What the College Football Playoff rankings might have looked like after Week 3

We took a stab at what the CFP rankings might have looked like if released after Week 3.

We are still weeks away from getting our first official look at the first release of the 2022 College Football Playoff rankings, but that doesn’t stop us from trying to sort it all out ourselves.

It’s been incredibly hard to figure out what the CFP committee in any given year uses as the criteria it chooses to pick to justify the rankings on a year-to-year basis. That’s what happens when you have human beings rotating throughout the committee and their differing opinions and views marrying up with picking only four teams to get into the so-called “playoff.” That’s why I’m a big fan of the future model that’s been reported that has more known variables involved.

But back to the current state of things. Based on what we’ve seen in the past from the CFP committee and where teams are at this still very young point of the season, here’s how we see the top 25 of the College Football Playoff rankings shaking out if they were released at this point in the season.

Projecting what the top ten of the CFP rankings would be if released after Week 1

A look at what the CFP rankings might have looked like after Week 1 of the college football season.

I know, I know, it’s way too early to be thinking about what kind of zany methods the College Football Playoff committee will use this year to determine where teams fall in the CFP rankings, but I like a challenge, so I’m going for it.

Now that we’ve at least seen every team in the FBS play some real, live American rules college football, we have some observations we can make to make at least a little bit of an educated guess on where the minds of the CFP committee would go.

And I want to be clear — this is not my rankings, or what I would do, but rather what the collection of people in a room that have unintentional (we hope) biased opinions (whether they believe it or not). All we have to do is look at past history to get a feel of how things would go.

It’s not meant to be perfect because the principles outlined prior to this playoff experiment happening have been implemented inconsistently at best to support the argument of a very imperfect rankings process. We’ll get to see the tap dancing and spin of it all a little later in the year.

Now that I am off of my soapbox, off I go with what I believe the top ten of the College Football Playoff Rankings might have looked like after Week 1 of the 2022 CFB season.

Please aim your darts, arrows, and insults at me on Twitter or Facebook.

College Football Playoff: Top 20 Ranking Of Teams With A CFP Path

Ranking the top teams in the College Football Playoff chase. Here’s our ranking of the 20 with a chance, and what has to happen.

Going into the 2022 season, which teams have the most realistic shot of making the College Football Playoff? Here’s our ranking of the 20 teams with a path to the playoff and what has to happen for each.


CFN Predictions of Every Game
ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt
CFN Preview 2021: All 131 Teams
2022 Bowl Projections | Preseason Rankings 1-131
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It’s really hard to make the College Football Playoff.

Just winning your conference championship isn’t enough, and if you’re a Group of Five program, going undefeated doesn’t necessarily guarantee anything.

What have we learned since the start of the CFP experience in the 2014 season? You win your Power Five conference and finish with one loss, you’re a mortal lock to get in. You go 11-1 with that one loss to the eventual powerhouse conference champ, and you’ve got a shot.

You lose two games, and there’s a fun bowl game somewhere with a delightful array of goods, services, and prizes waiting before your glorified exhibition, but you’re not going to the show.

What’s the path to the College Football Playoff for all of the top contenders? Below are the key games that matter for each team that can reasonably dream about being among the top four, along with whether or not they’ll make it in.

Before diving in, some ground rules …

Again, one loss and a Power Five championship, or unbeaten and a Group of Five title. Outside of a few special circumstances – SEC Championship loser, Notre Dame – two losses ends the run.

Schedules mean almost everything. Take just about anyone in the SEC West and put it just about anywhere else but the Big Ten East, and it would be a contender to get into the CFP. Oklahoma’s path is a whole lot different than Texas A&M’s.

Getting into the College Football Playoff and winning it require two very, very, very different skill sets. A team might have the schedule and magical formula to be one of the top four, only to find a two-piece of Alabama reality waiting behind the door.

The consensus odds to win the College Football Playoff are listed, but the goal is to find the teams that can get there. Here’s our ranking from the least likely among the top realistic options to make the College Football Playoff to the most likely.

