After each week of the college football season, a fresh set of rankings drop, highlighting the Top 25 teams in the nation. There are two major polls used in the college football, the AP Poll voted on by members of the media, and the Coaches Poll voted on by, well you can probably figure that one out. Now that we have reached November, the College Football Playoff rankings are out and take over as the top billed ranking in college football for the rest of the season.
For the first time this season, a new ranking joins the chaos. After ten weeks of action the first College Football Playoff rankings were revealed on Tuesday night with a brand new No. 1 team leading the way. With an 8-0 record and a list of impressive beatdown on its resume, Ohio State stakes claim to the top spot.
College Football Playoff
As a reminder of how these rankings are done, a committee of individuals from the college football world convene every week to rank the Top 25 teams in the nation. There are no points involved like the AP or Coaches polls, just the opinions of the people in the room.
Ohio State is rewarded for its impressive start to the season, taking home the top spot in the first CFP rankings of the season, followed by Louisiana State and Alabama. Those two sides face-off this week in Tuscaloosa so it’s likely we have an immediate change in the Top 4 beginning next week.
The biggest eye opener of the week was Penn State being placed above Clemson in these initial rankings, marking the first time Penn State has ever cracked the Top 4 in the CFP. Penn State plays undefeated No. 17 Minnesota this week with a big showdown looming against Ohio State in two weeks.
Historically, if a school hopes to make the final College Football Playoff, they need to be somewhere in the Top 10 of the initial rankings to have a shot. That’s good news for Georgia, Oregon, Oklahoma, Utah, and Florida.
In 2014, the first year of the College Football Playoff, Ohio State climbed from No. 16 in the initial rankings all the way to winning the national championship. That run from the Buckeyes appears to be more of an outlier at this point.
One downside for a team like Florida is the fact that no two-loss team has ever made the Playoff so they need a lot to fall their way. That holds true for sides like Michigan, Notre Dame, Auburn, and Wisconsin. Not eliminated, but a hard hill to climb.
Baylor is the lowest ranked undefeated side but as long as they keep winning they will keep climbing up the ranks. Same goes for No. 17 Minnesota who could sink or swim depending on their matchup with Penn State.
At this point, it looks like it will come down to Cincinnati and Memphis in the American Conference for the rights to represent the Group of 5 in a New Year’s 6 bowl game.
Others receiving votes: UCF 52, Texas 37, Indiana 27, Texas A&M 19, Oklahoma State 11, Louisiana Tech 7, Appalachian State 5, Washington 2, Pittsburgh 2, Iowa State 1, Virginia 1, North Dakota State 1
Dropped from rankings: Appalachian State 20
Unlike the old BCS formula, the AP and Coaches Polls don’t have any weight on the outcome of the College Football Playoff rankings. They’re mostly just for show at this point, though it can be fun to look at the difference between these polls and how the teams line up in the CFP.
This week, the Top 5 remained the same in the AP Poll, with the first movement coming with Georgia at No.6 moving up two spots after defeating former No. 6 Florida on Saturday.
Oregon smacked Southern California on the road and holds steady at No. 7. The Ducks victory also benefits No. 8 Utah, giving them control of the PAC 12 South division and setting up a potential CFP qualifier in the conference title game.
Baylor and Minnesota remain undefeated but still outside the Top 10 at the moment. If they keep winning they’ll eventually make it there, but the schedules are only getting tougher from here on out.
Southern Methodist fell from the ranks of the unbeaten after losing to Memphis on Saturday night, setting Memphis and Cincinnati on track for a showdown in the American Conference championship.
Appalachian State was the only team to drop from the AP rankings this week, allowing Navy to sneak into the poll for the first time this season.
For a closer look on how media members voted individually, check the image below.
Others receiving votes: Texas 79, Indiana 44, Appalachian State 24, UCF 24, Texas A&M 22, Louisiana Tech 13, Oklahoma State 5, Air Force 4, Virginia 2, Pittsburgh 1, Wyoming 1
Dropped from rankings: Appalachian State 20, Texas 24
Like the AP Poll, the top seven spots are identical, with the first change coming at No. 8 where Oklahoma sits above Utah. Undefeated Baylor also gets slightly more respect from the coaches, cracking the Top 10 at the expense of Florida.
Auburn and Minnesota hold steady with everyone from 14 through 20 all moving up thanks to Southern Methodist losing. The Mustangs loss to Memphis dropped the Mustangs nine spots while elevating the Tigers four. Kansas State was also a beneficiary of the Mustangs loss, rising three spots.
Appalachian State and Texas dropped from the poll, allowing San Diego State and Navy to join the party.
Top 25 Schedule: Week 11
Let’s take a quick peek at who the Top 25 teams will be playing in Week 11.
Note: Team rankings are based on the College Football Playoff standings.
Eight of the Top 10 teams in the CFP are in action this week, highlighted by the potential season defining showdown between Alabama and Louisiana State in Tuscaloosa. A loss by either side in no way eliminates them from playoff contention, but a win will put them in the driver’s seat going forward.
No. 4 Penn State travels to No. 17 Minnesota for a matchup of undefeated side that will serve as a prove it game for the Golden Gophers while Penn State looks to remain on track for an undefeated showdown with now No. 1 Ohio State in two weeks.
Over in the Big Ten West is the third and final ranked game of the week, pitting No. 13 Wisconsin against No. 18 Iowa. If either the Badgers or the Hawkeyes want a shot at playing for the Big Ten title in Indianapolis, this is a must win game.
Each and every week throughout the college football season we will be checking in with the latest rankings and Top 25 schedule so make sure you are checking back to keep up to date on the latest from the college football world.