College Football Playoff Rankings

Ryan Micklin

The second College Football Playoff (CFP) Rankings were released on Tuesday, Nov. 8 and the top four reads as follows: No.1 Alabama, No.2 Clemson, No.3 Michigan, No.4 Washington.

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (9-0): On Saturday, Nov. 5, Nick Saban and the top-ranked Tide once again proved to the nation why they have won 4 out of the last 7 national championships. Alabama waltzed into Death Valley with a true freshman quarterback and a dominant defense and completely shutdown Leonard Fournette and the LSU offense in a 10-0 victory over the #13 LSU Tigers. The Tide’s defense proved to be impenetrable; only giving up 125 total yards of offense and completely shutting down All-American running back Fournette for the second straight year. It was a hard fought, defensive battle, which is what we come to expect every year when these two SEC West rivals clash. On Nov. 26, the Tide will take on in-state rival #9 Auburn in the annual Iron Bowl. If Alabama makes it out of it’s regular season schedule unscathed, we should see them back in the CFP for the third consecutive year.

#2 Clemson Tigers (9-0): Clemson routed conference opponent (4-5) Syracuse 54-0 on Saturday and remain undefeated heading into their conference clash with the (5-4) Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday, Nov. 12. Clemson has made it past the roughest part of it’s schedule with wins over two teams who are currently ranked in the top ten (#9 Auburn and #6 Louisville). Clemson is led by it’s All-American quarterback Deshaun Watson who led his team to the National Championship a season ago. Despite Watson’s jaw dropping individual performance in the National Championship game, Alabama put up 24 points in the 4th quarter and went on to beat Clemson 45-40. Watson has recently elected to enter the NFL draft after this season and a potential rematch with Alabama in the Playoff will have him and the rest of the Clemson team locked in on avenging last season’s loss in the national championship game. Clemson’s remaining three games are very manageable and barring any major upset, I expect to see the Tigers back in the Playoff.

#3 Michigan Wolverines (9-0): Michigan continues to roll as they cruised to a 59-3 victory over (5-4) Maryland on Saturday, Nov. 5. The Wolverines, led by second year coach Jim Harbaugh, are 1st in scoring defense yielding only 10.7 points per game and currently rank 3rd in scoring offense scoring an average of 47.8 points per game. Michigan’s schedule is not the strongest by any means having only played one ranked team the entire season—a 14-7 victory over #7 Wisconsin. However, all eyes are on Michigan’s annual rivalry game with #5 Ohio State on Nov. 26 in a game with huge conference and playoff implications. All Michigan has to do is win out and take down whoever the West division throws at them in the BIG 10 Conference Championship and they’re in! Easier said than done…

#4 Washington Huskies (9-0): Say hello to the newest member of the top four! Washington snuck into the top four after getting snubbed last week as the CFP Committee put a one-loss #8 Texas A&M ahead of the undefeated Huskies. Fortunately, for the Huskies, Texas A&M was upset by Mississippi State over the weekend and Washington’s 66-27 trouncing of (4-5) Cal was enough to get them into the top four. Washington has been labeled as the surprise team of the year, coming off of a 7-6 season in 2015. In Chris Petersen’s third year at Washington, the team is undefeated heading into their final three games of the season. Washington’s road to the playoff is a tough one as they still have to play #20 USC this Saturday, Nov. 12 and #23 Washington State on Saturday, Nov. 26. Washington is a solid team but their body of work isn’t all that impressive. Petersen’s team really struggled against their only ranked opponent—a 31-24 victory over #17 Utah—so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Huskies potentially slip up against two very dangerous teams in USC and Washington State.