Tag Archives: 2016 Playoff Rankings

College Football Playoff Rankings: Week 7

Welcome back to the Campus Pressbox College Football Playoff Rankings. This week’s rankings are an abbreviated version, but we will be back to full force next week. As always, you can find  previous weeks’ rankings here.

Rankings

1.  Alabama Crimson Tide (1)

2. The Ohio State Buckeyes (2)

3. Clemson Tigers (3)

4. Washington Huskies (4)

5. Michigan Wolverines (5)

6. Texas A&M Aggies (6)

7. Louisville Cardinals (7)

8. Nebraska Cornhuskers (8)

9. Baylor Bears (10)

10. West Virginia Mountaineers

 

Drop Outs

Wisconsin Badgers (8)

Honorable Mentions

Florida State Seminoles, Boise St. Broncos, Florida Gators, Tennessee Volunteers, Western Michigan Broncos.

 

Games to Watch This Weekend

Texas A&M @ Alabama

Everyone is in agreement that the Top 10 showdown between A&M and the Crimson Tide is by far the best game this weekend. It should and will most likely decide who wins the SEC West. Obviously, that team will also be the favorite to win the SEC championship and to advance to the CFP. Alabama has shown neither remorse for its opponents nor any signs that the heavy schedule is having any effect on the team. For that reason, it just makes too much sense that Alabama will be able to overcome the surging and surprisingly good Aggies.

North Carolina State @ Louisville

N.C. St. surprised everyone last week when they kept pace with Clemson. The Wolfpack was only a field goal away from a huge upset, but was unable to pull it off. However, Louisville still needs to be wary. The Wolfpack may be a bit melancholic after last week, but there is a chance State comes out looking for blood. If that happens, Louisville could be in some trouble. Louisville just needs to be ready to play, and I’m sure Lamar Jackson will take care of the rest.

E-mail Cooper at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @uf_goetz
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College Football Playoff Rankings: Week 6

Welcome back to the sixth installment of Campus Pressbox’s weekly College Football Playoff rankings. As always,  rankings from the previous weeks can be found here.

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide (1)

Alabama had a nice, quality 19-point win over Arkansas to start the Crimson Tide’s “October of Hell”. Still on the slate for ‘Bama this month is Tennessee, Texas A&M, and LSU. The Arkansas game should be a foreshadowing of how the rest of the month plays out, but if the Crimson Tide play less than stellar for one minute this month, anyone of those three teams could easily steal a game. The real question is which one of them will. Alabama remains the top pick in just about everyone’s book for the College Football Playoff.

  1. The Ohio State Buckeyes (2)

The Buckeyes handled themselves well in what many, including myself, considered a trap game against the Indiana Hoosiers. The schedule will continue to get more difficult as the Buckeyes move deeper into their Big Ten conference schedule.  Madison, Wisconsin awaits this weekend, in what could be the first true test for Ohio State following the blow out in Norman, Oklahoma in week three. Really, it will provide the Buckeyes’ offense a chance to face off against one of the top defenses in the country. The Buckeyes are on the right path for the CFP.

  1. Clemson Tigers (3)

Clemson’s Friday night dismantling of Boston College was missed by most, but the 46-point win was impressive nonetheless. The Eagles simply stood no chance against a team that truly proved itself the week prior against Louisville. And though Dabo Swinney still has some qualms about the Louisville game, the fact of the matter is that Clemson is in the driver’s seat now.  If Clemson can get through the Florida State game in two weeks, there may be no stopping the Tigers from walking away with an undefeated record for the second consecutive year.

  1. Washington Huskies (4)

Washington surprised most when beating Stanford by a wide margin, but the surprise was dulled this week as the Huskies put up 70 points against Oregon. None of the games left on Washington’s schedule are push overs, but none of them are necessarily challenges either. And the fact of the matter is that Houston’s loss over the weekend helped solidify the Huskies’ Playoff spot. As long as the Huskies can manage to walk away from the season with one loss or less, they will occupy the final spot in this year’s Playoff.

  1. Michigan Wolverines (5)

Do you like cheap, high quality steak? Because the Wolverines sure do. Michigan beat Rutgers 78-0. Frankly that score tells it all. Everyone has the right to feel bad for Illinois, the next team in the way of the bulldozing Wolverines. Michigan players and fans still only have November 26 circled on their calendars, however. In terms of Playoff hopes, the Ohio State game is all that matters.

