By J.D. McKay
This past Monday the College Football released their first top 25 rankings of the season. Not shockingly, Bama was at the top and Clemson followed at second. But after those first two there were some surprises. Kentucky was ranked ahead of Ohio State (this is football, not basketball) and there are three teams in the SEC in the top six. We still have four weeks left until the top four is pretty much set, and things can still get wild, so I will be telling you what to expect over these next couple weeks.
The top four includes Alabama, Clemson, LSU, and Notre Dame. I guarantee Bama stays in the top four. They would have to lose two games to drop out of the top four, and I do not think that they will even lose one game. Next is Clemson. They also have a pretty straight shot to the playoff. Even if they lose one ACC conference game this year, they could win the ACC Championship game and still be the two or three team. LSU, ranked third, is where a lot of craziness could happen. They play Bama this week. Bama will win by 14, Alabama is just that good. That loss will give LSU two losses and no chance to play in the conference championship which puts them out of contention. The other potentially crazy team is fourth-ranked Notre Dame. They are not in a conference, so the conference championship, which is very important to the College Football Playoff Committee, will not be possible. Not having a conference championship means one loss would be catastrophic for the Irish and push them out of the top 4 come season end.
The next most likely teams to be in are Michigan and Georgia or Kentucky. Michigan has had a good season and had one loss to Notre Dame. If they win out, it would include beating Ohio State, who is ranked tenth and probably Northwestern in the BigTen Championship game, probably propelling them into LSU slot. The craziest potential change will be coming from Lexington, Kentucky this weekend. Georgia (six) is playing Kentucky (nine) in a game that will probably send the winner to the SEC Championship to represent East against Alabama. Now, for either one of these teams to get in they will need to beat Bama, which is again unlikely, but if they do somehow beat Bama, they will be in. Kentucky’s resume is good enough that they could hop over Notre Dame if they win the SEC. They would have beat four top 25 teams and their only loss would have been to twentieth ranked Texas A&M. Georgia is in the same boat. They would have beat three top 25 teams and lost to just LSU.
My expected College Football Playoff
1- Alabama Crimson Tide
2- Clemson Tigers
3- Notre Dame Fighting Irish
4- Michigan Wolverines