Projecting this week’s College Football Playoff Rankings

·5 min read

10 weeks of college football have come and gone in 2021 and although plenty of the preseason favorites have played at or close enough to their preseason expectations to be in the thick of the race (looking at you Georgia, Alabama, Oregon, and Ohio State) for the College Football Playoff, several have not (what’s up Clemson, Florida, Iowa State, and plenty of others?)

What will the second week of the College Football Playoff rankings look like after eight ranked teams fell this past weekend?

Kirk Herbstreit shared his new top-six on Sunday and despite ESPN’s College Gameday being at Cincinnati this past weekend for their homecoming game, Herbstreit dropped them from his top-six after he ranked them fifth a week ago.

That’s only one man’s opinion but it seems like Cincinnati was one of the biggest losers of the weekend despite being victorious. With all of that in mind here is my best guess at what the next set of rankings will look like when they’re revealed on Tuesday night:


Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

25. Purdue
24. San Diego State
23. Penn State
22. Kentucky
21. Mississippi State

Minnesota (previously 20) and Fresno State (23) fall out and are replaced by a pair of Big Ten teams because, why wouldn’t they be? Purdue has two wins over ranked opponents to their names after knocking off Michigan State and them being ranked also helps the committee justify Ohio State’s ranking later on. As does Penn State who reenters after improving to 6-3 with a win over Maryland. UTSA should be ranked as they’re now 9-0 but if they weren’t last week why should I think they will be this week?


Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

20. Pitt
19. Iowa
18. Auburn
17. Wisconsin
16. NC State

Wisconsin started just 1-3 but has won five in a row since, including this week’s drubbing of Rutgers. The Badgers have improved significantly and the committee takes notice. Auburn falls after getting it handed to them at Texas A&M but my guess is they remain in the top-20, because, SEC, why wouldn’t they? NC State creeps closer to the top 15 after a road win at Florida State and moving to 7-2.


Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

15. Baylor
14. BYU
13. Wake Forest
12. Ole Miss
11. Texas A&M

How far does Baylor fall? With it being close and on the road I’m guessing not a ton. They’re not a challenger for the CFP at 15 this week but they still get recognized in the moment as an impressive win if Oklahoma stays unbeaten when they meet this week. I only had Wake Forest falling four spots with their loss being so close but they’re a wild card as I could see the committee burying them in the late teens for losing to an underachieving North Carolina squad. I’m also waiting for the committee to bump Texas A&M over Oklahoma State and Notre Dame before much longer in order to sell Alabama’s defeat better.

10. Oklahoma State

Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

An easy road win against West Virginia did nothing to harm the Cowboys. They get rewarded with a top 10 spot as Wake Forest will fall out.

9. Notre Dame

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Notre Dame won easily against Navy to move to 8-1 and moves up thanks to that Wake Forest loss but still requires the planets to align in order to make the CFP.

8. Michigan State

Photo Courtesy of Detroit Free Press

Michigan State has a win over Michigan and as long as both sit with one loss I feel the winner of their matchup should be ranked higher. The key word there is should and I’ll bet the Spartans fall behind Michigan as a result of that loss coming to a three-loss Purdue team, even if the Boilermakers do end up ranked this week.

7. Oklahoma


Oklahoma had their bye week this week and I’m guessing they get the benefit of the doubt and pass Michigan State this week after the Spartans disappointing showing at Purdue.

6. Michigan


Michigan was ninth last week and they won easily against now 3-6 Indiana. I’m not saying I would move them up this high, I wouldn’t as I’m still waiting on an answer for the good team they’ve beaten (besides themselves against Michigan State), but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if they’re even ranked ahead of Cincinnati this week.

Heck, Kirk Herbstreit already did as much.

5. Cincinnati

Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t think the committee will be the complete Grinch to Cincinnati this week and keeps them at six with Michigan State’s loss, but none of us should really be surprised if they do, either.

Again, I’d personally have Cincinnati in my top-four as they’re undefeated and their huge win came against a top-10 team that is otherwise unbeaten, and just so happens to be a team that has played in two of the last three CFP.

4. Ohio State


It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win against Nebraska. Plenty of teams can say that this year and the Buckeyes move up with the Michigan State loss.

3. Oregon

Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Again, it was hardly sexy but it was a road win in a difficult place to play (usually). Oregon isn’t getting punished for that and takes over for Michigan State at three.

2. Alabama

Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Would any other one-loss team with narrow escapes against a pair of teams that have combined to go 8-10 get the benefit of the doubt and the number two ranking? That’s Alabama this week and I’d bet my left hand they stay at two despite an unimpressive showing against a struggling LSU squad.

1. Georgia

USA TODAY Network – Joshua L Jones

Easy pickings again at number one after Georgia cruised in crushing Missouri.

Related Links:

College Football Playoff trophy
College Football Playoff trophy

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

CFP Rankings: Eight ranked teams fall this weekend

Kirk Herbstreit reveals his new top-six and Cincinnati isn’t there

ESPN’s updated top ten power rankings following Week 10