  1. Texas A&M Aggies (7)

Despite the fact that the Aggies tried to choke the game away near the end, Texas A&M still wound up beating Tennessee in double overtime. Though many attribute the game to the Volunteers mistakes, the Aggies consistent, solid play should not be overlooked. In terms of Playoff hopes, next weekend’s game against Alabama in Tuscaloosa is an obvious must win for A&M.

  1. Louisville Cardinals (8)

Louisville was off this weekend, but moved up due to Houston being eliminated from the Playoff by Navy. Duke shouldn’t provide the Cardinals too much of a challenge Friday night, but it certainly is a trap game. As for now, unless things change pretty drastically, the Louisville Cardinals are outsiders and need a lot to change to achieve a Playoff berth.

  1. Wisconsin Badgers

Literally so many teams lost this past weekend that Wisconsin, on a bye, immediately following a loss to Michigan, snuck its way back into the top 10 behind Louisville. I say snuck in, but there are two more teams below the Badgers, emphasizing how weird this past weekend was. Wisconsin probably will follow last week’s pattern and be the next No. 8 team to fall out of the top 10, as the Badgers have to beat Ohio State to stay in any type of Playoff contention. Frankly, what the Badgers truly need, more than anything else right now, is some offense. Without it, they may get trampled on Saturday.

  1. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Nebraska, without any impressive wins, is a top 10 team. The Cornhuskers beat Oregon by three points. Yes, the same Oregon squad that Washington beat by 49 points. That really emphasizes the difference in abilities of the teams at the top of this list opposed to the teams at the bottom. Nebraska really needs to ramp up its play to have any chance against teams like Ohio State. Any hope that Nebraska has at a Playoff berth will surely be squashed on the Cornhuskers’ trip to Columbus, Ohio to take on the Buckeyes the first weekend of November, if not before.

  1. Baylor Bears

Baylor, just like Nebraska, has had no “impressive” victories this season. Despite that fact, the Bears are the current favorite to win the Big 12. However, the coaching staff’s current behavior could widen the gap between the administration and the team, potentially causing some locker room incidents. If it manages to win the conference with 1 loss or less, Baylor could be a factor in the Playoff race.

Dropouts and Honorable Mentions

Houston, following its loss to Navy, has officially been eliminated from the Playoff. Unless something drastic happens, the Cougars’ place on the list (or even the honorable mentions) will not exist. Tennessee and Miami both dropped from the top 10 following losses, but both are still worthy of honorable mentions this week. The final honorable mention this week goes to the undefeated Boise St. Broncos.

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College Football Playoff Rankings: Week 5

Welcome back to the 5th hebdomadal publication of the Campus Pressbox 2016 Playoff Rankings. As always, the previous rankings can be found here.

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide (1)

Week five brought what may have been the least impressive victory thus far for the Crimson Tide. Alabama only managed to beat Kentucky by 28 points…so yeah, that’s its worst win this season. ‘Bama still remains the top team in the country, but with three top 20 teams on the docket (plus LSU) before the end of the month, Paul Finebaum’s analysis may be spot on.

  1. Ohio State Buckeyes (2)

Honestly, I wish I could have titled Ohio State’s No. 2 Ranking as No. 1B, as the Buckeyes are not quite at the level of the Crimson Tide, Ohio State’s season up until now has been worthy of more than the No. 2 spot that the Buckeyes continue to hold. This weekend, the Buckeyes host Indiana, who continues to improve, culminating with a home upset of Michigan State last week. Ohio State cannot afford to be caught off-guard, as the Hoosiers will certainly be looking for the upset.

  1. Clemson Tigers (4)

This was the college football world’s reaction to Clemson’s victory over Louisville Saturday night. Though it wasn’t a flawless victory, it was the one the Tigers needed. The team that so many of us had picked to do well finally came back to full form. Clemson may finally be the team we all expected it to be, and I am predicting Clemson to come out and drub Boston College this weekend. The path is now clear for the Tigers to waltz into the College Football Playoffs.