This isn’t based on how good the teams are. This is about who controls their destiny, what has to happen, and the pecking order of 20 teams with the most realistic chances, starting with …

20. Cincinnati

Odds To Win the College Football Playoff: +20000
Must Win Game: at Arkansas, Sept. 3
Landmine To Sidestep: at SMU, Oct. 22
Where It Could All Go Wrong: at UCF, Oct. 29

Bottom Line: The College Football Playoff repeat appearance dream could be over right away with a trip to Arkansas. However, win that, and it’s Game On. Going to SMU and UCF in late October is a bear, but everything else – including the home date against Indiana – is doable. One loss, though, and the CFP is out. There will likely be more than one loss.

Will Cincinnati Make the College Football Playoff? No. The Bearcats will be great, but they’re not recreating the 2021 magic.
UC Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule

19. Tennessee

Odds To Win the College Football Playoff: +10000
Must Win Game: at Georgia, Nov. 5
Landmine To Sidestep: at South Carolina, Nov. 19
Where It Could All Go Wrong: at Pitt, Sept. 10

Bottom Line: It’s a HEAVY lift, but if the Vols somehow go 11-1 and get into the SEC Championship, the respect given to the schedule might be enough to keep them in the playoff hunt even with another loss. They’ll be good, but at Pitt, Florida, at LSU, Alabama, at Georgia, Kentucky, at South Carolina … that’s too nasty.

Will Tennessee Make the College Football Playoff? No, but they’re going to screw up someone’s CFP hopes.
UT Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

18. Florida

Odds To Win the College Football Playoff: +9020
Must Win Game: Georgia (in Jacksonville), Oct. 29
Landmine To Sidestep: South Carolina, Nov. 12
Where It Could All Go Wrong: Utah, Sept. 3

Bottom Line: Florida will be much, much better under new head coach Billy Napier, but it’s not beating Utah, and Kentucky, and LSU, and South Carolina, and getting by Georgia, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Florida State away from Gainesville. The College Football Playoff is too tough a goal, however, beat Georgia and the SEC East race gets interesting.

Will Florida Make the College Football Playoff? Ehhhhhhhh, Florida will be better than everyone thinks, but no. The schedule is too tough.
Florida Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

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17. Penn State

Odds To Win the College Football Playoff: +9100
Must Win Game: Ohio State, Oct. 29
Landmine To Sidestep: Minnesota, Oct. 22
Where It Could All Go Wrong: at Purdue, Sept. 1

Bottom Line: Considering the Big Ten East is much tougher than the West, if the Nittany Lions can get by Auburn on the road early on and split the dates against Michigan and Ohio State, they’ll be favored in the Big Ten Championship. It’s all too daunting for an elite Penn State team, but this version doesn’t appear to be close to that. However, if Michigan could do it last year …

Will Penn State Make the College Football Playoff? No. The team isn’t strong enough to go 12-1 and win the Big Ten title.
Penn State Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

16. LSU

Odds To Win the College Football Playoff: +7520
Must Win Game: Alabama, Nov. 5
Landmine To Sidestep: Tennessee, Oct. 8
Where It Could All Go Wrong: Mississippi State, Sept. 17

Bottom Line: Welcome to the SEC, Brian Kelly. Yeah, LSU might be able to stun Alabama if everything goes right, but can it go at least 12-1 with road games at Auburn, Florida, Arkansas, and Texas A&M, and home dates against Tennessee, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State? No, and all of that – and Alabama, too – comes with a season-opener against Florida State and whatever happens in the SEC Championship if everything goes right.

Will LSU Make the College Football Playoff? No. Kelly will have a good first year, and the team is good, but the schedule is too tough.
LSU Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

NEXT: Top 15 College Football Playoff Chase Rankings

Clemson falls outside top 10 in way-too-early CFP rankings

Clemson football is not receiving the same preseason praise that it has in years past.

Despite having the fourth-best odds to win the 2023 College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship, Clemson hasn’t received the same preseason praise it has in years past.

In ESPN’s latest way-too-early CFP rankings, the Tigers were ranked outside the top 10 at No. 11, with teams like Notre Dame and N.C. State ahead of them.

Clemson heads into the 2022 season, losing key starters, such as wide receiver Justyn Ross, linebacker James Skalski and cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. Still, Clemson adds promising players to its roster next season, namely five-star quarterback Cade Klubnik, who impressed in the spring game, and five-star cornerback Jeadyn Lukus.

Here’s what ESPN’s Mark Schlabach had to say about the Tigers heading into next season.

