The first College Football Playoff Rankings have been released, and Clemson (8-0) leads the way. The Tigers, who are #3 in the AP Poll, jumped Ohio State to take the first spot. Behind them is LSU, followed by Ohio State and Alabama. Notre Dame rounds out the top 5.
1. Clemson Tigers
The Clemson Tigers received the top spot in the polls because they have been the most complete team this season. They have one of the NCAA’s top offenses, ranking 11th in PPG, and on the other side of the ball, they rank 5th in total defense. The Tigers face off against ACC rival Florida State this upcoming weekend, in a game that will decide the winner of the division.
Key Players: QB Deshaun Watson, RB Wayne Gallman, CB Mackenzie Alexander
Key Wins: 24-22 over #5 Notre Dame
Key Games: #16 FSU on Saturday, November 7 at 3:30 in Death Valley (Clemson Memorial Stadium)
The Tigers have been able to run over anybody. Leonard Fournette is the clear-cut Heisman Leader, and he will just run over any defense that the Tigers play. He is a freak athlete, and clearly the best player in College Football. The Tigers have a tough battle with Alabama this weekend, and the winner will likely win the SEC West. The game is in Tuscaloosa, but the Tigers will put up a fight against the Tide. This game will be a battle between arguably the SEC’s best two teams, and the winner very likely may win it all.
Key Players: RB Leonard Fournette, DB Jalen Mills
Key Wins: 21-19 over #20 Mississippi State, 35-28 over #10 Florida
Key Games: #4 Alabama on Saturday, November 7 at 8:00 in Tuscaloosa (Bryant-Denny Stadium)
#18 Ole Miss on Saturday, November 21 in Oxford
#19 Texas A&M on Saturday, November 28 in Death Valley
3. Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State has played alright this season. They have had some scares against lowly teams, but they always seem to pull away in every game. They have not looked like the juggernaut team that they were supposed to be, and that is why they have dropped from the #1 AP team to the #3 CFP team. They have had an easy schedule with no real challenges so far, and they won’t be challenged until they play the two teams from Michigan in the upcoming weeks.
Key Players: QB JT Barrett, RB Ezekiel Elliot, DE Joey Bosa
Key Wins: 38-10 over Penn State
Key Games: #7 Michigan State on Saturday, November 21 in Ohio Stadium
#17 Michigan on Saturday, November 28 in The Big House
4. Alabama Crimson Tide
The Crimson Tide have that one blemish on their record: against Ole Miss. Despite that one loss, the Tide are sitting pretty as the fourth seed in the CFP Rankings. At the four spot, they would make the playoffs if they started today. The Tide have a huge game against LSU this weekend, and they must win if they want to make the playoffs.
Key Players: RB Derrick Henry, QB Jake Coker, LB Reggie Ragland
Key Wins: 41-23 over #19 Texas A&M, 19-14 over Tennessee
Key Games: #2 LSU on Saturday, November 7 at 8:00 in Tuscaloosa (Bryant-Denny Stadium)
#20 Mississippi State on Saturday, November 14 in Starkville
5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Fighting Irish have played very well this season, and their only loss is to #1 Clemson in a very tight game in the pouring rain (it was bad. Trust me, I was there). The Irish have had many players go down, and they replace them with ease. RB Tarean Folston fell early this season, and CJ Prosise has replaced him extremely well. Their QB, Malik Zaire, fell to injury as well, and DeShone Kizer has stepped up and played great.
Key Players: QB DeShone Kizer, RB CJ Prosise
Key Wins: 41-31 over USC, 24-20 over Temple
Key Games: #11 Stanford on Saturday, November 28
6. Baylor Bears
This Baylor football team leads the FBS in PPG and YPG, but because of the loss of QB Seth Russell, TCU is seen as the favorite to win the conference. If TCU beats Baylor, and stays undefeated, then TCU will likely make the playoff. If Baylor beats TCU, and goes undefeated, then they will represent the BIG 12. It all depends on that game between those two teams.
Key Players: WR Corey Coleman, QB Jarrett Stidham
Key Games: #15 Oklahoma on November, 14
#14 Oklahoma State on Saturday, November 21
#8 TCU on Friday, November 27
7. Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State got lucky in the Michigan, but they have continued to win after the game. Connor Cook has been impressive, and the Spartan defense has been great. They have on big game left at Ohio State in their second to last game, and it is a must-win.
Key Players: QB Connor Cook, LB Riley Bullough
Key Wins: 31-28 over Oregon, 27-23 over Michigan
Key Games: #3 Ohio State on Saturday, November 21 in Columbus
8. TCU Horned Frogs
TCU has a great offense, and one of the best players in the league in Trevone Boykin. If TCU wins out, I expect them to be in the playoff. They just have to beat Baylor, and win out. As of now, I expect them to win out.
Key Players: QB Trevone Boykin, WR Josh Doctson
Key Games: #14 Oklahoma State on Saturday, November 7 at 3:30
#15 Oklahoma on Saturday, November 21
#6 Baylor on Friday, November 17 at 7:30
9. Iowa Hawkeyes
The Hawkeyes are undefeated. They have not done it in a pretty way, but they are undefeated. They have not lost a game, and that is very hard to do in college football. They will likely go undefeated throughout the regular season, so we will get a shot to see what this team is made of in the Big Ten Championship against Ohio State, Michigan State, or Michigan.
Key Players: QB C.J. Beathard, RB Jordan Canzeri
Key Wins: 27-24 over Pitt, 40-10 over Northwestern
Key Games: Big Ten Championship Game
10. Florida Gators
The Gators have been great under first year head coach Jim McElwain, who has taken the team to another level of play from where they were under Will Muschamp. They have blown out Ole Miss, and Georgia, and their only loss is to #2 LSU. The Gators did lose QB Will Grier, but Treon Harris has been great replacing him. The Gators should win the SEC East, and if they win out and win the SECCG, they will make the playoffs.
Key Players: QB Treon Harris, WR Antonio Callaway, RB Kelvin Harris, DB Vernon Hargreaves
Key Wins: 28-27 over Tennessee, 38-10 over Ole Miss, 27-3 over Georgia
Key Games: #16 Florida State on Saturday, November 28 in the Swamp (Ben Hill Griffin Stadium)