  1. Washington Huskies (10)

The King is dead, long live the King! Washington dethroned Stanford (and especially Christian McCaffrey) on Saturday. The Huskies proved how dominant its defense is when it shut down the single most impressive player in the NCAA. If Washington keeps up its winning ways, and doesn’t lose more than a single game, it would be hard for anyone else to nab the 4th spot in the CFP. That is, of course, if the Huskies can survive staring at these for three hours on Saturday

  1. Michigan Wolverines (6)

And somehow, despite a win over a top 10 Wisconsin Badgers team, Michigan is still on the outside looking in at the rest of the Playoff teams. Most of this has to do with the fact that the Wolverines have been playing second fiddle all season in the Big Ten, as Ohio State has refused to give up the reigns. It’s very safe to say, unless chaos ensues, since Wisconsin, Michigan State and Iowa have all been seemingly eliminated from contention, that the Wolverines and Buckeyes clash the last week of the season will determine which Big Ten school makes it to the Playoff. Terrell, you can handle this one.

  1. Houston Cougars (5)

Ahh, the poor Houston Cougars. The now forgotten child of the Playoff race. After gaining everyone’s attention in week one, monster win after monster win hasn’t been enough to stop everyone from ignoring the sixth-ranked Cougars once again. If Houston wants to side step its way into the Playoff, a lot needs to happen. The Cougars also cannot afford to be fighting one another. For now, Houston continues to be a long shot.

  1. Texas A&M Aggies (8)

The Aggies suffered slightly from “September Sumlin” on the first day of October, as A&M struggled a bit more than it should have against South Carolina. In a crowded SEC West, it is still hard to see anyone other than Alabama winning.  The Aggies also need to do its best to fight off the injury bug that has started to plague the team. However, a strong win against Tennessee this week would certainly improve the morale going into the make or break game for the Aggies, a visit to Tuscaloosa.

  1. Louisville Cardinals (3)

I’m going to be honest. I’m still sitting here yelling at my screen anytime I try to re-watch the final play (courtesy of SB Nation) of the Cardinals loss at Clemson. I don’t necessarily blame James Quick, but come on, really? JUST TAKE ANOTHER STEP, FOR GOODNESS SAKE. …sorry about that. Anyway, Louisville still honestly has a chance at the Playoffs. Just like a lot of teams on this list, the Cardinals do need a good number of breaks, but if Louisville can win in Houston week 11, there may still be a chance for (still) Heisman frontrunner Lamar Jackson and his Cardinals.

  1. Tennessee Volunteers

So the Volunteers are officially this years version of the 2013 Auburn Tigers, right? If that’s true, and the wacky ending to the Georgia game seems to suggest that’s the case, the Volunteers may have an actual chance of getting out of the Alabama game in two weeks without a loss. Though that certainly would seem a miracle, after the Georgia game, I feel that I’ve lost my right to doubt the Vols.

  1. Miami Hurricanes

The U is back!…pending the next three weeks of football. Many, including myself, certainly want to believe that the Mark Richt lead Hurricanes are finally back to full force, but until its matchups against Florida State, North Carolina and Virginia Tech, it is not a sure thing for the ‘Canes. This next stretch is certainly the most important of Mark Richt’s young tenure at the U. Right now, Miami is a growing tropical disturbance, time will tell if this one will become a hurricane.

Drop Outs & Honorable Mentions

Wisconsin and Stanford unsurprisingly and unceremoniously dropped off this weeks list following losses to Michigan and Washington respectively. Miami fought off the aforementioned Badgers, as well as Nebraska and Baylor, in order to grab the No. 10 spot this week. All four teams, including the Hurricanes, are volatile, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a new team in at No. 10 next week.

E-mail Cooper at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @uf_goetz.
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College Football Playoff Rankings: Week 4

Welcome back to the fourth week of Campus Pressbox’s College Football Playoff rankings. Check out the previous rankings here.

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide (1)

In a result that surprised no one, the Crimson Tide blew out Kent State by the tune of 48-0. There isn’t a whole lot to discuss regarding this win, to be honest, as Alabama did exactly what it was supposed to do against one of the worst teams in College Football right now. Other than a handful of injuries, this game was nothing to write home about. Frankly, last week was pretty much a bye week and with Kentucky this week, Alabama should be safe. Any fluctuations with the play out of Nick Saban’s squad would be a shock. Alabama remains a lock for the College Football Playoff, though Tennessee and Texas A&M continue to gain ground in the SEC.