Spring update: Clemson has two new coordinators — Brandon Streeter on offense and Wes Goodwin on defense — and coach Dabo Swinney hopes the Tigers return to their old ways after slipping with three losses in 2021. Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei shed about 25 pounds in the offseason after struggling in his first season as the full-time starter. Uiagalelei left spring practice atop the depth chart, but he might continue to be pushed by Klubnik, an early enrollee, who looked good over 15 practices. Clemson’s defensive line had its way in the spring game against a thin offensive line. [Adam] Randall, who was expected to help the wide receiver corps, might miss the season after suffering a torn ACL in his knee during the spring.

Finishing last season No. 19 in the CFP rankings, Clemson’s No. 11 spring ranking is fair considering the question marks surrounding the team.

Ultimately, Clemson’s defense looks to be solidified as a contender for the best unit in the country. However, Uiagalelei and the Tigers’ offense will need to elevate from last year’s pitfalls. As Schlabach mentioned, Klubnik has impressed the coaching staff this spring and, if Uiagalelei struggles, could take over as the team’s starting quarterback.

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What the College Football Playoff committee said after the final CFP rankings

Here’s everything the CFP committee said after ranking and seeding teams where it did.

All of the shouting and arguments are over. OK, maybe not, but the final College Football Playoff rankings have come out so we now know which four teams will be a part of all the fun. Ohio State isn’t but its rival Michigan finally broke through and will be playing for a national title.

The other three teams that are in the playoff include Alabama, Georgia, and Cincinnati. No. 1 Alabama will play No. 4 Cincinnati, and No. 2 Michigan will match up with No. 3 Georgia. There wasn’t much drama with the four teams that got in this year, but there are some questions on how the top four appeared in the seedings and matchups.

Each time the CFP rankings come out, we like to address what College Football Playoff Selection committee chair Gary Barta says in front of the media. He acts as the mouthpiece of the committee and takes on tough questions to provide some insight on why the group ranked the teams where it did.

Barta met with the media again on Sunday and had a lot to say, and we’re bringing it to you once again. Here’s everything Barta said as the face of the CFP Committee after the release of the final rankings.

College Football Playoff Expansion: How 12-Team Format Would’ve Worked This Year

How would an expanded 12-team College Football Playoff have worked this year?

The College Football Playoff rankings are out. How would they have worked in an expanded 12-team format?


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Unfortunately, the College Football Playoff expansion talks have stalled.

They really did come up with a good format idea.

12 teams. Top six conference champions automatically get in, top four conference champs get a bye, and then the seeds would follow from there with the higher-ranked seeds getting the home field advantage in the first round.

So it would be …

College Football Playoff Expansion Proposal Top Would Be …

These four would get first round byes

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (1)

2. Michigan Wolverines 12-1 (2)

3. Cincinnati Bearcats 13-0 (4)

4. Baylor Bears 11-2 (7)


College Football Playoff Expansion Proposal 5-12 Matchups Would Be …

12. Pitt Panthers 11-2 (12) at

5. Georgia Bulldogs 12-1 (3)

College Football Playoff Rankings: Final

11. Utah Utes 10-3 (11) at

6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish 11-1 (5)

– Final Regular Season Rankings AP | Coaches

10. Michigan State Spartans 10-2 (10) at

7. Ohio State Buckeyes 10-2 (6)

CFN Rankings: 1-130 & by conference

9. Oklahoma State Cowboys 11-2 (5) at

8. Ole Miss Rebels 10-2 (8)

Who’d get sort of hosed? Who’d just miss out?

CFP 13. BYU Cougars 10-2

CFP 14. Oregon Ducks 10-3 (8)

CFP 16. Oklahoma Sooners 10-2 (12)

18. NC State Wolfpack 9-3 (18)

17. Wake Forest Demon Deacons 10-3 (16

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CFN Rankings: 1-130 & by conference
College Football Playoff Rankings: Final

Michigan State moves inside top 10 of final College Football Playoff rankings

Michigan State moves up one spot in the final College Football Playoff rankings

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Michigan State will end the season in the top 10 of the College Football Playoff rankings.

The Spartans moved up one spot in Sunday’s final batch of the College Football Playoff rankings to No. 10. Michigan State is the third highest-ranked Big Ten team behind only Ohio State (No. 6) and Michigan (No. 2).

