Week 10 of the College Football Playoff rankings was a successful one for the committee, which nailed its Top 5. Georgia, Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson and Oklahoma appear to be locked into those spots heading into the second week, but there should be a world of change from Nos. 6 to 10.
For the uninitiated: This is the only poll that “matters” from here on out. What the committee says, goes. And unlike the AP and coaches polls, these aren’t strictly power rankings; season-long résumés are a primary factor.
For instance, the AP and coaches both moved unranked West Virginia in front of Iowa State after the Mountaineers upset the Cyclones this past weekend (both teams are now 6-3). But the committee is unlikely to do the same, given that Iowa State has wins over two Top 10 teams — Oklahoma and TCU — while West Virginia’s best wins before this past weekend were vs. Texas Tech and Baylor.
Here’s a closer look at what to expect in Week 11:
25. LSU (-6)
The Tigers avoided a blowout in Tuscaloosa, which is more than most teams can say. But LSU is out of the SEC West race — effectively, not technically — for the sixth consecutive season, and there’s not much indication that 2018 will be the breakthrough year for Ed Orgeron’s program.
In terms of the College Football Playoff rankings, fans should expect the Tigers to stick around near the back of the pack. Both they and the N.C. State Wolfpack lost close games to Top 5 teams on Saturday. Without LSU’s presence, Alabama doesn’t have a single win against a current Top 25 team.
24. West Virginia (NR)
23. Iowa (NR)
22. Michigan (NR)
21. Virginia Tech (-8)
20. Iowa State (-5)
19. Memphis (+4)
18. Washington State (+7)
17. Oklahoma State (-6)
16. UCF (+1)
15. Mississippi State (+1)
Nick Fitzgerald and the Bulldogs offense are back in full effect, but history is very much against them. Mississippi State has not defeated Alabama since 2007, aka Year 1 of the Nick Saban Era, and ‘Bama has defeated MSU by 25 and 48, respectively, the past two years. Few people expect a tight game in Starkville this Saturday.
14. USC (+3)
13. Penn State (-6)
12. Michigan State (+12)
11. Ohio State (-5)
10. Auburn (+4)
Gus Malzahn and the Tigers have not defeated a Top-10 team in their past seven tries, and they’re 2-point underdogs at home to No. 1 Georgia this weekend. But if they can find a way to beat the Bulldogs, beat Alabama in late November and then beat Georgia in a December rematch, there is no question Auburn will be in the College Football Playoff.
Easier said than done.
9. Washington (+3)
8. Wisconsin (+1)
7. Miami (+3)
6. TCU (+2)
There’s a new Heisman Trophy favorite, and he just passed for 598 yards and accounted for 6 touchdowns in a major rivalry win for Oklahoma. Baker Mayfield is lighting up the Big 12 at a ridiculous clip, keeping the Sooners in contention for their second playoff bid in three seasons.
The Tigers have three strong wins on their résumé — Auburn, Virginia Tech and N.C. State — and three more against ACC teams at or above .500. They’re a shoo-in for the playoff if they win out, which is a very realistic scenario; they finish with Florida State, The Citadel, South Carolina and (most likely) Miami in the conference title game.
3. Notre Dame
The only blemish on the Irish’s record is a 1-point loss to Georgia, and nobody is going to knock them for that. Notre Dame picked up another quality win Saturday (over Wake Forest), and has a season-defining matchup with Miami this Saturday in Coral Gables.
Nick Saban’s teams have been ranked in the Top 6 in every set of CFP rankings since the poll’s inception in 2014. It’s a testament not only to the program’s consistency, but to its strength in November. The Tide have never fallen in any of the CFP rankings, and it would take a major upset by Mississippi State this Saturday to reverse that trend.
No matter what happens over the final few weeks, the Bulldogs will get a shot at the SEC title on Dec. 2. But this team has its sights on a national title, and might need to beat both Auburn and Alabama to get there. Sorry, Miami and Notre Dame, but the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry is the best game in the country this Saturday.
What’s your prediction for the second College Football Playoff rankings of the season? Let us know in the comments section below.