  1. The Ohio State Buckeyes (2)

The Buckeyes were off last week after winning big against the Oklahoma Sooners two weeks ago. The Buckeyes only have to beat out Rutgers this weekend, a game between the best and worst team (that just lost key players to injury) in the Big Ten. Just like Alabama, seeing anything other than a blowout would be troubling and could hurt the Buckeyes’ CFP hopes. However, it looks like Ohio State is really taking its time with its game prep this week. As things stand now, the Buckeyes are a lock for the Playoff.

  1. Louisville Cardinals (3)

Louisville (unsurprisingly) continued to impress the college football world with a 31-point win over Marshall. Though Lamar Jackson never seems content with his own performances, everyone else is, and Jackson continues to be the Heisman front-runner by a very wide margin. Louisville travels to Clemson this weekend in what is probably the game of the weekend. This is another tough test, but if their demolition of Florida State showed us one thing, it’s that we should never underestimate the Cardinals. If the Cardinals manage a win this weekend, expect changes to the top of next week’s standings.

  1. Clemson Tigers (5)

Clemson is finally starting to look more and more like the team we expected to see at the beginning of the season and, as stated above, that has come just in time. Clemson opens as a slim favorite over the Cardinals, but I think most of the college football world will see Clemson as the underdog for this game. Clemson must win this game in order to fully dispel any and all memories of the Tigers’ struggles in the early season.

  1. Houston Cougars (4)

After becoming a household name following their win over Oklahoma in Week 1, the Cougars have begun to slip, slowly, back into a bit of obscurity. So many Power 5 teams have proved themselves thus far that Houston’s big wins over bad teams are starting to mean less and less. Houston really cannot afford to lose any games this season. With their weak schedule, compared to some Power 5 schools, doing so will most certainly eliminate the Cougars from playoff contention. The biggest concern for Houston right now is LSU’s open head coaching job.

  1. Michigan Wolverines (6)

Well, would you look at that, the Michigan Wolverines finally have a challenging game coming up this weekend. Michigan really hasn’t been tested at all this season, a large part of that due to the fact that it hasn’t left Ann Arbor so far. However, the Wolverines have to beat Wisconsin, which has to be one of the most “proven” teams in college football right now. We will finally be able to see how legit the Wolverines are this weekend and be able to really figure out their playoff odds.

  1. Stanford Cardinal (7)

Stanford continues to sit pretty at No. 7, as the Cardinal has more or less just sat back with a bag of popcorn and watched Christian McCaffrey continue to prove that he is a cut above everyone else in college football, even if his spotlight is getting stolen. If Lamar Jackson were not putting up out-of-this-world numbers right now, there is no doubt that McCaffrey would be leading the Heisman charge. Stanford has a big chance to gain national attention with its visit to Washington this week. While this game is bigger for the Huskies than for Stanford, the Cardinal’s Playoff argument would unquestionably be bolstered with a big win on Saturday.

  1. Texas A&M Aggies (9)

Following an explosive fourth quarter, the Aggies’ win over Arkansas went from decent win to a huge win for A&M. A&M has officially racked up a number of impressive wins versus competitive opponents. Still, Kevin Sumlin needs his team to keep up its pace if it is to have any chance of prying the SEC West away from the grip of Alabama. The next several weeks of difficult matchups will truly show whether or not the Aggies are Playoff contenders.

  1. Wisconsin Badgers (10)

Wisconsin’s string of impressive wins continued on Saturday with a devastation of the Michigan State Spartans. The Badgers have proved themselves a legit contender for the Big Ten championship. Wisconsin’s matchup against Michigan in Ann Arbor this weekend will truly prove whether or not it deserves to be the Big Ten favorite to make the Playoff. The Badgers, much like the Aggies, cannot afford any type of regression now, especially considering the Badgers upcoming schedule.

  1. Washington Huskies (8)

The Huskies, sitting at the bottom of this week’s list, remain the biggest enigma competing for a spot in the Playoff. None of Washington’s victories thus far have proven whether or not it should be seriously considered. However, Washington hosts Stanford this weekend. As big as this game is for the Cardinal, it is exponentially more important for the Huskies. A victory this week would cement Washington as a household name and help begin to build the Huskies’ Playoff resume.

