With rivalry week in the rear view window, it’s time to decipher the chaos we call college football. The urgency to rank each team can lead some to believe the college football playoff rankings are more subjective than accurate. Perhaps with such a wide variety of teams, records, and schedules it is truly impossible to fairly rank the country’s top teams. Nevertheless, it is vital that the committee strives for accuracy and does its job. The committee has a difficult job, so let’s help them out by selling our pitch for the top four teams in the country.
- Georgia (12-0)
If you’re the best defensive team in the country and unbeaten in the SEC, you will almost always find yourself ranked number one. The Bulldogs have overwhelmed teams week in and week out, never allowing more than 17 points to a single opponent. It would be impossible to argue that Georgia should be placed anywhere but the top. A SEC championship matchup with Alabama on December 4 will put the Georgia defense to the test. If Alabama can be competitive with Georgia, they will be the first team to do so since Clemson way back in week one.
2. Alabama (11-1)
Yes, Alabama struggled with Auburn. Yes, Alabama lost to Texas A&M. However, it’s hard to find anyone else to put ahead of them. Outside of Georgia, Alabama would walk into any game with the best athletes on the field. That has to mean something, and it’s enough to put them ahead of an undefeated Cincinnati team for now. No matter if it’s a win or a loss, Alabama’s performance against Georgia could shake up the rankings. There’s a few teams sitting outside of the top four that could capitalize off of a second Alabama loss. Georgia could afford another loss and still maintain its spot in the top four. Despite their reign of dominance, the Crimson Tide have not earned that honor and are in danger of missing the cut.
3. Cincinnati (12-0)
It’s time to give Cincinnati love. The Bearcats have earned plenty of praise and deserve a spot in the college football playoff. A playoff without an undefeated team with a top-10 win would be an indictment on the objectivity of college football. Luke Fickell’s squad has been dominant, scoring 39.6 points per game while allowing only 15.8. The first thing critics attack about Cincinnati is its schedule, yet it’s not as bad as the narrative makes it out to be. Double-digit wins over Notre Dame, Indiana, and UCF showcase that the Bearcats talent translates to multiple levels of competition. Cincinnati takes on Houston (11-1) in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game on December 4. A victory over a talented Houston team should solidify a spot in the playoff for Cincinnati. If it does not, one has to wonder if it’s impossible for a G-5 team to make the playoff in its current format.
Saturday’s 42-27 victory over Ohio State was the biggest win in the Jim Harbaugh-era at Michigan. The dominant victory puts the Wolverines in the playoff, while the Buckeyes fall down the ladder. Michigan was in control from start to finish leaving no doubt as to who the better team was. Outside of a second-half collapse against Michigan State, the Wolverines have built one of the most impressive resumes in the country. Aidan Hutchinson’s three sacks against Ohio State was a Heisman-like performance and will send fear down the spine of any team that has to play Michigan down the road. For now, Cincinnati sits ahead of Michigan, but conference championship weekend could lead to a flip flop between number three and four.