College Football Playoff Rankings: Reaction to Tuesday’s CFP Top 25 Reveal

College Football Playoff Rankings: Reaction to Tuesday’s CFP Top 25 Reveal article feature image
Credit:

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.

On Tuesday night, all of college football waited for the smoke to emerge from the Gaylord Hotel’s chimney in Grapevine, Texas, where the College Football Playoff selection committee unveiled its first rankings.

There were two options: White smoke meant Group of Five Cincinnati was disrespected and ranked outside the top four. Gray smoke meant brisket was being served.

White smoke emerged — or would have emerged if the CFB Playoff had a Pope-like chimney system (maybe when the playoff earns more money, it can add one when it expands to 12 teams?).

Maybe some folks believe smoke and mirrors would be more appropriate, but the top seven of the initial rankings — 1. Georgia, 2. Alabama, 3. Michigan State, 4. Oregon, 5. Ohio State, 6. Cincinnati, 7. Michigan — all have one thing in common: Win out, and they will make the playoff.

Well, except for Cincinnati. The Bearcats will need help. If any of the other seven teams win out, they’re in.

The Bearcats made history by becoming the first Group of Five team to rank in the top six, but selection committee chair Gary Barta didn’t sound like the committee was overly impressed with the Bearcats.

“The committee has great respect for Cincinnati,” Barta said. “The win at Notre Dame was a really impressive win … Who else did they beat?”

Cincinnati may not have cracked the top four, but the Bearcats made history as the highest ranked Group of Five team in the ranking’s eight-year history. Last year, Cincinnati debuted at No. 7 in the first ranking and finished undefeated at No. 8 in the final ranking — behind two-loss Oklahoma and three-loss Florida.

The must-have app for college football bettors

The best NCAAF betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

CFP Top 25 Rankings vs. Our Power Ratings

CFP denotes Tuesday’s inaugural College Football Playoff Top 25 Rankings.
PR denotes Collin Wilson’s College Football Betting Power Ratings.


1

CFP

Georgia

1

PR

2

CFP

Alabama

2

PR

3

CFP

Michigan State

27

PR

4

CFP

Oregon

7

PR

Projected Point Spreads for CFP Semifinal Matchups

If the top four teams on Tuesday met in the College Football Playoff Semifinals, here are the projected point spreads for each matchup based on Collin Wilson’s college football betting power ratings:

college football-orange bowl

Capital One Orange Bowl

Friday, Dec. 31 ⋅ Miami Gardens, FL

Projection: No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Michigan State

Action Spread: Alabama -17


college football-cotton bowl

Goodyear Cotton Bowl

Friday, Dec. 31 ⋅ Arlington, TX

Projection: No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 4 Oregon

Action Spread: Georgia -15


5

CFP

Ohio State

3

PR

6

CFP

Cincinnati

11

PR

7

CFP

Michigan

15

PR

8

CFP

Oklahoma

4

PR

9

CFP

Wake Forest

36

PR

10

CFP

Notre Dame

12

PR

Win-Loss Records of FBS Opponents for CFP Top-10 Teams

  • No. 10 Notre Dame, 39-26 (60.0%)
  • No. 7 Michigan, 38-27 (58.5%)
  • No. 1 Georgia, 37-28 (56.9%)
  • No. 2 Alabama, 30-26 (53.6%)
  • No. 5 Ohio State, 34-30 (53.1%)
  • No. 3 Michigan State, 27-30 (47.4%)
  • No. 9 Wake Forest, 27-30 (47.4%)
  • No. 4 Oregon, 27-31 (46.6%)
  • No. 6 Cincinnati, 24-32 (42.9%)
  • No. 8 Oklahoma, 26-40 (39.4%)

11

CFP

Oklahoma State

18

PR

12

CFP

Baylor

24

PR

13

CFP

Auburn

5

PR

14

CFP

Texas A&M

7

PR

15

CFP

BYU

49

PR

16

CFP

Ole Miss

7

PR

17

CFP

Mississippi State

42

PR

18

CFP

Kentucky

24

PR

19

CFP

NC State

19

PR

20

CFP

Minnesota

39

PR

21

CFP

Wisconsin

12

PR

22

CFP

Iowa

29

PR

23

CFP

Fresno State

49

PR

24

CFP

San Diego State

68

PR

25

CFP

Pitt

15

PR

Additional Notes on the 2021 CFP Top 25 Rankings

The inaugural College Football Playoff in 2014 had seven rankings, but the next five years (2015-19) had six sets of rankings. Last year’s COVID-19 season had only five rankings.

This year, there will be six rankings so each set will be compared with the same time frame of rankings from other seasons.

Only 6 Teams Have Ever Ranked No. 1 in the CFP Top 25 Rankings

Georgia’s No. 1 ranking Tuesday marked the first time since Nov. 7, 2017 that Georgia was atop the College Football Playoff rankings. Here is a list of the only six teams that have ranked No. 1 in the eight-year history of the College Football Playoff.

Weeks Ranked No. 1

Alabama (23)

Clemson (8)

Georgia (3)

LSU (3)

Mississippi State (3)

Ohio State (3)

 

Note: This list includes Georgia’s No. 1 ranking on Tuesday.


Scouting This Year’s Potential National Champion

Looking for this year’s national champion? Look no further than the top four teams in Tuesday’s rankings.

In the past five years (excluding last year’s COVID-19 season, which didn’t have a comparable ranking at this point of the season) the eventual national champion ranked in the top four. The only exception came in 2014 by No. 14 Ohio State.


Eventual National Champions & Where they Ranked at this Point by Season:

2014 — No. 14 Ohio State

2015 — No. 4 Alabama

2016 — No. 2 Clemson

2017 — No. 2 Alabama

2018 — No. 2 Clemson

2019 — No. 2 LSU

2020 — No rankings this week.

Trying to project this year’s College Football Playoff field? Eighty-two percent of the College Football Playoff qualifiers have ranked among the top six teams in these rankings.

Only 5-of-28 teams were outside the top six, most notably eventual 2014 national champion Ohio State at No. 14.


The Lowest-Ranked Teams at this Point of the Season to make the College Football Playoff:

2014 — No. 14 Ohio State, national champion

2015 — No. 7 Michigan State, lost semifinal

2015 — No. 15 Oklahoma, lost semifinal

2018 — No. 7 Oklahoma, lost semifinal

2019 — No. 9 Oklahoma, lost semifinal

With Clemson’s streak of 42 consecutive appearances in the College Football Playoff rankings ending on Tuesday, Alabama and Ohio State are the only two programs that have been ranked in all 43 editions of the CFP rankings.

Here are the current consecutive weeks schools have been ranked in the College Football Playoff rankings:

Alabama (43)

Ohio State (43)

Oklahoma (36)

Georgia (24)

Notre Dame (24)

Cincinnati (12)

Iowa (12)

Oklahoma State (12)

BYU (6)

Texas A&M (6)

NC State (4)

Oregon (2)

How would you rate this article?