Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson, Ohio State top CFP rankings
Alabama was ranked atop the initial College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday, followed by Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State.
The ratings were dominated by the Southeastern Conference, which placed four teams in the top 10.
Alabama (7-0), Notre Dame (8-0) and Ohio State (4-0) are all undefeated. Clemson’s lone loss came in double overtime at Notre Dame in a game in which the Tigers (7-1) didn’t have Heisman hopeful quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who was held out due to COVID-19.
Texas A&M (5-1) is fifth, a spot ahead of Florida (6-1), which lost to the Aggies. Georgia (5-2) is the highest two-loss team, coming in at No. 9 despite double-digit losses to Alabama and Florida.
BYU, which is 9-0 as an independent, debuted at No. 14, though the Cougars are No. 8 in both the AP and coaches polls this week. BYU was set to play six teams from Power 5 schools this season, but dates against Utah, Michigan State, Arizona State, Minnesota, Missouri and Stanford were cancelled because the Pac-12, Big Ten and SEC went to league-only schedules due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
BYU changed its schedule and has won all but one of its games by 17 points or more and has outscored opponents 428-125 this season.
CFP selection committee chair Gary Barta, Iowa’s athletic director, said on ESPN that when the group reviewed BYU, the Cougars’ weak strength of schedule “came into play.”
The CFP selection committee is slated to release its rankings Dec. 1, Dec. 8 and Dec. 15 before announcing the final selections Dec. 20. Conference championship games and other matchups are set for Dec. 18 and Dec. 19. The CFP semifinals will be held in the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, with the winners advancing to play in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Jan. 11.
Cincinnati (8-0) came in at No. 7. The American Athletic Conference-leading Bearcats have their biggest regular-season remaining test on Dec. 12, when they travel to play Tulsa (5-1), which debuted at No. 25.
Two undefeated Group of 5 teams — No. 20 Coastal Carolina (8-0) and No. 21 Marshall (7-0)– are ranked behind BYU.
BYU is behind three two-loss teams: Georgia, No. 11 Oklahoma (6-2) and No. 13 Iowa State (6-2).
Ohio State is the Big Ten’s highest-ranked team, followed by No. 8 Northwestern (5-0), which is on course to oppose the Buckeyes in the Big Ten championship game. The Big Ten and SEC each have five teams in the rankings, as No. 12 Indiana (4-1, lost to Ohio State), No. 16 Wisconsin (2-1) and No. 24 Iowa (3-2) also made it. The SEC’s Auburn (5-2) is No. 22.
Miami (7-1), which was blown out by Clemson 42-17, is ranked No. 10. North Carolina (6-2) is No. 19 heading into its huge game against visiting Notre Dame on Friday, giving the ACC three ranked teams.
The Big 12 has four teams in the CFP rankings — Oklahoma, Iowa State, No. 17 Texas (5-2) and No. 23 Oklahoma State (5-2).
The Pac-12, the last FBS conference to open the season, is represented by No. 15 Oregon (3-0) and No. 18 USC (3-0).
–Field Level Media