Originally found on CBS Sports:
Graphic by CBS Sports
The second edition of the College Football Playoff Rankings was released Tuesday night with the top four holding firm as Ohio State, Georgia, Michigan and Florida State — all still undefeated — maintained the primary spots. Not only that, the top eight all held their rankings from a week ago with every team prevailing in their respective tests last Saturday.
There was some thought that Georgia might jump Ohio State for No. 1 and Washington might leap Florida State for No. 4 due to the quality of their respective wins last weekend; however, the CFP Selection Committee held firm in their rankings.
Ohio State, off to a dominant start to the 2023 season with wins already over Notre Dame and Penn State, continues to sit on top while looking to make a playoff appearance for the fourth time in the last five seasons. All but two teams ranked No. 1 in a season’s initial CFP Rankings ultimately reached the four-team playoff (Mississippi State in 2014, Tennessee in 2022).
The Bulldogs and Wolverines will face the toughest tests this weekend as both have top-10 road matchups with No. 2 Georgia at No. 9 Ole Miss and No. 3 Michigan at No. 10 Penn State. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes and the Seminoles neither face ranked opponents nor go on the road with No. 1 Ohio State welcoming Michigan State and No. 4 Florida State hosting rival Miami.
Just behind those four as the first two out of the playoff field are undefeated Washington and one-loss Oregon. The Huskies have a head-to-head victory over the Ducks already this season. Both teams host talented opponents Saturday as No. 5 Washington battles No. 18 Utah, while No. 6 Oregon takes on USC.
Unlike 2021 when Cincinnati opened at No. 6 in the CFP Rankings and eventually became the first Group of Five team to reach the playoff, the highest-ranked Group of Five program Tuesday is Tulane at No. 23. That will not create a scenario in which the Green Wave can advance to the playoff, but in an expanded 12-team field set to be introduced in 2024, Tulane would be in pole position to earn a bid as the highest-ranked potential Group of Five champion.
Let’s take a look at the entire CFP Rankings top 25. Check out analysis by bowls expert Jerry Palm, which will be added below shortly.
College Football Playoff Rankings, Nov. 7
Ohio State (9-0)Georgia (9-0)Michigan (9-0)Florida State (9-0)Washington (9-0)Oregon (8-1)Texas (8-1)Alabama (8-1)Ole Miss (8-1)Penn State (8-1)Louisville (8-1)Oregon State (7-2)Tennessee (7-2)Missouri (7-2)Oklahoma State (7-2)Kansas (7-2)Oklahoma (7-2)Utah (7-2)LSU (6-3)Notre Dame (7-3)Arizona (6-3)Iowa (7-2)Tulane (8-1)North Carolina (7-2)Kansas State (6-3)
Analysis by bowls expert Jerry Palm
The committee did not provide much in the way of drama this week. Oklahoma dropped eight spots to No. 17 after losing at Oklahoma State, which moved up seven spots to No. 15. Those were the biggest movers in either direction.
Change is coming, though. I thought Washington could jump Florida State this week, but it has not happened yet. If both teams keep winning, though, it’s inevitable. Let’s look at their remaining schedules.
Florida State: Miami (6-3), North Alabama (3-7, FCS), at Florida (5-4), ACC Championship Game
Washington: No. 18 Utah (7-2), at No. 12 Oregon State (7-2), Washington State (4-5), Pac-12 Championship Game.
There is no way the Seminoles can hold off the Huskies if both teams win out.
The good news? This discussion is about theoretical playoff seeding. Both teams will the playoff if they end the season undefeated. Washington might still have a chance to get selected at 12-1; however, Florida State is surely on the outside looking in if it loses at any point.
The other inevitable change is undefeated Georgia finishing No. 1 in the rankings. The Bulldogs’ backloaded schedule will let them stack quality wins late. They already beat Missouri and get Ole Miss this week, followed by No. 13 Tennessee on the road Nov. 18. A win over a projected 11-1 Alabama in the SEC Championship Game would clinch it.
Last season, the Big Ten put two teams in the College Football Playoff with 11-1 Ohio State getting a nod having lost only to two-seed Michigan. That is far less likely this season. Even with wins over Penn State and at Notre Dame, it would be tough to take the Buckeyes over 12-1 Washington, Oregon, Texas, Alabama or Georgia.