In the recently released College Football Playoff rankings, Ohio State claimed the coveted No. 1 spot, making them the team to beat. This ranking comes as no surprise, given the Buckeyes’ remarkable performance this season, including impressive victories over Notre Dame and Penn State. The selection committee’s chair, Boo Corrigan, emphasized Ohio State’s outstanding offense and their ability to make a difference on the field. The Buckeyes thoroughly deserved their top ranking, according to Corrigan.
With five undefeated Power 5 teams in contention, the committee faced the challenging task of differentiating between these formidable teams. The strength of schedule emerged as a key determining factor. As it stands, Ohio State has faced a much tougher lineup of opponents compared to their counterparts. Their victories over Penn State and Notre Dame, both highly ranked teams, bolstered their case for the No. 1 spot. In contrast, Georgia, despite its stellar performance, lacks top-ranked victories and boasts a much lower strength of schedule, according to ESPN metrics.
The forthcoming weeks pose significant challenges for both Ohio State and Georgia as they face some of the most formidable opponents in their schedules. Georgia has several crucial matchups against ranked teams, including Missouri, Ole Miss, and Tennessee. These matchups will undoubtedly impact Georgia’s strength of schedule, potentially changing their ranking in the coming weeks. Similarly, Michigan will face tough competition against Penn State and Ohio State, making the rivalry game against the Buckeyes a potential game-changer for the playoff. The outcome of these matchups will undoubtedly have crucial implications for the playoff race.
Florida State and Washington: Struggling or on the Rise?
Although Washington delivered an impressive victory against Oregon, they encountered some difficulties in their last two games against losing teams, requiring late comebacks to secure wins. Their upcoming clashes against USC, Utah, and Oregon State will play a significant role in determining their strength of schedule and their chances for a playoff spot. Washington coach Kalen DeBoer acknowledged the importance of these upcoming games and emphasized the need for his team to rise to the occasion. On the other hand, Florida State, despite having only one top-25 victory against LSU, does not seem to be significantly affected by the lack of ranked teams in the ACC. Their absence of matchups against ranked opponents in the regular season raises some concerns among the committee members about their strength of schedule.
The committee faces the daunting task of evaluating all these factors and making the right decisions. With three new members joining this year, the committee aims to get it right and ensure their comfort with the rankings. The inclusion of Washington in the initial rankings raised some concerns, highlighting the unpredictable nature of this early phase of the season. As the season progresses, there is still a lot of football to be played, and unexpected results can significantly impact the rankings.
Group of 5 Representation
In addition to the Power 5 teams, the rankings also shed light on the Group of 5 schools. Air Force, although undefeated with an impressive 8-0 record, finds itself ranked at No. 25. Surprisingly, Tulane, with one loss, is placed ahead of Air Force at No. 24. Despite their loss, Tulane’s performance and strength of schedule earned them a higher spot in the rankings. This demonstrates the committee’s acknowledgment of the efforts put forth by schools outside of the Power 5 conferences.
The College Football Playoff rankings provide intriguing insights into the state of the game and the teams vying for a playoff spot. Ohio State’s top ranking showcases their dominance this season, while the strength of schedule proves to be a vital factor in determining the rankings. The upcoming matchups for Georgia, Michigan, Washington, and Florida State hold significant implications for their chances to make it into the playoff. The committee faces the challenging task of making the right decisions, taking into account various factors and ensuring their comfort with the rankings. As the season progresses, the landscape may shift, making each game even more crucial for teams aspiring to secure a spot in the College Football Playoff.