With the first incarnation of the CFP rankings released on Tuesday, not much of a surprise in terms of order for the rankings what did the committee get right? Get wrong? Who is in the best position to be in the top four at the end of the season? Let's dive in.
In the final year of the four-team playoffs, Ohio State Georgia, Michigan, and Florida State made the top-four. Washington, Oregon, Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Ole Miss round out the top 10 of the rankings. With the top five being undefeated, there is a case to have them in any order, and fan bases from the particular schools (and rivals) have their own opinions. When looking at the rankings, wins, quality of wins (results vs top 25 rankings), and strength of schedule are all looked at.
Ohio State Buckeyes - With signature wins on the road against Notre Dame (17-14) when the Irish were ranked in the top 10, and a solid win against Penn State (20-12) when the Nittany Lions were also in the top 10 on their resume they have the better resume to date.
Remaining games - The Buckeyes remaining games will be the team's toughest stretch. This weekend (Nov. 4), they travel to a 6-2 Rutgers team that is averaging 28 points a game and surrendering 15. They also have a Nov. 18th showdown and potential Big Ten Championship preview against Minnesota (currently tied in the Big Ten West division). The game versus the Gophers is the week before the clash against Michigan as well.
Georgia Bulldogs - The two-time defending champions find themselves in an unusual position in the first playoff rankings as they are second behind Ohio State. With a convincing win over then-20th-ranked Kentucky (51-13), their most impressive win might be their win over the Gators (43-20) in their annual neutral site matchup.
Remaining games - Similar to the Buckeyes, the Bulldogs have their toughest stretch ahead of them. Starting on the fourth of November, the Bulldogs have games against 12th-ranked Missouri (second in SEC East behind Georgia), 10th-ranked Ole Miss, and a trip to 17th-ranked Tennessee on the 18th of November. The trip to Knoxville should provide a test for the Bulldogs ahead of the SEC title game.
Michigan Wolverines - While the Wolverines have played the weakest schedule to this point of the season, they have beaten the bad teams and not allowed more that 10 points in a single contest (only allowing 47 points the entire season). There biggest win coming against fellow Big Ten member Minnesota (52-10). With tough games to close out the season at Penn State and hosting Ohio State for a shot at the Big Ten Championship.
Remaining games - Their first test against a ranked opponent is November 11 on the road against Penn State followed by a trip to Maryland before their season showdown against Ohio State. While the test against the Nittany Lions will provide a ranked opponent for a signature win it will also provide a common opponent with Ohio State. The game against a Maryland team currently third in the conference in total offense could provide a late-season speed bump ahead of the showdown with Ohio State.
Florida State - Similar to Ohio State, the Seminoles have signature wins against LSU (45-24) at a neutral site to open the season as well as a Duke team that was ranked 16th (38-20). They also have a quality win on the road against Clemson 31-24. They say to be the best you have to beat the best and the Seminoles have done that for the ACC and look to do so with a berth in the College Football Playoffs.
Remaining games - With their biggest games (as of this writing) against their arch-rivals Miami Hurricanes who sit at 6-2 (November 11) and a road trip to Gainesville to battle the Gators who sit at 5-3 (November 25). Both teams pose the biggest test remaining ahead of a possible ACC Championship, possibly against Louisville (4-1 in conference).
As far as team(s) in the best position to make the final four, Florida State and Georgia seem like they have the best shots to make the playoffs. They both have tough challenges to close out the season, however, both should make it through. Ohio State and Michigan have potential trap games ahead of their head-to-head showdown at the end of the season. With one of them losing, Washington, Oregon, Texas, and Alabama could see themselves entering into the conversation.