College Football Playoff rankings predictions What the final CFP top 25 could look like
College Football Playoff Ranking Predictions: What the Final CFP Top 25 Could Look Like
The sixth and final CFP Top 25 reveal will take place Sunday, Dec. 4 on ESPN (complete schedule here ). Ahead of the announcement, here’s a prediction of how the committee might rank its top 25 teams. Note that these are my predictions and mine alone. I take a look at head-to-head results, strength of schedule, games against ranked teams, and more to help rank teams so how I think the CFP committee will do it. You can read the CFP Committee’s official minutes here.
College Football Playoff Ranking Predictions: Final Top 25 Projections
These forecasts are as of 9:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, December 3. The following is assumed: Michigan wins the Big Ten, Clemson wins the ACC.
Georgia (13-0) | Previous: 1 — After dominating the SEC Championship, Georgia takes the top spot in the playoffs.
Michigan (13-0) | Previous: 2 — Michigan finished the season undefeated and remains at No. 2.
Ohio State (11-1) | Previous: 5 — Ohio State returns to the top four after finishing the season with just one loss. The Buckeyes outscored TCU because it lost to a top-ranked team. We’ve seen playoff committees set up semi-final rematches before.
TCU (12-1) | Previous: 3 — TCU remains in the top four despite losing the Big 12 Championship Game. Horned Frogs have only one disadvantage and the strength of their schedule earns them last place.
Southern California (11-2) | Previous: 4 — Second loss knocks USC out of playoff. Although the Trojans lost in the championship game, it was to a repeat opponent.
Alabama (10-2) | Previous: 6 — Alabama remains at No. 6. The Crimson Tide did not play last week and had 10 wins to USC’s 11. A two-loss team has never made the College Football Playoff. That won’t happen this year.
Tennessee (10-2) | PREVIOUS: 7 — Tennessee is tied at the hip with Alabama thanks to a head-to-head win.
Clemson (11-2) | Previous: 9 — I can see Clemson making an argument for a fifth or sixth as a conference champion. However, the CFP committee will not rank the Tigers after losses to Notre Dame and South Carolina.
Kansas State (10-3) | Previous: 10 — The Big 12 champions moved up one spot after defeating a College Football Playoff team in overtime.
Utah (10-3) | Previous: 11 — Utah enters the top 10 after winning the Pac-12 title.
Penn State (10-2) | Previous: 8 — Penn State falls behind three conference champions and will have to wait until after the bowl season to get back into the top 10.
Washington (10-2) | Previous: 12 — Washington holds on after not playing in Week 14.
Florida State (9-3) | Previous: 13 — Florida State holds on after not playing in Week 14.
Tulane (11-2) | Previous: 18 — Tulane climbed four spots after winning the AAC Championship.
Oregon State (9-3) | Previous: 15 — Oregon State holds on after not playing in Week 14.
Oregon (9-3) | Previous: 16 — Oregon now has a win against the Pac-12 champions, but they stayed because they didn’t play last week.
LSU (9-4) | Previous: 14 — After loss in SEC Championship, LSU drops three spots.
UCLA (9-3) | Previous: 17 — Tulane’s
rise drops UCLA by one spot. The Bruins trailed LSU as they lost two of their last three games.
South Carolina (8-4) | Previous: 19 — South Carolina holds on after not playing in Week 14.
Texas (8-4) | Previous: 20 — Texas holds on after not playing in Week 14.
Notre Dame (8-4 | Previous: 21 — Notre Dame holds on after not playing in Week 14
Mississippi State (8-4) | Previous: 24 — Mississippi State was off last week, but moved up two spots after losses to North Carolina and UCF.
UTSA (11-2) | Previous: NR — UTSA finally breaks into the CFP Top 25 after winning the Conference USA Championship and going 11-2. While it would be nice for UTSA and Troy — 11-2 — to go into the final rankings as well, the committee hasn’t seen enough of either team throughout the season to rank them here.
UCF (9-4) | Previous: 22 — After losing the AAC championship game, UCF fell three spots in the rankings. However, the championship loss isn’t enough to knock the Knights out of the top 25.
NC State (8-4) | Previous: 25 — NC State moves into the final top 25 thanks to a head-to-head win over North Carolina.
Dropped out: North Carolina (23)
Notable College Football Playoff Ranking Questions
Does TCU fall?
TCU lost its first game of the season to Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship Game. The Horned Frogs have just one loss and are the only four teams in the FBS with one or fewer losses. Will that be enough to get into TCU? Or will a team like Alabama knock the Horned Frogs out of the playoff field?
Does Ohio State enter Southern California?
Ohio State is ranked fifth ahead of the final rankings. Southern California ranked fourth ahead of the last ranking. The Buckeyes did not play for their conference championship game, but suffered only one loss that season. The Trojans lost their conference championship game, their second loss to Utah.
