On this special Halloween for college football fans, the initial rankings for the College Football Playoff have been made public. After nine grueling weeks of action already, this final stretch run should be a good one.
And in this week's rankings, it's no surprise who the top two teams are. Perhaps the order is a slight surprise to some.
First Rankings: Top 2️⃣5️⃣ pic.twitter.com/2nefOfDhyV
— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) October 31, 2017
The committee has opted for the Georgia Bulldogs (8-0, 5-0 SEC) as the slightest of favorites over conference foe Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) in the first installment. Why? It's likely due to the resumé.
Georgia has a pair of wins over ranked teams, including on the road against another team in the top 4 in Notre Dame. They also blew out No. 16 Mississippi State at home. While Alabama completely shut down then No. 3 Florida State to open the season, the Seminoles have amassed just a 2-5 record on the season.
Both Georgia and Alabama have big games ahead of them in-conference to further validate their position. Not to mention, they're on a collision course to player each other for the conference title in Atlanta.
Here in the Mitten, Michigan State checks in at No. 24, the same spot as the latest AP poll. The Spartans are coming off a triple-overtime loss on the road to Northwestern. While their Playoff chances are very minimal or non-existent entirely, they have tilts remaining against No. 7 Penn State and No. 6 Ohio State in the next two weeks.
— Michigan State Football (@MSU_Football) October 31, 2017
Other things to take away from these initial polls:
- The committee is valuing head-to-head matchups between comparable teams. That's best explained by No. 5 Oklahoma being one spot ahead of No. 6 Ohio State. It's despite the fact that the Sooners completely coughed up a game at home against Iowa State, who has since then continued to climb. And the Buckeyes find themselves one spot ahead of Penn State, whom they just knocked off this past Saturday.
- Miami (FL) and Wisconsin have a lot of work to do still. Despite being two of the remaining four undefeated Power 5 teams, the Hurricanes and Badgers don't have the resumé to match the teams in front of them. While Miami still has some chances, Wisconsin may have to rely on bludgeoning the rest of their opponents, including whoever they would presumably play in the Big Ten title game.
- Central Florida at No. 18 is in the driver's seat to be the Group of 5 representative in the New Year's Six. The undefeated Golden Knights already have state wins in the AAC against Navy and No. 23 Memphis and still have meetings with SMU (this Saturday) and South Florida (season finale). USF was in the spot that UCF currently sits in, but an upset at the hands of Houston at home shattered their chances.