ll get the unbeaten Chanticleers up higher since it’s the one team that beat the team that beat the team. There will be some call that they should be in the top ten, but being this high will be terrific.
11. Indiana Hoosiers 6-1 (11)
It’s going to be one of the biggest drama aspects of the rankings – will Indiana get ahead of Iowa State to be in the New Year’s Six? There’s no fantastic win, but there also aren’t the three losses like the Cyclones have.