Honorable Mentions

Though none were close to beating out any of the teams that made the list, Tennessee, Baylor, and Miami are the next teams in line, all pretty much waiting for the three Top 10 face-off games to play out this weekend.

E-mail Cooper at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @uf_goetz.

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College Football Playoff Rankings: Week 3

Welcome back to Campus Pressbox’s weekly College Football Playoff rankings.

Note: any numbers in parenthesis are the team’s ranking from the previous week.

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide (1)
  2. The Ohio State Buckeyes (3)

The Buckeyes and Crimson Tide had similar, yet both immensely impressive weeks. Both beat a ranked opponent in its own house, and I would say both teams did so in style.

While the Buckeyes’ win, capped off by a so-so catch by Noah Brown, was much larger and flashier than ‘Bama’s, the Tide still showed their excellence and ability to perform in tough match-ups, as it trailed the Ole Miss Rebels by 21 points.  Alabama scored two touchdowns on the defensive side of the ball.  Those, combined with the 21-point comeback, keep it at No. 1 over the equally impressive Buckeyes. Jalen Hurts also continues to improve

Three weeks into the season, I can officially say that for the 2016 CFP race, Alabama and Ohio State are the front runners.

  1. Louisville Cardinals (9)

Unsurprisingly, the biggest mover in this week’s poll is the Louisville Cardinals. The team whom I openly doubted proved me and all the haters wrong by almost literally walking over the Florida State Seminoles. The Cardinals trounced FSU so bad that the Seminoles have completely dropped out of the top 10.

Lamar Jackson, who has been better than possibly anyone ever, is clearly the real deal, and the front-runner for this year’s Heisman Trophy. Louisville still has some ways to go, with games against the two teams ranked immediately below it.

If this weekend taught me anything, though, it’s that the Cardinals are legit, and cold spoil more playoff dreams in thier drive towards the 2016 playoff.

  1. Houston Cougars (4)

Houston stays sitting at No. 4 this week. The Cougars’ win over Cincinnati was impressive, but Houston’s chances of making the playoff have dropped dramatically with the emergence of Louisville.

Houston plays Louisville on November 17, and cannot lose that match-up if the Cougars want any chance at a Group of 5 playoff berth. While UL could, with a potential win over Clemson, lose to Houston and still make its way into the playoff, Houston does not have the privilege of the Cardinals’ schedule.

Houston should spend the next seven weeks of the season preparing solely for this match-up (the Cougars fans clearly have), as it will decide the fate of the Cougars.

  1. Clemson Tigers (6)
  2. Michigan Wolverines (5)

Clemson and Michigan both remain in the middle of the pack as of right now, both following good wins. Clemson forced South Carolina State to take part in a phenomena that’s more common than most think, while the Wolverines invited an obscure alumni to be its honorary captain.

However, both Clemson and Michigan are clear second fiddles, in regards to their conferences, to Louisville and Ohio State, respectively. In order for either team to make it to the playoff, they require a win over said conference opponent.

Whilst Clemson gets to take on Louisville in just a few weeks’ time (at home), the Wolverines must wait until the last day of the regular season and travel to the Horseshoe to try and upset the Buckeyes’ hopes. Without a win in those games, both Clemson’s and Michigan’s playoff chances are little to none.

  1. Stanford Cardinal (8)
  2. Washington Huskies (10)

Stanford, and to a lesser extent Washington, is the most under-the-radar team thus far in terms of playoff rankings. Both have clearly impressed in the season so far. However, both play in the Pac-12 North, meaning that there is no way both can manage to make it to the College Football Playoff.

That being said, the match-up between these two teams, which occurs at the end of the month, will directly determine which, if any, Pac-12 team has the chance to qualify for the College Football Playoff. Washington’s lackluster out of conference games thus far sure doesn’t help them make a case.

If I had to bet, I would put money on Christian McCaffrey and the Cardinal to beat out Washington in the North and have a chance to be playoff qualifiers.