Michigan State will play Pitt — who’s No. 12 in the final rankings — in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 30.

Below are the complete final rankings:

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Oregon Ducks drop to No. 14 in final College Football Playoff rankings

In the final rankings of the season, the Oregon Ducks dropped to No. 14 after another blowout loss to Utah.

The final College Football Playoff rankings for the season came out on Sunday afternoon, and the Oregon Ducks dropped a total of 4 spots to No. 14.

After another blowout loss to the Utah Utes in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday, this comes as no surprise, with the Ducks not showing much reason for being considered one of the top 10 teams in the nation.

Utah moved up to No. 11 in the rankings.

What’s left to figure out now is which bowl game the Ducks will go to at the end of the year. All signs point towards them being featured in the Valero Alamo Bowl, where they will likely face the No. 16 Oklahoma Sooners.

The Alamo Bowl is usually reserved for the second-ranked Pac-12 team vs. the second-ranked Big-12 team.

That game will be played on December 29th in San Antonio, Texas.

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College Football Playoff Rankings: Final Top 25

College Football Playoff rankings. The final 2021 top 25 along with the four teams off to the playoff.

The final College Football Playoff rankings for the 2021 season. The top 25 along with the four teams in the CFP.


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College Football Playoff Rankings: Final Top 25

25. Texas A&M Aggies 8-4 (23)

24. San Diego State Aztecs 11-2 (19)

23. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns 12-1 (NR)

22. Kentucky Wildcats 9-3 (23)

21. Arkansas Razorbacks 8-4 (22)

Coaches Poll powered by USA TODAY rankings

20. Houston Cougars 11-2 (21)

19. Clemson Tigers 9-3 (20

18. NC State Wolfpack 9-3 (18)

17. Wake Forest Demon Deacons 10-3 (16)

16. Oklahoma Sooners 10-2 (12)

AP Top 25 rankings

15. Iowa Hawkeyes 10-3 (14)

14. Oregon Ducks 10-3 (8)

13. BYU Cougars 10-2 (13)

12. Pitt Panthers 11-2 (15)

11. Utah Utes 10-3 (17)

CFN Rankings: 1-130 & by conference

10. Michigan State Spartans 10-2 (11)

9. Oklahoma State Cowboys 11-2 (5)

8. Ole Miss Rebels 10-2 (8)

7. Baylor Bears 11-2 (9)

6. Ohio State Buckeyes 10-2 (7)

5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish 11-1 (6)

4. Cincinnati Bearcats 13-0 (4)

3. Georgia Bulldogs 12-1 (1)

2. Michigan Wolverines 12-1 (2)

1. Alabama Crimson Tide 12-1 (3)

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Coaches Poll College Football Rankings 
All-Time Coaches Poll Rankings | AP All-Time Rankings

Where is Clemson in the final CFP rankings?

The last set of College Football Playoff Rankings were released Sunday. Clemson (9-3, 6-2 ACC) checked in at No. 19 in the final CFP Rankings. The Tigers were previously ranked No. 20 by the CFP Selection Committee. The College Football Playoff …

The last set of College Football Playoff Rankings were released Sunday.

Clemson (9-3, 6-2 ACC) checked in at No. 19 in the final CFP Rankings.

The Tigers were previously ranked No. 20 by the CFP Selection Committee.

The College Football Playoff field is set, with No. 1 Alabama set to play No. 4 Cincinnati and No. 2 Michigan set to play No. 3 Georgia.

Here is the final College Football Playoff Top 25 rankings for the 2021 regular season:

No. 1 – Alabama
No. 2 – Michigan
No. 3 – Georgia
No. 4 – Cincinnati
No. 5 – Notre Dame
No. 6 – Ohio State
No. 7 – Baylor
No. 8 – Ole Miss
No. 9 – Oklahoma State
No. 10 – Michigan State
No. 11 – Utah
No. 12 – Pittsburgh
No. 13 – BYU
No. 14 – Oregon
No. 15 – Iowa
No. 16 – Oklahoma
No. 17 – Wake Forest
No. 18 – NC State
No. 19 – Clemson
No. 20 – Houston
No. 21 – Arkansas
No. 22 – Kentucky
No. 23 – Louisiana
No. 24 – San Diego State
No. 25 – Texas A&M

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