Predicting what the second release of the College Football Playoff Rankings will be

·13 min read

We now have that much-anticipated baseline we were waiting for. The College Football Playoff Committee released the first set of CFP Rankings for 2021 last Tuesday and it nearly caused a stock selloff.

Are you ready to do it all again?

We’ll now get a set of these rankings each Tuesday until we get to the last CFP Rankings that will determine who gets into the College Football Playoff on Sunday, December 5. That means we get to throw things at the wall five more times until we finally come to grips with the almost impossible job the committee has with just four teams getting into a so-called “playoff.”

Here at Buckeyes Wire, we like to do the impossible. No, we’re not talking about Jim Harbaugh’s chances of beating Ohio State, but we go through an exercise using our own derived formulate that takes several factors into account. It’s called opinion, guessing, and the infamous eye test. Come to think of it, that sounds a lot like the “data elements” the committee uses as well.

Before you get all in a stir on Tuesday, we’ll try to get you primed for what you’ll see and let you get your wall-punching out of the way so you can not be shocked at all-new College Football Playoff Rankings released Tuesday evening.

Here’s us predicting what the second release of the CFP Rankings will look like

UTSA Roadrunners (9-0)

Oct. 21, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; UTSA Roadrunners helmet on the turf after winning 20-7 against the Rice Owls. John Gutierrez-USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

It’s time for the undefeated Group of Five UTSA to break into the rankings. With the shortcomings of the Power Five teams, it was a little shocking the Roadrunners weren’t ranked last week. It’s hard to go undefeated no matter what league and who you play, and it’s a little disrespectful UTSA didn’t have a number next to its name last week. Now, the committee almost has to throw some kind of bone its way.

Kentucky Wildcats (6-3)

Oct 27, 2018; Columbia, MO, USA; A general view of a Kentucky Wildcats helmet during the game against the Missouri Tigers at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field. Kentucky won 15-14. Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

I don’t know that there’s really a good reason for Kentucky to be here, but the Wildcats seem to get a pass for being in the SEC. Power Five teams have gotten the nod over the Group of Five teams, so we say Kentucky sneaks in still despite three straight losses.

Purdue Boilermakers (6-3)

Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell signals to his receivers prior to taking the snap in the third quarter against Iowa on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

The only reason Purdue isn’t ranked in either of the two major polls is because it doesn’t drink sweet tea and eat grits. You can’t convince me otherwise (look at Auburn’s resume). The Boilermakers have beaten two ranked teams (both top five at the time) and are tied for first in the Big Ten East. They’ll squeeze in this week.

San Diego State Aztecs (8-1)

Dec 12, 2020; Provo, UT, USA; San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke talks to other coaches before an NCAA college football game against BYU Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, in Provo, Utah. Credit: George Frey/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

San Diego State was one of the few Group of Five teams to eek into the rankings last week. The Aztecs will still be in about the same neighborhood after a modest win this past weekend at Hawaii. There’s not much reason for the committee to move them up or down much.

Penn State Nittany Lions (6-3)

Ohio State vs. Penn State: Behind enemy lines with Nittany Lions Wire
Ohio State vs. Penn State: Behind enemy lines with Nittany Lions Wire

Oct 23, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) runs with the ball against the Illinois Fighting Illini during overtime at Beaver Stadium. Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

Penn State deserved to be ranked last week and should also be ranked this week. Remember, the committee is supposed to take into account injuries. Why then weren’t the Nittany included last week since two of their losses were directly a result of starting quarterback Sean Clifford hampered severely? I think the committee rights a wrong and puts Penn State in the top 25 this week.

Pittsburgh Panthers (7-2)

Nov 21, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi reacts on the field before playing the Virginia Tech Hokies at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 47-14. Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

The ACC may be a major disappointment this season, but Pittsburgh has a high-flying offense with a quarterback that can sling it around. There are only two losses, but no wins over a ranked team. This feels about right for where the Panthers might move up to after a win Saturday.

Iowa Hawkeyes (7-2)

Big Ten football Week 7 television schedule, key facts | Buckeyes Wire
Big Ten football Week 7 television schedule, key facts | Buckeyes Wire

Iowa freshman wide receiver Keagan Johnson (No. 6, left) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against Colorado State at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa, on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

Iowa isn’t what we thought it was through the first six games of the year, but it’s still a team with some good wins, and that only has two losses in one of the best Power Five conferences out there. The Hawkeyes should still be around here for now.

Wisconsin Badgers (6-3)

Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz (5) scores a touchdown in the second quarter against Army, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK

Why the ranking?

Wisconsin looks like a team on the rise and will most likely continue to gain momentum as these rankings go on. However, three losses stick out and because of that, it’s hard to move the Badgers up much further than here at this point.

Auburn Tigers (6-3)

Aug 31, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Auburn Tigers mascot Aubie the Tiger celebrates with cheerleaders after the victory against the Oregon Ducks at AT&T Stadium. Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

Auburn’s resume is similar to Wisconsin’s but there are wins over a couple of teams the committee has more respect for. That will probably bump the Tigers over the Badgers for now. Oh, and … SEC.

Baylor Bears (7-2)

Oct 30, 2021; Waco, Texas, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Gerry Bohanon (11) celebrates a 31-24 win over the Texas Longhorns during an NCAA football game at McLane Stadium. Credit: Stephen Spillman-USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

The question here is how far does the committee drop Baylor after a bad loss to a TCU team that’s under .500. We say that’s a big deal and the Bears fall quite a few spots and land right about here. Before that, Baylor was even getting some mentions for a dark horse to crash the CFP party. That opportunity left Waco after Saturday.

