New College Football Playoff Ranking Projections

Week 10 of the college football season was flat-out nuts.  Based on the initial College Football Playoff rankings, No. 1 Tennessee was blasted on the road by No. 3 Georgia, No. 2 Ohio State struggled mightily to perhaps the worst Power Five team in the nation (Northwestern), and No. 4 Clemson was sent into orbit at Notre Dame.

So what will all of it mean in regards to the College Football Playoff rankings that are set to be released Tuesday night?

Obviously, we’ll have a change at the top of the rankings but just how far will Tennessee fall?  Will it be enough to satisfy the likes of undefeated TCU and Oregon, USC, and UCLA as they all sit with one loss out west?

Here are our projections as to what round two of the College Football Playoff rankings will look like when they’re released Tuesday night.

 

Kentucky (6-3)

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Being at 25 is nice for Kentucky to be able to say but what it does is provide Tennessee with a bonus win over a ranked opponent.  I’ll be pleasantly shocked if the Wildcats aren’t ranked Tuesday.

Liberty (8-1)

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At 8-1 you should expect to see Hugh Freeze and Liberty enter the rankings.  Especially after picking a win over Arkansas.

UCF (7-2)

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It wasn’t the easiest of victories but it accomplished the task when UCF outlasted Memphis 35-28 last week.  The win will move them up a few spots from 25.

Kansas State (6-3)

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Kansas State was able to come back and save some face against Texas last week but was ultimately handed their third loss.  I don’t think it’ll be enough for them to drop entirely out after

Notre Dame (6-3)

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I feel pretty safe in saying Notre Dame will be in as they showed up in both the AP and USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll this week.  The win over Clemson was dominant and praiseworthy but the committee won’t simply forget about the Marshall and Stanford happenings, either.

Illinois (7-2)

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Illinois had one of those days nothing went right against Michigan State.  They’ll fall significantly but still control their own destiny in the Big Ten West as Purdue comes to Champaign this weekend.

Washington (7-2)

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The Huskies had a nice Friday night win over previously ranked Oregon State.  They’ll return to the standings just in time for Oregon to knock them back out – and pick up another win over ranked foe along the way.

Tulane (8-1)

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Tulane moved to 8-1 by winning at Tulsa last week.  A potential trip to the New Year’s Six is on the line for the Green Wave as they travel to UCF, a program that should remain ranked this week.

NC State (7-2)

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The Wolfpack picked up their seventh win of the year but just their first over a ranked team last week in beating Wake Forest.  Expect NC State to get a slight bump for their efforts, even if Wake Forest falls out.

North Carolina (8-1)

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Other losses ahead of them will help North Carolina move up but not as much as they’d probably like because of just getting by a struggling Virginia squad last week.

Texas (6-3)

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Texas is a flat-out confusing operation this year.  OK, almost all years.  But this Longhorns team probably beats Alabama if Quinn Ewers doesn’t get hurt in September, yet have losses at Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.  I don’t know what Texas team will show up Saturday against TCU but the one that did last week at Kansas State was a really stinking good one.

Penn State (7-2)

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Penn State handled business with ease in blasting Indiana.  Unfortunately for them being the Big Ten’s third-best team isn’t going to likely earn them a New Year’s Six bowl this year.

Utah (7-2)

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Since falling at UCLA the Utes have all suddenly won three straight games.  If not for the early-season meltdown at Florida we’d be talking about Utah and the College Football Playoff. However, a trip to Pasadena after spoiling the postseason hopes for conference rivals Oregon, UCLA, and USC would be a solid way to salvage things.

Clemson (8-1)

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How far will Clemson fall after getting boat-raced in South Bend?  Not only did Notre Dame kick their butts but with Syracuse and Wake Forest both likely falling out of the rankings, Clemson now has just one win over a team that is currently ranked (NC State). Perhaps Florida State can sneak into the 25th or 24th spots to help their ACC rivals just a bit.

UCLA (8-1)

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UCLA being here feels like they’re being cheated a bit because I do believe they have a better resume than crosstown rival USC as things currently stand, but don’t see how you move them up ahead of the Trojans after anything that happened this weekend.

Ole Miss (8-1)

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Ole Miss had a very late off week they’re coming out of and sit with just one loss.  They’re not being seen as a true contender for anything major just yet but a win over Alabama would certainly change that discussion, even if the Tide have two losses.

USC (8-1)

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Of the Pac-12 contenders for a College Football Playoff spot, USC’s resume is currently the weakest.  Sure, they’re 8-1 and just beat Cal despite giving up 21-fourth quarter points, but they’re yet to beat a ranked team.  The good news is that UCLA and Notre Dame remain for the Trojans as well as a potential Pac-12 championship game.  Win all those and USC will be just fine, but the resume has holes as is currently constructed.

Alabama (7-2)

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Alabama and Clemson both outside the top four feel incredibly foreign for this era of college football.  That said, is anyone outside of Alabama or South Carolina complaining?  Here’s the thing with the Tide:  in this year that they’re so gettable, they’ve lost twice all year, both in crazy environments by a combined four points.  If they can manage to win out (easier said than done, yes) then we’ll hear again from Alabama in the grand scheme of things.

LSU (7-2)

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LSU is in a great spot to be the first team with two losses to make the College Football Playoff.  That doesn’t mean it will be easy, just that there is an obvious path.  They first have to follow up the upset of Alabama and go to Arkansas for a 12:00 p.m. EST kickoff this weekend and win. Then likely victories against UAB and Texas A&Mare needed to close the regular season.  Finally, an upset of Georgia in the SEC Championship would be required.  A lot of meat left on the bone but still an impressive first year for Brian Kelly on the Bayou.

Oregon (8-1)

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Oregon isn’t out of the woods yet as ranked dates with both Washington and Utah await before going on the road to close the regular season at pesky Oregon State.  Survive that and it’ll be a Pac-12 championship game against USC, UCLA, or perhaps even Utah.

TCU (9-0)

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TCU was punished by the committee last week because they were said to essentially not be stylish enough.  They did the same thing they’ve done all year this past weekend in being close against Texas Tech until dominating late.  They should move up but I’m honestly concerned the committee will stay their odd course with TCU.

Tennessee (8-1)

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The Vols‘ loss hurt as the comparisons to the 2019 LSU offense stopped suddenly upon running into Georgia’s defensive line.  The debate for number four will be interesting as TCU has an undefeated case and Tennessee’s best win of the year (Alabama) also suffered a loss this week.

Michigan (9-0)

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1-3 is the easiest pick of teams on this list.  The order of 2 and 3 is up for debate, though.  Michigan slept-walked for a half before destroying Rutgers.  Their non-conference schedule is why I have them a nose behind Michigan, not that it really matters at this point in time.

Ohio State (9-0)

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Ohio State slept-walk through much of their game against perhaps the worst Power Five team in college football this year (Northwestern).  That said, their win against Notre Dame looks a hair better assuming the Irish are ranked this week.  You can go either way with these Buckeyes and Wolverines as one will likely eliminate the other in a few short weeks.

Georgia (9-0)

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The whole nation watched closely as Georgia manhandled Tennessee’s offense which had been unstoppable to date.  You can make an argument about the other 24 spots on this list this week but to me, No. 1 is as clear as day for the time being.

Story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire