Iowa, Iowa State appear in first College Football Playoff rankings


Tylan Wallace

The field of contenders has narrowed, and teams from the Power 5 like Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, LSU and MI have made a claim for why they deserve a spot in the playoff.

That's angered a lot of UCF fans, once again, because there are seven one-loss teams ranked ahead of the Knights and one two-loss team in Florida at No. 11. Sitting in the third spot with a 7-1 record, many analysts and fans had a toss-up between LSU, Michigan and Georgia. The Knights, riding a 20-game winning streak, earned that spot a year ago, beat Auburn in the Peach Bowl and proclaimed themselves national champions.

If the season ended today, the rest of the Playoff would be made up of No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 LSU, and No. 4 Notre Dame. That would force the committee to jump the Buckeyes over other conference champions.

The first College Football Playoff rankings were revealed tonight, and the selection committee placed U-M at No. 5.

Committee chair Rob Mullens, the OR athletic director, cited the strong record against opponents with a winning record for LSU, the only team in the top four with a loss. So now, the Fighting Irish's three wins over teams with a +.500 record (Michigan, Virginia Tech and Stanford) don't mean as much as LSU's six (Miami, Auburn, Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss, Georgia and Mississippi State).

We're not saying the scenarios above would automatically put two SEC teams in the playoff for the second consecutive season-a 12-1 Big Ten champ (Ohio State or Michigan) to go along with undefeated Clemson and Notre Dame would put a dent in these dreams-but it's certainly plausible. Meanwhile, Alabama wins out after its loss to LSU. Four games matching top-20 teams are on tap Saturday, including Alabama at LSU and Georgia at Kentucky.

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The rankings heading into November don't look that much different from the projected College Football Playoff rankings, at least at the top.

In 2015 and '16, two teams in the committee's first four made the playoff. Starting the season against Wyoming, San Jose State and Eastern Washington doesn't exactly endear you to committee members.

Penn State is set to face MI this weekend in a game that will essentially make or break the legitimacy of the Nittany Lions' playoff hopes.

Despite being 6-2 and being just a few plays away from an undefeated record, it didn't feel like the Iowa football team was getting the love they deserved.

As Pete Thamel noted Tuesday night, UCF is starting five spots higher than it did in 2017. A&M closes the season with a showdown against No. 3 LSU. So the rankings, for better or worse, make sense.

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