From this point forward in the college football season we’ll conduct a deep-dive into the rankings. In addition to the AP Top 25 we’ll look at the USA Today Coaches Poll and ESPN’s FPI. In under two weeks the CFP rankings will become the critical piece of the post-season puzzle.
So, let’s focus on the important parts of the conversation, the teams. We’ll start with the former #2 team in the nation, Ohio State. The Buckeyes tumbled like a rock down a cliff in the polls. With a spectacularly bad loss to unranked Purdue they may have forfeited any dream of being in the playoffs.
That loss along with a strong mid-season showing by Clemson elevated the Tigers into second with Notre Dame following at number three. If ESPN’s projections for wins/losses holds true neither team will forfeit their position as no losses are anticipated. Could they gain a spot? Why yes, yes they could.
What world would we live in without two SEC teams in the top 4? LSU moved up to #4 in the polls following a win over (then) #22 Mississippi State. Don’t get too used to that spot though as the Big Ten’s Michigan is one step behind at #5. We feel comfortable enough to project that Michigan will take over that spot. Why? Alabama visits LSU on November 3 and only one team walks away a winner.
Imagine for a moment the mayhem if LSU hands the Crimson Tide a loss. It would have to be a significant romp to toss Alabama from the top 4 and readjust the thinking of the CFP committee. Stranger things have happened in college football. For all you anti-SEC fans, don’t get too greedy.
College Football Rankings
|RANK (AP TOP 25)||TEAM||RANK (USA TODAY)||TEAM|
|#3||NOTRE DAME||#3||NOTRE DAME|
|#22||NC STATE||#22||NC STATE|
|#RV 31||VIRGINIA||#RV 33||VIRGINIA|
|#RV 38||BOSTON COLLEGE||#RV 39||DUKE|
|#RV 43||VIRGINIA TECH|
College Football Rankings – ESPN FPI
Let’s take a look at the top tier FPI teams as reflected in the two polls above –
- #1 Alabama FPI 30.4
- #2 Clemson FPI 26.9
- #3 Georgia FPI 23.8
- #4 Michigan FPI 22.9
This sets up an interesting scenario should the unexpected occur. Where are our other two teams?
- #9 Notre Dame FPI 18.1
- #10 LSU FPI 17.0
What this does is generate some craziness in the Twitterverse. The world of ‘what if’ is strong in this one.
Speaking of ‘what if’ let’s use the ESPN FPI to project ACC Nation teams that will qualify for bowls. To qualify you must have at least a 6 win, .500 season. Eight conference teams plus Notre Dame amounts to a healthy (and wealthy) season.
- Notre Dame
- NC State
- Virginia Tech
- Boston College
Where will all these teams go? Jason Kirk of SB Nation projects an interesting list of bowl matchups. It includes Clemson against Michigan, Notre Dame dueling with Alabama and NC State finally meets West Virginia.