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DSN staff predictions for the initial College Football Playoff rankings


With Week 9 of the college football season in the books and Week 10 about to begin, the very first College Football Playoff Rankings will be released later this evening. So we at Detroit Sports Nation have decided to do our own projections and see how much we actually know, or don’t know what the heck we are talking about.

To be fair, most of us should be very close to the real projections as NONE of us, (not even Paul Rochon or Dylan Bair) are dumb enough to put Michigan or Michigan State in the CFP. There are the obvious teams at the top and quite a few battling for those last few coveted spots. So let’s get to it.

We’ll start with the two teams just missing the initial CFP.

No. 6 | PENN STATE

The Penn State Nittany Lions (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten) have been running rough-shot over anyone and everyone. Saquon Barkley has been the best player in college football and is looking to run away with the Heisman Trophy. They absolutely dismantled Michigan in Happy Valley, climbing the ranks to No. 2 in the country… until this past weekend when they ABSOLUTELY BLEW IT against J.T. Barrett and Ohio State.

Apparently having leads of 14-0, 21-3, and 35-20 were not enough as Penn State gave up 21 points in the 4th, and Barkley was nowhere to be found in the second half. They come in at No. 6.

No. 5 | CLEMSON

The defending champion Clemson Tigers (7-1, 4-1 ACC) are No. 5 on our list thanks to losing starting quarterback Kelly Bryant to an ankle injury. Though he played through it in their 28-14 win over Wake Forest, he couldn’t stay in after suffering a concussion against Syracuse two weeks ago and the Orange toppled the Tigers, 27-24.

Bryant returned last week to help Clemson avoid any kind of a losing streak, defeating Georgia Tech, 24-10. Right now they are just on the outside-looking-in, but with a date this weekend against No. 20 North Carolina State, and a most-likely ACC Championship match-up against a top-10 opponent in Miami upcoming, Clemson could climb back into the top-4 sooner or later.

No. 4 | NOTRE DAME

The Fighting Irish (7-1) have responded nicely from their one-point loss at home to Georgia in the second week of the season, defeating their last six opponents by an average of 27 points.  That includes ranked teams like NC State and USC. The Irish have a test in two weeks against No. 9 Miami but other than that, Notre Dame has a bit of a cakewalk the rest of the way.

With no conference championship for them to play in, they need to finish without another loss and hope some other teams creeping behind them can lose a game.

No. 3 | OHIO STATE

After pulling off the most miraculous of comebacks at the Horseshoe on Saturday, Ohio State (7-1, 5-0 Big Ten) has put themselves back in the driver’s seat of the Big Ten. After falling at home to Oklahoma, all Ohio State has done is absolutely demolish their opponents by an average of 42 points, until this past weekend when they put themselves in an early hole and needed J.T. Barrett to play Heisman-esque football (33-for-39, including 13-for-13 and 3 touchdowns in the fourth quarter) to dig them out 39-38 over Penn State.

It’s a win over a top-5 team, and Ohio State will take it all the way to the CFP, if they can avoid another misstep like the one against Oklahoma in Week 2.

No. 2 | GEORGIA

The Georgia Bulldogs (8-0, 5-0 SEC) have been one of the surprise teams of the college football season. Their defense has been dominant, their rushing attack has been a thing of beauty, and after last weekend’s 42-7 drubbing of rival Florida in the World’s Biggest Cocktail Party, their seniors can graduate happy, knowing they finally got that monkey off their back (Florida had been 3-0 the last three years).

They have the No. 3 defense in college football, a running back in Nick Chubb, one of the best in the country, and another chance to prove they belong in two weeks when they head to Auburn to take on the always tough Tigers. A date with Alabama could loom for both teams, but for Georgia to face the Tide, it will be in the SEC Championship game.

No. 1 | ALABAMA

This really should not come as a surprise to anyone who’s watched any college football over the past decade. Alabama has been steamrolling their way towards yet another national championship appearance, and Nick Saban is still probably angry about something. God forbid he actually enjoy just how dominant his program has been since he came to Tuscaloosa.

The Crimson Tide (8-0, 5-0 SEC) have been No. 1 all year, and have been basically unanimous since Clemson lost to Syracuse. Georgia is nipping at the Tide’s heels right now, but with ‘Bama not having to face them until it’s for the SEC Title, a spot in the CFP is all but assured for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. They have three ranked opponents remaining in their final four games: LSU (they’ll kill em), Mississippi State (bye bye, Bulldogs), and Auburn (Iron Bowl could be interesting with Auburn’s big-play ability). Expect to hear a lot of “Roll Tide” over the next few weeks.

Here is how the projections shaped out from the staff members. Each staffer provided their top six teams and the rankings were all averaged out accordingly. Also receiving some voting consideration this week from our staff included Miami-FL, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

DSN STAFF No. 1 No. 2 No. 3 No. 4 No. 5 No. 6
MATT BASSIN ALA UGA OSU CLEM ND MIA
DYLAN BAIR ALA UGA ND PSU CLEM OKLA
STEVE DIAZ UGA ALA ND OKLA OSU CLEM
DON DRYSDALE ALA UGA OSU CLEM ND PSU
RYAN GRIFFIN ALA UGA OSU ND CLEM PSU
ALEX MULLER ALA UGA ND OSU CLEM WISC
AARON NUSBAUM ALA UGA WISC OSU ND PSU
AJ REILLY ALA UGA ND OSU WISC MIA
PAUL ROCHON ALA PSU PSU CLEM ND UGA

 

Written by Matt Bassin

Born in L.A., raised in Detroit and SoCal. Born Green and White, but am an Arizona Alumnus with my degree in Journalism. Have worked for newspapers as a writer/editor, and as an on-air talent for sports radio. Follow the Lions, Red Wings, Tigers, Pistons and Lakers. Go Green!

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