With the first set of CFP rankings set to be made official on Tuesday, there is a lot of debate and speculation as to where teams 2-4 are going to be.
We already know that the undefeated and top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs are clearly the nation’s top team. And while Cincinnati is also undefeated at 8-0, there is a known bias towards non-Power 5 teams in the CFP rankings.
What about one-loss Ohio State, who lost at home to one-loss Oregon, whom lost to an unranked Stanford team, 31-24 in OT down at Palo Alto. And then of course, there’s one-loss defending national champion Alabama looming.
Should be an interesting 48 hours! Below is our first-ever CFP Week 1 projected rankings:
No.1 Georgia Bulldogs (8-0): On a historic pace to rival the 2011 national champion Alabama team that just dominated teams, the Bulldogs have allowed a mere 53 points, despite allowing a late touchdown vs. Florida. There is no question that they have the defense, the question is that do they have ENOUGH offense to close the deal?
No.2 Ohio State Buckeyes (7-1): Now, now! Before I get called a Buckeyes homer, let me explain my reasoning. The Scarlet and Gray have a quality loss at home vs. the forementioned No.7 Ducks, as well as quality wins over ranked teams such as No.20 Penn State and upcoming games vs. No.8 Michigan State and at No.6 Michigan. If Ohio State can win both of those games, that would give the Buckeyes a total of three wins vs ranked teams and a mark of 3-1 vs. Oregon’s lone win.
Don’t blame the Buckeyes, blame the Pac-12.
No.3 Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1): Oh boy, here we go! Classic example of SEC bias right here! While there is a legit argument for undefeated Cincinnati to be here, Alabama is Alabama and thanks to them being kings of the nation’s top conference as well as the quality of competition vs. the Bearcats, the Tide gets the nod here.
The Crimson Tide have defeated No.14 Miami, No.11 Florida, No.12 Ole Miss and still have to face No.18 Auburn in the Iron Bowl last, compared to Cincinnati’s lone win vs. a ranked team in No.9 Notre Dame. I can respectfully understand how some may wonder why is Alabama in the top four vs. Cincinnati, but at the end of the day it’s the name and brand influence of the SEC and ‘Bama vs. the non-Power 5 outsiders and Cincy.
It is what it is.
No.4 Oklahoma Sooners (7-1): Bringing up the rear are Caleb Williams and the Oklahoma Sooners. As mentioned above regarding Alabama over Cincinnati, the SEC-bound Sooners get the nod over the Bearcats due to playing in Cincinnati’s future conference home, the Big 12.
Oklahoma—at this point, has a better resume and future strength of schedule, as they’ve already beaten fellow SEC-bound defector in No.21 Texas, 55-48, as well as upcoming games at No.16 Baylor and finishing at home vs. No.22 Iowa State and their Bedlam rivalry matchup vs. No.15 Oklahoma State. If the CFP selection committee and rankings have shown over the years is that the committee values strength of schedule, the eye test, style points and quality wins as well as losses.
Again, while Cincinnati has one win vs. a ranked and quality opponent, the four mentioned above have a minimum of one, plus future games vs. quality teams that will help them pad their resume.
When Cincinnati moves to the Big 12 in 2023, and the CFP officially expands to either eight or 12 teams, then a non-Power 5 member such as the Bearcats would be a shoo in for the playoffs.
While this is just the first rankings, and that the rankings are always fluid. I see the Bearcats on the outside looking in.