Tuesday, the first edition of the College Football Playoff rankings will be put out from the committee. We will providing weekly rankings the morning before the release through the end of the season, with a synopsis on all the Top 10.
Our committee (of one) has spoken, here are our first TSR Playoff Rankings for after Week 9.
We don’t need to convince you they are the best team in the country. The defending National Champions are taking care of business, week in and week out. They’re boasting the most efficient defense in the country, and Lane Kiffin’s offense is running at a new level with dual-threat QB Jalen Hurts at the helm. Alabama is averaging 222 more yards than their opponents, and their defense is giving up an average up 70.8 yards on thre ground. Staggering. Some of the large point totals given up could be a problem down the line, as the remaining schedule gets tougher and tougher with LSU and Auburn playing well since their slow starts. But the Crimson Tide are the favorites, by far, to win the national title.
Michigan State poked some holes in the Michigan defense that definitely opened some eyes. LJ Scott ran for over 100 yards thanks to his offensive line overwhelming what was thought as the best front seven in college football this year. However, winning a rivalry game on the road in a building you haven’t won in since 2007 is hardly enough for us to knock on the Wolverines. They got the job done, and with the Nebraska loss became the last unbeaten team in the Big Ten. Their season will be determined November 26th against Ohio State, barring either of those teams dropping a game before then. Their Playoff hopes will be riding on that game and then, hopefully for Coach Jim Harbaugh, in Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship.
I feel like one of the few people who really like this Clemson team. Defensively, they match up great against almost every team. Because of their struggles on offense, the defense has had to step up each and every week to stay unbeaten. They’ve been up to the task, whether it was Lamar Jackson and the explosive Louisville Cardinals, or last weekend with Dalvin Cook, Clemson has been bent, but yet to break. The talent on offense is there. DeShaun Watson, Mike Williams and Wayne Gallman are all NFL talents. It will take a lot to keep his team out of the playoff. They have been close to one of those monumental upsets, but the Tigers keep finding a way to win.
The Huskies passed their toughest test yet in Utah last weekend. Jake Browning didn’t play up to his Heisman hopes, but they got the job done on the road against a ranked team. And with both Baylor and West Virginia losing, the Pac 12 is almost guarenteed a spot in the playoff, as long as Washington takes care of business the rest of the way. Big ups to teams that control their own destiny.
5. Texas A&M
This may be bold, but I give huge advantages to teams with good losses when it comes to one-loss teams. Losing to Alabama is the most forgivable loss out there. They don’t have a sure way into the playoff, and in fact probably have less of a chance then teams behind them. But these rankings aren’t based on playoff possibility. They have earned the right to be in the conversation with the nations elite.
The Cardinals have the 2nd best loss to this point, losing a tight game to Clemson. They have the best player in the country leading their offense in Lamar Jackson, they have a favorable remaining schedule, and the hype is as high as it’s been since Charlie Strong left. But they need help if they want a shot at the playoff, which includes rooting for teams they will have to compete with.
7. Ohio State
The Buckeyes goals are still right in front of them. If they beat an unbeaten Michigan and don’t drop another game, they’ll be in the Big Ten Championship and right in the thick of the Playoff discussion. But the Penn State loss looked less like a fluke with the struggles at home against Norhwestern. JT Barret needs to find his accuracy if the Buckeyes want to keep their playoff dreams alive. Hard to count out an Urban Meyer coached team, though.
The Badgers are the most respected two loss team in the country, and for good reason. They’ve beaten 3 AP top ten teams this year (granted LSU and Michigan State are no longer in that same conversation) and their only two losses have come to the two top Big Ten teams in close matchups. They have very little shot at the playoffs with two losses, but they are still a very impressive team. Paul Chryst has his team on the up and coming.
A loss in OT doesn’t kill the Cornhuskers dreams of Big Ten titles or even their playoff hopes. In fact, they still control their own destiny in the West Division. However, that plan is made much harder as the Cornhuskers visit the Shoe this Saturday, with both their season and Ohio State’s on the line.
The Big 12 was in serious trouble if they wanted to get a team in BEFORE Baylor and West Virginia both took L’s on Saturday. Now they’re almost certainly locked out, without an undefeated team and no conference championship game. Baylor still looks to be more impressive than West Virginia, which gives them the edge here.
The Rest of the Top 25
11. West Virginia
16. Western Michigan
18. Penn State
19. North Carolina
21. Florida State
22. Washington State
23. Boise State
24. Virginia Tech
25. Oklahoma State
Check back next Tuesday for updated Rankings