It's baaaaaack. The College Football Playoff selection committee will release its first set of meaningless rankings Tuesday night (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) sure to make everyone mad. Like last season, we'll follow along the committee by releasing our own rankings ahead of time.
No. 1 The best team I’ve seen in person this year. Still have at Bama, Arkansas, at Ole Miss and vs Texas A&M to go, so long, long way from the finish line; but as long as Les and Cam Cameron don’t get too conservative on offense, and assuming the defensive front can stay healthy, this team could finish undefeated.
No. 2Haven’t played great at times; but have the firepower on both sides of the ball to win every game.
No. 3 When it all clicks, you are reminded they are the reigning champs. Problem is, it hasn’t all clicked at all times. With that said, they lose JT Barrett for their next game and still no one thinks they will lose. Loaded with talent.
No. 4 I went to ND vs Texas and Maliz Zaire was the best player on the field. Then, Zaire went down. DeShone Kizer has played very well in his place; but man I keep thinking about how special this season could have been for Notre Dame with Zaire at the helm. Notre Dame finishes with Pitt, Wake, BC and then at Stanford. Win all four and I see the Irish in the playoffs.
LAST TWO OUT: and
I’ve seen TCU play with my own two eyes. Boykin is fantastic; but their defense is what worries me. They are young and thin. If they win out then they deserve a spot; but I think its going to be hard for this defense to hang in there the rest of the way.
I really liked Baylor’s chances with Seth Russell at quarterback, and I sat in Art Briles office a few months back and listened to him tell me that Stidham was the best incoming freshman he had ever had; but the young man is still a true freshman. There will be pressure on top of pressure. If he holds up to that and they win out, they deserve a spot; but I don’t know that that will happen.
No. 1 The best mix of resume and production to this point. Their rain-soaked win over Notre Dame is one of the best of the season to this point, and they have three Power Five wins away from home in Louisville, Miami and N.C. State.
No. 2 I thought they finally looked like OHIO STATE during their 49-7 blowout of Rutgers a couple weeks back. And then J.T. Barrett got suspended. As long as Barrett's running point on the offense, this is the clear-cut team to beat in college football. When he's not? The Buckeyes are vulnerable.
No. 3 The win over Florida bumps the Tigers from fourth to third on my bracket. The Bayou Bengals have been great at home but mostly untested away from home - with just closer-than-expected wins over Mississippi State and Syracuse to date. Related: LSU visits both Alabama and Ole Miss, starting this Saturday.
No. 4 Did you know TCU's defense has pitched a shutout in seven of its last 10 quarters? Gary Patterson's bunch is seemingly getting better by the week, which is good because Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Baylor lay ahead, sandwiched around a gimme putt against Kansas.
LAST TWO OUT: and
Notre Dame's win at Temple is better than anything Alabama has done, and their two-point loss at Clemson compares much better to the Tide's home loss to Ole Miss.
As for Baylor, I know this is unfair to the Bears, but I can't un-learn that Seth Russell is done for the year. I'll be watching their game at Kansas State Thursday very closely.
No. 1 Like Florida State last year, the Buckeyes were named to the top spot at the beginning of the season, and while they've certainly stumbled at times, they've done nothing to prove that they should be knocked from their perch. Therefore I'm keeping them at the top.
No. 2 From the looks of it, not only does Clemson have the most impressive resume to date, but I also think that they've been a team that's played the best in all three phases when you look at the rest of the top six teams nationally.
No. 3Baylor's offense is as explosive as ever and as long as their defense can come up with a few stops a game, or at least hold teams to field goals, they're going to continue to win ball games. How they respond after losing quarterback Seth Russell will define whether they stay here and catapult freshman Jarrett Stidham to legendary status like J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones last year, or maybe they become a playoff afterthought after a week or two.
No. 4 Come the final week, chances are really good that either TCU or Baylor will not find themselves in the top 4 but that all gets sorted out on November 27th. TCU has perhaps the most electrifying player in the country in QB Trevone Boykin (who would get my Heisman vote right now if I had one), and their defense is starting to play Gary Patterson-like football
LAST TWO OUT: and
Les and his crew can do a lot in my eyes this weekend, but right now, they're on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.
A lot of people will say that after close wins over Purdue and Rutgers, and a miracle for the ages to pull one off against Michigan that the Spartans don't belong this high. I say that a mark of a really good team is finding a way to win, Dantonio's team has been marred by injuries, but if they can knock of Ohio State on November 21, things look really good for the folks in East Lansing.