The rankings come out Tuesday night and it will be the first chance to see the Playoff Committee’s thoughts. A common theme we’ve seen from the committee previously is a term I refer to as anchoring. Below is “anchoring” defined and the rankings.
Anchoring– Head-to-head will be the determining factor between two teams with the same amount of losses. The winner of the head-to-head matchup will not drop below the losers ranking. Most of the AP Top 25 voters have not figured this out yet. Below are the teams guaranteed to be ranked over the loser in their head-to-head matchup:
- Florida over Auburn
- Wisconsin over Michigan
- Michigan over Iowa
- Michigan over Notre Dame
- Memphis over SMU
- Memphis over Navy
- Texas over Oklahoma State
1. LSU Tigers
LSU has by far the best resume with wins over #11 Florida, #12 Auburn, and #24 Texas. They have also looked dominant against inferior opponents which is key for the eye test. LSU will be named #1 Tuesday night.
2. Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State has dominated everyone they’ve played. What gives them the edge over Alabama is the win against #14 Wisconsin. Alabama does not have a win like that on their resume.
3. Alabama Crimson Tide
As previously stated, the Tide have blown out everyone. Sure, the strength of schedule is not great, but dominant wins puts them at #3.
4. Clemson Tigers
Clemson has killed everyone on their schedule… except for a one point win against North Carolina which is why Clemson is number 4. There is no argument for Clemson above Alabama. Both have had weak schedules, but only one team has a single digit victory. When you’re talking about the top teams you have to nit-pick.
5. Penn State (8-0)
Penn State has more high quality wins than Clemson beating #15 Michigan and #18 Iowa. Where Clemson has the slight edge is Penn State has had some games where they don’t look great (17-10 win against Pitt). The eye test keeps Clemson slightly above.
6. Georgia (7-1)
Blowouts and a win against #11 Florida have Georgia easily settled as the top 1 loss team.
7. Baylor (8-0)
The Bears have been impressive playing most of the Big 12 and still undefeated. Baylor even has a few quality wins against #16 Kansas State and fringe top 25 team Iowa State. However, very close wins against bad teams like West Virginia and a weak non-conference of Stephen F. Austin, UTSA, and Rice weaken the resume.
8. Oklahoma (7-1)
The Sooners have been dominant except for a close loss to #16 Kansas State, a team Baylor beat 31-12. This keeps them behind undefeated Baylor.
9. Oregon (8-1)
Baylor’s weakness is Oregon’s strength in terms of non-conference schedule. Oregon has a close loss to #12 Auburn, but have gone unbeaten in Pac-12 wins. If they were more dominant against inferior opponents, the Ducks would be ranked higher.
10. Utah (8-1)
Utah is a solid team with just one slip up this year with a 30-23 loss to USC.
11. Florida (7-2)
Florida has a quality win against #12 Auburn and forgivable losses against #1 LSU and #6 Georgia. Other than these games Florida has proven to be a solid football team.
12. Auburn (7-2)
A high quality non-conference win against #9 Oregon, but they’re anchored behind Florida due to the head-to-head loss. A 3 point loss to #1 LSU shouldn’t hurt them.
13. Minnesota (8-0)
They beat non-conference opponents South Dakota State, Fresno State, and Georgia Southern by a TOTAL of 13 points. Their strength of schedule is abysmal.
14. Wisconsin (6-2)
The Badgers have struggled recently, but still have the head-to-head against Michigan.
15. Michigan (7-2)
Quality wins against #18 Iowa and #19 Notre Dame with understandable losses against #5 Penn State and #14 Wisconsin. Overall have a solid strength of schedule.
16. Kansas State (6-2)
The big win against a very good #8 Oklahoma team has them here.
17. Wake Forest (7-1)
Wake Forest may have a great record, but they really haven’t played anyone and play down to their weak competition. The 62-59 loss to Louisville is not great.
18. Iowa (6-2)
Their best win is against Iowa State. At least the close losses to #5 Penn State and #15 Michigan are impressive.
19. Notre Dame (6-2)
The Irish over the last three games were demolished by Michigan 45-14 and squeaked out close wins against USC and Virginia Tech. They have a pretty average resume.
20. Cincinnati (7-1)
Their one loss is to #2 Ohio State… it wasn’t close though.
21. Memphis (8-1)
Have a Power Five win against Ole Miss. Still not sure how they lost to Temple though.
22. SMU (8-1)
The win against TCU keeps them in the top 25.
23. Boise State (7-1)
The win against Florida State doesn’t look as impressive anymore.
24. Texas (5-3)
Texas will benefit in the rankings with their tough non-conference game against #1 LSU.
25. Navy (7-1)
They’ve blown out some of their AAC opponents, but the loss against Memphis anchors them.