College Football Playoff Rankings: Georgia takes over No. 1 as Michigan, TCU step up in top 25


The second edition of the College Football Playoff Rankings was released Tuesday night with reigning national champion Georgia taking over the No. 1 spot coming off its decisive win over previously top-ranked Tennessee last Saturday. Off to a dominant start to the 2022 season, the Bulldogs are allowing just 10.8 points per game with double-digit victories in eight of nine contests.

Not all is lost for the Volunteers, though. Sliding into the No. 5 spot, Tennessee still has a chance to make the four-team field given the strength of its victories to this point along with it having the best loss in the country. Reminder: All but one team ranked No. 1 in a season’s initial CFP Rankings ultimately reached the playoff (Mississippi State, 2014).

Unbeaten teams round out the rest of the top four with Ohio State, Michigan and TCU taking the next three spots in order. However, even if the Buckeyes and Wolverines get through the next two weeks unscathed, one undefeated will fall on Nov. 26 when the Big Ten rivals meet. The Horned Frogs landed in the top four for the second time in program history (2014).

Despite a 46-point loss to new No. 1 Georgia in Week 1, Oregon is ahead of USC and UCLA as the top-ranked Pac-12 team with the league looking to bust into the CFP for the first time since 2016. LSU is notably the highest-ranked two-loss team at No. 7. The Bayou Bengals have an inside track on meeting the Dawgs in the SEC Championship Game, and should LSU win out, it will have a case to become the first two-loss team to earn a CFP bid.

Playoff stalwarts Alabama and Clemson fell notably following respective losses to LSU and Notre Dame last week. It’s the first time in the history of the CFP Rankings that neither program is among the six highest-ranked teams in a top 25 release.

The Crimson Tide dropped three spots to No. 9, effectively taking them out of playoff consideration with two losses, while the Tigers dropped six spots to No. 10. One-loss Clemson still has an opportunity to jump back into the four-team field, however, given a potential meeting with North Carolina in the ACC Championship Game could provide a late ratings boost. But it may need some help to get there.

Let’s take a look at the entire CFP Rankings top 25. Check out analysis by bowls expert Jerry Palm below.

College Football Playoff Rankings, Nov. 8

  1. Georgia (9-0)
  2. Ohio State (9-0)
  3. Michigan (9-0)
  4. TCU (9-0)
  5. Tennessee (8-1)
  6. Oregon (8-1)
  7. LSU (7-2)
  8. USC (8-1)
  9. Alabama (7-2)
  10. Clemson (8-1)
  11. Ole Miss (8-1)
  12. UCLA (8-1)
  13. Utah (7-2)
  14. Penn State (7-2)
  15. North Carolina (8-1)
  16. NC State (7-2)
  17. Tulane (8-1)
  18. Texas (6-3)
  19. Kansas State (6-3)
  20. Notre Dame (6-3)
  21. Illinois (7-2)
  22. UCF (7-2)
  23. Florida State (6-3)
  24. Kentucky (6-3)
  25. Washington (7-2)

Analysis by bowls expert Jerry Palm

Tennessee’s drop feels a little harsh. It lost on the road to the best team in the country, which frankly, the CFP Selection Committee should have seen last week. The Vols are the only team in this week’s rankings which has three wins over other teams in the rankings. Two of those came against teams currently in the top 10. Their 27-point win at LSU is the second best win anyone has this season behind Georgia’s 46-point victory over Oregon.

TCU, meanwhile, is finally getting the respect the Horned Frogs feel they deserve. The Big 12 has quality depth at the top of the conference this season, which is helping the Frogs’ strength of schedule. TCU has found it difficult to dominate games the way the committee likes to see, though, with an average scoring margin in FBS games less than half of the scoring margins for Georgia, Ohio State and Michigan.

It is weird to see Alabama and Clemson so far down the list. This is the first time the committee has released a top 25 that did not have at least one of those teams in the top four. Tide has been in seven of the eight playoffs thus far, while the Tigers have appeared in six. No other team has been in more than four.

Clemson still has hope for getting back into the top four at the end. The Tigers would have to win out to finish 12-1. As a conference champion, Clemson would certainly get serious consideration for a spot in the top four at that point.

The road is tougher for Alabama. The Tide do not control their own fate in the SEC West, so they have to win out and have LSU lose twice. Then, if Alabama beats Georgia to win the SEC championship, even at 11-2, it would make it back to the CFP. Ole Miss is in a better position as Alabama because the Rebels only have one loss, so they would only need LSU to lose once to take the division.

As it stands, LSU is in the best position to become the first two-loss team to make an appearance in the CFP. The Tigers are through the meat of their schedule, although I would not blindly chalk up wins at Arkansas or Texas A&M. The big obstacle is Georgia, of course.

The highest-ranked team with no path to the CFP whatsoever is Utah at No. 13. The Utes could still win the Pac-12, but their 11-2 record would not carry the same weight as that same record would for LSU or Alabama.





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