Will USC be punished for playing in their conference and losing? CE Championship Game, Ohio State over them R allows to rise? We’ll find out on Sunday.
RELATED: Michigan thinking big, Ohio State mulling CFP hopes after game blowout
Does Alabama still have a shot?
Alabama was ranked sixth in last week’s CFP rankings. The Crimson Tide sit two spots outside the playoff field but behind No. 5 Ohio State. While neither the Buckeyes nor the Tide played this weekend, the CFP committee left the door open for Alabama’s playoff hopes with his remarks saying, “Not necessarily.” When asked about Ohio State remaining in front of Alabama.
Nothing has changed with the fifth and sixth ranked teams from last week to this week, but anything can happen after the selection. Stan Becton joined NCAA.com in 2021 and has since served as an FCS, track and field, cross country and HBCU beat reporter. . He has covered numerous NCAA Championship events, including the FCS Championships, DI Track and Field Championships and the Men’s Frozen Four. Additionally, he covered the 2021 Celebration Bowl. Stan graduated from Carnegie Mellon University, with a degree in professional writing and played football as a five-year letterman. You can follow him on Twitter @stan_becton.
The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NCAA or its member institutions.
College football rankings: CFP’s top 25 poll predicts bowl season
- UTSA. Frank Harris threw for 341 yards with four touchdowns as the Roadrunners beat North Texas 11-2 for the Conference USA championship.
- Mississippi State. The Bulldogs finished the season 8-4 and moved up in the rankings after their statement win over rival Ole Miss on Thanksgiving.
- Notre Dame. A five-game winning streak over USC ended, and now the Irish are about to lose quarterback Drew Pine to the transfer portal, but there’s a lot to build on here.
- Texas. Denied a chance to play for the Big 12 title, the Longhorns finished the season 8-4 with a key win at home over Baylor in the finale.
- South Carolina. Sitting at 8-4 to finish the regular season and move up in the rankings after big wins over Tennessee and Clemson, both AP Top 10 teams, at the time of their games.
- UCLA. The Bruins couldn’t knock off rival USC, but they took care of business last week against Cal to finish 9-3.
- Oregon. The Ducks won eight straight midseason but lost two of the last three to put a damper on an otherwise remarkable debut for head coach Dan Lanning.
- Oregon State. That big win at home against Oregon to end the year is huge and sets a good foundation going forward, but without quarterback Chance Nolan, who enters the transfer portal at .15. LSU. Allowing 50 to Georgia in the SEC title game wasn’t great, but the offense never gave up and the Tigers appear to have a solid piece at quarterback in Garrett Nosmeier.
- Tulane. The new AAC champions are poised to clinch the Group of Five’s New Year’s Bowl bid after a big win over UCF en route to the Cotton Bowl.
- Florida State. For the first time since 2016, the Seminoles won more than 8 games, behind a dominant performance.
- Washington. The Huskies totaled 700 yards against rival Washington State to take home the Apple Cup at the end of the regular season and now await their bowl assignment.
- Penn State. The Nittany Lions seem to be headed to the Rose Bowl with OSU and Michigan as the next best options in the Big Ten and possibly both heading to the College Football Playoff.
- Kansas State. The line moved steadily in favor of the Wildcats leading up to the Big 12 title game until they were named the favorites at kickoff. Hours later, K-State defeated College Football Playoff favorite TCU in overtime to win the conference championship.
- Tennessee. College football’s top offense stumbled late in the season with losses to Georgia and South Carolina, but there’s still a New Year’s bid in the Vols’ future, possibly the Orange.
- USC. Given how poor the Trojans looked against Utah, the top 25 voters might drop them enough to go after the Utes, especially given a truly unforgiving defensive performance.
- Utah. After falling behind early in the Pac-12 title bout against USC, the Utes came back in style, scoring 44-7 in the comeback to capture the league crown and eliminate the Trojans from the College Football Playoff. ran
- Alabama. Both the AP and CFP voters put the Tide ahead of the Volunteers despite a string of disappointing results against common rivals and ranked teams and others, but Bama is still not going to the playoffs this year.
- Clemson. There are few things the College Football Playoff selection committee loves more than winning a conference championship, and that’s what Clemson is doing so convincingly after switching quarterbacks.
- Ohio State. Thanks to USC’s loss in the Pac-12 title game, the Buckeyes should jump back into college football as the best remaining option throughout the playoffs despite not playing for the league title.As. Additionally, the committee wants to avoid an OSU-Michigan rematch in the semifinals, so could put the Bucks at 4 despite a TCU loss.
- TCU. We suggest the CFP committee will keep the Horned Frogs at 3 provided they play in a conference championship game, something the selectors place a heavy premium on, especially given that TCU played such a close game.
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