NC State (7-2)

Oct 30, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack defensive players celebrate a turnover on downs by the Louisville Cardinals during the second half at Carter-Finley Stadium. The Wolfpack won 28-13. Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

NC State should probably be getting more love than what it has thus far in 2021. Both of the Wolfpack’s losses have come on the road, and besides that, they’ve looked pretty dominant. The problem is that the ACC is just not that good this year, not even Clemson.

Ole Miss Rebels (7-2)

Mississippi quarterback Matt Corral (2) during a football game between Tennessee and Ole Miss at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

Ole Miss is 7-2 and a team in the Southeastern Conference. You can be sure that alone has the committee’s attention. Never mind the fact that the Rebels have yet to beat a team that is currently ranked. They’ll get their chance this upcoming week against Texas A&M. Win, and watch Ole Miss rise up the rankings at breakneck speed.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons (8-1)

Sept. 30, 2017; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; A closeup view of a Wake Forest Demon Deacons helmet during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at BB&T Field. Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

Wake Forest was likely the lone remaining chance of the ACC getting a team into the College Football Playoff. However, the loss to UNC in combination with not having a chance to beat anyone ranked to date ends that chance and likely slides the Demon Deacons down to around here.

BYU Cougars (8-2)

Oct 30, 2021; Provo, Utah, USA; Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) runs in for a fourth-quarter touchdown against the Virginia Cavaliers at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

There’s not much reason to move BYU from where the CFP Committee had it last week. There are still some good wins against the Power Five teams like Utah and Arizona State that separate the Cougars from other Group of Five teams. There’s a ceiling though.

Texas A&M (7-2)

Sep 4, 2021; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies running back Devon Achane (6) celebrates his touchdown in the third quarter against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Kyle Field. Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

Texas A&M started out slow in 2021 but then jumped on the committee and everyone else’s radar by beating Alabama. And … we all know how everything is graded on a Crimson Tide curve. Believe it or not, with two losses, A&M still has an outside shot to crash the party and will probably be the highest-ranked two-loss team.

Oklahoma State (8-1)

Oct 30, 2021; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy looks up at the scoreboard during the fourth quarter against Kansas Jayhawks at Boone Pickens Stadium. Oklahoma State won 55-3. Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

It might feel like Oklahoma State isn’t getting much respect from the Committee, but it’s in a good position to move up if it can start to get those quality wins still remaining on the schedule. Look for the Cowboys to slide up a spot because of the Wake Forest loss, but that’s it for now.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-1)

Sep 25, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly instructs players during the first half against the Wisconsin Badgers at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

Likewise, I think Notre Dame moves up one spot this week above Wake Forest because of the loss by the Demon Deacons. The Irish are going to have a hard time getting into the final four with what’s left, but it’s there should mass chaos breaks out. The resume is pretty good, but the loss to Cincinnati is a killer.

Oklahoma Sooners (9-0)

Sep 4, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooner’s placekicker Gabe Brkic (47) celebrates with teammates during the second half against the Tulane Green Wave at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

The Sooners should without a doubt be higher than this as an undefeated Power Five team, but I doubt the committee moves Oklahoma up while on a bye-week unless it drops Michigan State way down.

Michigan Wolverines (8-1)

Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97), linebacker Josh Ross (12), and defensive tackle Christopher Hinton (15) get ready during second-half action against the Western Michigan Broncos Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021.

Why the ranking?

Michigan continues to look like a team that can make some noise in this whole thing, but the head-to-head has to come in play for Michigan State, meaning the Wolverines probably don’t rise above where they were last week.

Cincinnati Bearcats (9-0)

Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell leads the Cincinnati Bearcats onto the field to warm up before the NCAA football game between Cincinnati Bearcats and Murray State Racers on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

There is going to be a push in the room to move Cincinnati down even further after another subpar performance on Saturday. At the end of the day though, the Bearcats are still 9-0 and have that win over Notre Dame. I think collectively, there’s no movement this week. I could be wrong. We’ll see.

Ohio State Buckeyes (8-1)

Big Ten football power rankings after Week 10 | Buckeyes Wire
Big Ten football power rankings after Week 10 | Buckeyes Wire

Nov 6, 2021; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) looks downfield during the third quarter against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium. Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

The committee has already laid the groundwork for Oregon being ahead of the Buckeyes because of the head-to-head, and really, it’s the right thing to do with resumes that are so similar. Ohio State will probably slide up a spot after Michigan Stat’s loss and now be in the top four, just behind the Ducks.

Oregon Ducks (8-1)

What Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said about Ohio State postgame
What Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said about Ohio State postgame

Sep 11, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Oregon Ducks head coach Mario Cristobal during the second quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

There’s the bad loss to Stanford, but the win over Ohio State trumps any other victory any team has to date. There could be a case made for the Ducks moving up to No. 2, but remember — everything is graded on an Alabama curve. I’ll be really surprised if the committee moves the Tide out of the No. 2 spot, especially with the teams behind it not looking all that impressive either.

Alabama Crimson Tide (8-1)

Jan 1, 2020; Orlando, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide mascot Big Al entertains the fans before the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Camping World Stadium. Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

People are going to break things when Alabama still sits at No. 2, but I don’t know how the Committee can rationalize moving the Tide down with what we saw behind it last Saturday. In reality, ‘Bama never should have been this high upon the first rankings, but here we are.

Georgia Bulldogs (9-0)

Dec 12, 2020; Columbia, Missouri, USA; A detailed view of a Georgia Bulldogs helmet during the second half against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Why the ranking?

What can we say? Nothing really. Georgia is the unquestioned No. 1 right now and it’s looking like the Bulldogs are earmarked for the College Football Playoff.

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