Originally found on CBS Sports:
Happy Halloween! We have a treat coming Tuesday night with the first College Football Playoff Rankings release, though some teams may feel tricked. Adding to the festive feel of tonight’s announcement, the rankings will be discussed by new CFP Selection Committee chairman Boo Corrigan, the NC State athletic director.
Of course, this is a warmup act for the warmup act, which is all of the CFP Rankings releases before the final one. Remember, these rankings do not act like a traditional 25 poll where, if you keep winning, it is unlikely you will get passed. Each set of CFP Rankings gets tossed after it is announced with teams reevaluated from scratch every week.
Before we get to the predicted rankings themselves, here’s a refresher listing some of key points the committee members consider when deciding a team’s ranking beyond their on-field record:
Strength of scheduleConference championships (once decided)Head-to-headResults vs. common opponentsResults vs. ranked opponents
Thankfully, the committee’s definition of “ranked opponents” is different than what you’re used to seeing. The rankings they use are the prior week’s CFP Rankings. They do not consider where teams are ranked in the CFP, AP Top 25, etc. when the games are played. Using game-time rankings is the most worthless way to determine “ranked opponents;” in fact, the committee specifically forbids the use of any poll that has a preseason starting point.
Notice that “game control” is not listed among the criteria. It never has been considered despite the term (or similar concepts) coming out of the mouth of past committee chairmen. (The CFP does not have a way to measure “game control” — I’ve seen the data the committee uses — but let’s not kid ourselves: They do talk about it.) And really, who cares how you get to the win as long as you get there?
With all that in mind, here is how I believe the CFP Rankings will look tonight. Remember: This is not necessarily how I would vote if I were on the committee. I am merely predicting what they will do this evening.
Note: This projection is based only on results to this point. It does not reflect the final forecast for the playoff. The complete bowl playoff and bowl projections through the end of the season can be found here.