  1. Texas A&M Aggies

Another surprise this year has been the play of the Aggies. A&M, following the win over Auburn, already has two quality wins this year. That, as well as the Aggies’ domination against its FCS opponent, allowed the boys from College Station to make it on to the tail end of this list.

Big games await the Aggies, as three of their next four match-ups are against currently ranked teams, culminating with a game down in Tuscaloosa on October 22. Texas A&M still has a long way to go to warrant a consideration for the playoff, but the first three weeks of the season have helped the Aggies to prove they belong in the top-tier of college football.

  1. Michigan State Spartans AND Wisconsin Badgers (7)

Before anyone asks, yes, this is 100 percent cheating on my part. However, I have very good reason to include two teams at the final spot on this week’s list. Both the Spartans and the Badgers have convincing wins over ranked opponents, but they both also struggled vs. FCS opponents. There is honestly no way to separate the two so far this season, so that is why they are sharing this spot.

Both are long-shots at the playoff, as the Buckeyes and the Wolverines lead the Big Ten charge. However, if either MSU or UW get its act together, there is a chance that team could spoil someone’s dreams and sneak into the playoff. These teams both have very interesting match-up this week.

Drop Outs & Honorable Mentions

Florida State, following what has to be one of the worst losses for a top five team in college football history, drops out of the top ten, and most likely out of the CFP race.

Georgia is the only other team that was considered for this week’s rankings, but was ultimately left off.

 

E-mail Cooper at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @uf_goetz.
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College Football Playoff Rankings: Week 2

This is the week 2 edition of Campus Pressbox’s College Football Playoff Rankings. To check out last week’s inaugural rankings, click here. Bracketed numbers represent last week’s rank for that specific team.

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide (1)

‘Bama unsurprisingly tops this list for the second consecutive week. There was no way that the Crimson Tide was going to lose its grip on the top spot unless it faltered heavily against Western Kentucky. Alabama didn’t  struggle whatsoever against the Hilltoppers (despite Lane Kiffin’s scolding), so the Tide were an easy pick at #1. Ole Miss, a team who has upset the Crimson Tide multiple times in the past awaits on Saturday. But until then, there is no doubt that Alabama is both the best team in college football and an easy pick to make the college football playoff at this point in the season.

  1. Florida State Seminoles (2)

FSU had the easiest matchup of week 2, as the Seminoles faced off against an FCS team who suspended 14 of its players for the matchup over a pretty ridiculous infraction. The ‘Noles unsurprisingly dominated, and maintain its spot as the two seed in the college football playoff. FSU has a big challenge this week, as it travels to Papa John’s Cardinals Stadium to face 9th ranked Louisville.

  1. The Ohio State Buckeyes (4)

Ohio State will finally be challenged in week 3, as the Buckeyes have to travel to Norman, Oklahoma to beat a very talented Sooners squad who are hungry to bounce back after losing to UH. This game will be one of the best of the week. J.T. Barrett has been phenomenal for the Buckeyes thus far, and even though we won’t see the true might of Ohio State until Saturday, the Buckeyes definitely deserve its spot in the CFP right now.

  1. Houston Cougars (6)

The Cougars followed up its gargantuan win vs Oklahoma with a dismantling of Lamar. This box score should be what many of its box scores look like the rest of the season. Houston looks like it has a very real chance of going undefeated, and if it does, the Cougars will absolutely be one of the four teams competing for the College Football Championship. The big games remaining for the Cougars are not until later in the season.

  1. Michigan Wolverines (5)

Everything which I wrote about Ohio State goes almost identically for the Michigan Wolverines. The Wolverines first challenge really is this weekend, as it has to beat a Colorado team that has proven itself to be legitimate so far this season. Michigan, in my eyes, is the team on this list (not counting the teams who are facing ranked opponents) whose the most likely to be upset in week 3. The Wolverines have an absolute gauntlet to run through the rest of the season, so its spot on this list means nothing until Michigan begins to rack up wins proving it can fight off a Big Ten that is starting to look like the best conference in College Football this year.

