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Paul Finebaum ranks his top 5 teams ahead of first CFP ranking

With the first College Football Playoff rankings set to be revealed this week, ESPN college football expert and show host, Paul Finebaum, shared which five teams he believes are the strongest in the nation.

There are only four weeks left in the 2023 regular season, but there still doesn’t seem to be a clear picture when it comes to the CFP. The few remaining undefeated teams don’t appear to be invincible and there are a handful of quality one-loss teams. At the end of the day, there are only four available spots. It will come down to which four the College Football Playoff Committee believes are the strongest teams in the nation.

Georgia

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The undefeated Bulldogs have looked beatable on multiple occasions, but they have been able to finish every game with more points than their opponents. That’s the best way to win football games.

The back-to-back national champions will play three currently-ranked opponents (No. 14 Missouri, No. 11 Ole Miss, No. 19 Tennessee). Those could be great resume boosters (not like the Dawgs need it), or it could lead to disaster for Georgia as the season’s end nears.

Michigan

Michael Allio-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Allio-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan has been making headlines recently, but not for what’s happening on the field. The Wolverines appear poised to run the Big Ten if they can survive these final few weeks. It’ll be interesting to watch Michigan over the next two months for multiple reasons.

Finebaum picking undefeated Michigan here doesn’t surprise me, but I believe this team has a solid argument to be No. 1 over Georgia.

Ohio State

Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

The Buckeyes have been impressive throughout the season, being tested by a few quality teams. Ohio State did not waver against Penn State or Notre Dame this season and likely looks forward for the opportunity to face off against Michigan.

Finebaum having the Buckeyes at No. 3 is far from surprising, as it’s likely that this team could easily find itself safely in the CFP rankings when conference championship time rolls around.

Florida State

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

The Seminoles are the team to beat in the ACC and there does not seem to be another team even remotely close to Florida State’s level. At this point, it seems like the CFP committee will have no other option but to let Florida State in.

Finebaum ranking the Seminoles at No. 4 can be interpreted a couple of different ways. The first one is strictly based on CFP considerations. The Seminoles would either have to lose or come close to losing against a questionable opponent to fall from their current spot. The other interpretation would be power rankings. Florida State started the season off with a dominating win over LSU, but the Seminoles have appeared somewhat inconsistent at times since then. A two-point win over Boston College and a one-possession win over a four-loss Clemson team could lead to some legitimate questions being asked about whether or not they truly are the fourth-best team in the country.

Oregon

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

According to Finebaum, Oregon is one team he has his eyes on that’s not quite atop the list of teams that are expected to reach the CFP. With a loss to Washington, the Ducks squad is the only one-loss team mentioned by Finebaum. There is a path to the playoff, but it won’t be easy for Dan Lanning and his team.

Teams that were not mentioned

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

There were a few teams not named by Finebaum, including an entire conference. Alabama has been storming back after the early-season loss to Texas. Speaking of the Longhorns, both teams from the Red River Rivalry were excluded, sorry Oklahoma. It’s also worth noting that Washington is undefeated and has one of the most entertaining offenses in the nation and wasn’t ranked by Finebaum either. Some interesting choices by the college football pundit.

Story originally appeared on Roll Tide Wire