The initial College Football Playoff rankings were released on Tuesday evening, and as always, they sparked plenty of reaction. Some of the rankings made sense, while others left people scratching their heads.
There is still plenty of football left to be played, so it would be unwise to take away too much from the first round of rankings. But at least now we have a much clearer picture of how the committee views certain teams.
Below is a team-by-team reaction to those rankings.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
Reaction: This was the obvious choice. Alabama has been the clear-cut best team in the country this season. With Auburn, Arkansas and more than likely Florida left on the schedule, the road to the Playoff isn’t automatic, but it’s close. That offense looks unstoppable.
2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Reaction: Notre Dame was another easy choice. Are the Fighting Irish the best team in the country? It is doubtful, but that win against No. 3 Clemson cannot be ignored — even if the Tigers were without Trevor Lawrence.
3. Clemson Tigers
Reaction: Clemson checking in at No. 3 was surprising. Ohio State didn’t look great against No. 12 Indiana this past weekend, but they got a win. Clemson didn’t play. Their injured defense also looks vulnerable. I wonder if little ole Dabo still feels disrespected.
4. Ohio State Buckeyes
Reaction: The Buckeyes have a few gripes when it comes to the initial Playoff rankings. But that doesn’t matter — win and you’re in. Period. The problem with staying at the No. 4 spot is that leads to Alabama in the first round, but that should be a familiar scenario for Ohio State, right?
5. Texas A&M Aggies
Reaction: There might be a few people out there who are surprised that Texas A&M is ranked ahead of Florida, and I might be one of them. I did think the committee would weigh the head-to-head victory in favor of the Aggies, but the Gators have looked like the overall better team.
6. Florida Gators
Reaction: The Gators have lost only to No. 5 Texas A&M and only by three points. The Aggies, on the other hand, got trounced by No. 1 Alabama with a final score of 52-24. Still, the head-to-head is all that matters. If Florida wins out, they’re in. Honestly, they might even be able to drop another game and still get in — if they win the SEC.
7. Cincinnati Bearcats
Reaction: I would have flipped Northwestern and Cincinnati. The Bearcats have a complete team with an elite defense and a top playmaking quarterback, but the level of competition just hasn’t been there. If any Group of Five school deserves to get in, however, it’s Luke Fickell’s squad.
8. Northwestern Wildcats
Reaction: With Wisconsin forced to cancel another game, Northwestern has to win only one of its remaining three games to go to the Big Ten Championship. The Wildcats proved themselves against the Badgers. They are another team with a rock solid defense, but their offense still has question marks.
9. Georgia Bulldogs
Reaction: What are we doing here? I thought the committee didn’t really value quality losses as much. The Bulldogs have dropped two games to the No. 1 and No. 6 teams in the country. The problem I have with them checking in at No. 9 is that both of those losses were blowouts. Apparently, JT Daniels did enough to convince them this is a new offense.
10. Miami Hurricanes
Reaction: This wasn’t a surprise at all. The Hurricanes have only one loss, and it was to No. 3 Clemson. Granted, that was a 42-17 beatdown, but Miami has interesting playmakers on both sides of the football. They would probably be higher had it not been for a few close calls against mediocre opponents.
11. Oklahoma Sooners
Reaction: Seeing Oklahoma at No. 11 was a little surprising. The Sooners have looked a lot better recently, but it is hard to ignore their two losses. Could Oklahoma actually work its way up for a chance at a Playoff spot? Doubtful, but they should be thrilled with this ranking.
12. Indiana Hoosiers
Reaction: Indiana might have a gripe for checking in behind Oklahoma. Indiana doesn’t have a quality win — or anything close to a quality win — on its resume, but its one loss was a close game against No. 4 Ohio State. We probably should’ve known the Hoosier disrespect was coming once we saw the Buckeyes behind Clemson.
13. Iowa State Cyclones
Reaction: The committee thinks a lot more of the Big 12 than I do. Iowa State should be a late-teens kind of team, but instead, they are ranked ahead of undefeated teams like BYU and Oregon. That 45-0 win against Kansas State on Saturday helped, but I just can’t forget about that loss to Louisiana in Week 1.
14. BYU Cougars
Reaction: Yikes. BYU had been wondering where it stood, and the Cougars got their answer. The committee was very clear that this is a team that has some work to do — as far as scheduling new opponents. At this point, it’s hard to see a scenario where they make it in.
15. Oregon Ducks
Reaction: The Pac-12 just got its season underway, so it’s still hard to know much about teams like Oregon and USC. The Ducks have started slowly in every game and haven’t been overly impressive. At least they are undefeated though, right?
16. Wisconsin Badgers
Reaction: It’s hard not to feel bad for Wisconsin. Due to varying issues with COVID-19, the Badgers are going to fall below the six-game minimum required to compete for the Big Ten Championship. A once promising team has taken a mighty tumble since their opening game against Illinois.
17. Texas Longhorns
Reaction: This isn’t a terrible spot for the Longhorns. After a 1-2 start to the season, Texas has won three straight, including wins against Baylor, Oklahoma State and West Virginia. With Iowa State and Kansas State still on the schedule, there is a chance to impress the committee even more.
18. USC Trojans
Reaction: Hey, USC finally won by double digits this past weekend. After two come-from-behind victories against Arizona State and Arizona, the Trojans finally got a decent win, defeating Utah 33-17. Kedon Slovis isn’t the same caliber of player this season, but maybe that will change.
19. North Carolina Tar Heels
Reaction: I loved North Carolina coming into this season. I thought they had a chance to be a complete team that could create some havoc in the ACC. The Tar Heels are still a solid team, but they aren’t as competitive as I would’ve thought. Losing to Florida State? Are you serious?
20. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
Reaction: An 8-0 record and first place standing in the Sun Belt gets you a spot in the top 20, but that is about it. Jamey Chadwell has done a good job with this group, but this team is close to reaching its ceiling as far as the rankings are concerned.
21. Marshall Thundering Herd
Reaction: Marshall has found its quarterback of the future. True freshman Grant Wells is going to be a player, but this is another team that might have reached its ceiling in the eyes of the committee.
22. Auburn Tigers
Reaction: That terrible loss to South Carolina is really hurting Auburn right now. But you know what would help? A road victory against Alabama this weekend. This Tigers offense is finally starting to come around, but it might be 2021 before they become a really dangerous squad.
23. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Reaction: It is hard to believe that this team was the Big 12’s best hope of getting a team into the Playoff a few weeks ago. Since then, they are 1-2 with losses to No. 17 Texas and No. 11 Oklahoma. This is still a good football team, but they’re not great.
24. Iowa Hawkeyes
Reaction: Iowa is a team that lives off its defense. In the Big Ten, they rank No. 3 in total defense and No. 11 in total offense. As usual, it’s hard to get overly excited about the Hawkeyes, but at least they cracked the top 25 again.
25. Tulsa Golden Hurricanes
Reaction: Yeah, I guess this makes sense.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.