  1. Clemson Tigers (3)

Oh, how the mighty have fallen faltered. Incredibly, despite the fact that it hasn’t even lost a game, Clemson has fallen four spots in the last two weeks, purely due to the fact that it hasn’t shown up to play in either game. Watching what should be a powerhouse Clemson offense struggle has been painful. Considering the results from the last two weeks, it is 100% essential now that the Tigers beat the Seminoles in Tallahassee in a few weeks’ time if Clemson is to have any chance of finishing the season in the top 4. At this point, Clemson’s odds to make the CFP are shrinking rapidly, and the Tigers will have to do a lot on Saturday to prevent more teams from jumping over the biggest disappointment of 2016.

  1. Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin’s move into the top 10 this week has more to do with week 1 than week 2. Though the Badgers 44-point win over the Akron Zips was impressive, the hype around this football team is purely a result of its win over LSU. Wisconsin isn’t close to being in the CFP yet, as the Badgers literally play the four other elite Big Ten teams all in a row in October (and then play Nebraska the next week to boot). If somehow, Wisconsin manages to beat Michigan St, Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa all in a row, then the Badgers would be guaranteed a spot in this year’s College Football Playoff.

  1. Stanford Cardinal (7)

Stanford dropped a spot in the rankings this week almost entirely due to the growing momentum around the Wisconsin Badgers. But that’s not to take anything away from Stanford. The Cardinal is still an incredibly elite squad. A weakened Pac-12 seems to give Stanford at least an outside shot at making the College Football Playoff if it keeps up last year’s level of play throughout the season. And an ever-explosive Christian McCaffrey means that Stanford could absolutely keep up its momentum. McCaffrey remains possibly the only player in college football who could singlehandedly bring his team to the CFP.

  1. Louisville Cardinals

Louisville is the biggest jumper in this week’s rankings. Last week, Louisville wasn’t even in the honorable mentions, and I had the Cardinals ranked around 16. However, a Heisman performance from Lamar Jackson over Syracuse, a team that was competitive in a lot of big games last year, allowed UL to leap frog right onto this list. Louisville has a tough road ahead, with what looks like its biggest game of the season this weekend as the Cardinals host FSU. I don’t think “the ‘Ville”  will be able to come out of this game with a win, but it goes without saying that, this game, in terms of Louisville’s CFP hopes, is an absolute must win.

  1. Washington Huskies

Capping off this week’s list is the Washington Huskies, who have had two easy wins in the season thus far, over Rutgers and then Idaho. The Huskies offense shined, putting up at least 48 points in each. Washington will have another assured win this weekend against Portland St., but then the schedule heats up. I would be very surprised if the Huskies manage to knock off Stanford on September 30th, but if that does happen, Washington would become the Pac-12 only real hope at making it into the College Football Playoff.

Drop Outs and Honorable Mentions

TCU lost its eighth ranking due to its loss to Arkansas Saturday night. Tennessee, despite an impressive win, still sounded some alarms due to a slow start to the game against VT. There are still far too many questions to validate Tennessee remaining a top 10 contender for the College Football Playoff. Michigan State, due to inactivity, dropped in favor of teams that had much better performances than the Spartans uninspired win over Furman in week 1. Teams that just missed this week’s list also include Iowa, Texas, and Oklahoma.

E-mail Cooper at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @uf_goetz.
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College Football Playoff Rankings: Week 1

After an amazing opening weekend of college football, it is really interesting to see how the current top contenders stand in terms of the College Football Playoff. Below, I have ranked my current top 10 teams, which is loosely based off the preseason AP poll (this weeks AP poll is nuts, check it out). This is a feature that I will release every week this season on Tuesday, so be sure to be on the lookout for next week’s rankings.

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide

The Crimson Tide had probably the most impressive start among the week 1 top ten teams. It’s deconstruction of the ranked USC squad (to the degree where ‘Bama straight up added another former USC head coach to its staff) tells the whole story. Going into this season, Alabama’s one major question was the quarterback position. To say that the question was answered Saturday night would be an understatement. Jalen Hurts, and to a lesser degree Blake Barnett, removed Bama’s only weakness, and now, especially with the struggles of Tennessee and LSU, the Crimson Tide seem poised to take the West, win the SEC Championship, and make it to the College Football Playoff.

  1. Florida State Seminoles

Florida State’s matchup with Ole Miss on Monday was, as we have become used to with Jimbo Fisher football (who is now 6-1 since 2013 when trailing by 7 or more at the half), a tale of two halves. As long as Francois keeps up his play and the Seminoles find a way to play multiples halves of football in a single game, the Seminoles will be an obvious CFP contenders, pending a huge throw down with Clemson at home, which could very well decide which ACC school makes it to the Playoff.

  1. Clemson Tigers

Speaking of the Tigers, the team that I picked to win the College Football title this year struggled more with a mediocre Auburn squad than most of us thought it would. For that reason, it is much less of a sure thing in my mind that the Tigers beat FSU in Tallahassee. However, this is only week one, and with Heisman hopeful Deshaun Watson at the helm, Clemson should still be expected to be a top tier team with obvious CFP hopes.

  1. Ohio State Buckeyes

Speaking of Heisman, my pick for the award this year, Mr. J.T. Barrett, had himself a day. He had seven total touchdowns, with six through the air. We won’t get to see what the Buckeyes really look like until it squares off against Oklahoma, but when your QB has seven scores, it tends to be a good sign. The Buckeyes have a lot on its plate the rest of the year, but if Ohio State play like it did on Saturday, it is definitely a CFP frontrunner.

  1. Michigan Wolverines

The Big Ten pretty much let its top teams hammer some cupcake squads in week one, and that was very apparent in Michigan’s matchup against the Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii. Much like Ohio State, Michigan just swept the floor with its opponent. An impressive win, yes, but much like the Buckeyes, we won’t see the Wolverines’ true abilities until it faces off against a squad more its speed. However, its now 100 percent true that the Wolverines are officially back.

  1. Houston Cougars

The shocker of the weekend for most (for some odd reason, considering how good the Cougars were last year) was Houston’s win over the Oklahoma Sooners. This, in my rankings, rocket propelled UH up nine spots, as not only did Houston win, it beat Oklahoma into the ground. All of a sudden, Houston looks like a possible Group of Five CFP team, as the rest of its schedule is fairly mild. As long as the Cougars can hold off Louisville, and avoid other major upsets, Houston could very well end the season undefeated and crash the party of Power Five teams in the CFP.

  1. Stanford Cardinal

In a victory that was fairly mild, the Stanford Cardinal beat K-State by 13. The rest of the season is fairly simple, as the Pac-12 isn’t what it was a few years ago. Two of Stanford’s toughest opponents, UCLA and Notre Dame, both dropped their Week 1 matchups. The toughest game left for Christian McCaffrey (a clear Heisman candidate) and the Cardinal is the matchup at Washington. The game, which will most likely decide the fate of the Pac-12 North, will be Stanford’s make or break matchup in terms of College Football Playoff hopes.

  1. TCU Horned Frogs

TCU, much like many other teams on this list, played a team well below its own caliber in Week 1. The Horned Frogs, however, struggled heavily, especially on the defensive side, against South Dakota State. Giving up 41 points to a non-FBS school is never a great motivator, and while TCU’s College Football Playoff hopes may be small, the Horned Frogs certainly have a great chance to win the Big 12 with what seems like an Oklahoma team that could struggle throughout the year. TCU will need to watch out for Baylor and Texas as well, but for now, Texas Christian seems like the Big 12 frontrunner.

  1. Tennessee Volunteers

The Volunteers almost blew its opening matchup to Appalachian State. The team looked horrendous for a large part of the game, with particular struggles coming from the Tennessee O-Line. Josh Dobbs struggled mightily as well, and Tennessee needs him to play better if it is to have any hopes of beating Florida, Georgia, Texas A&M and Alabama in four consecutive weeks. To me, at this point, unless Mighty Mouse becomes as good on the field as he is at blocking twitter accounts, it seems like Tennessee making the College Football Playoff is a long shot.

  1. Michigan State Spartans

The third Big Ten team on this list also had a cupcake matchup in Week 1. However, unlike the Wolverines and Buckeyes, MSU struggled with Furman, a FCS squad. Honestly, the only reason the Spartans make this list after it’s week one struggle is due to all the teams in front of it that lost. MSU has a lot of work to do if it wants to prove that it deserves to make the CFP. Heck, with a crowded Big Ten East division, the Spartans have a lot of work to do to make it to the conference championship.

Honorable Mentions: Washington, Georgia, Iowa, and Wisconsin

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Image Courtesy of the University of Alabama