College Football Playoff rankings 2017: Predicting 1st updated top 25

The College Football Playoff committee’s first update to its top 25 releases Tuesday night around 7:15 p.m. ET. It’ll look something like this.

Don’t see any reason for UGA to fall. The Dawgs added a comfortable win over a 6-3 South Carolina and saw their road win over Notre Dame continue to gain value.

The committee reportedly debated No. 1 for quite a while last week, and that was before Bama finally beat a good team (LSU). It’s easy to argue Nick Saban’s got the best team, but how do you do that based only on evidence from the 2017 season so far? (OK, fine, many of the numbers agree.)

Subplot: will the committee say at any point whether it’s thinking of Florida State as a decent win? It factors injuries, and the Noles lost starting QB Deondre Francois after Bama had already taken control in Week 1. It’d be hard to present 2017-specific evidence that FSU would be a really good team even with Francois, though, unless you give FSU credit for his 2016.

The Irish had a great Week 10. Beating a likely bowl-bound Wake Forest by 11 despite injuries to QB Brandon Wimbush and RB Josh Adams was nice, but even bigger was what happened to the rest of Notre Dame’s schedule.

USC all but won the Pac-12 North, Michigan State stole a shot to win the Big Ten East, and this week’s trip to Miami is now against the likely ACC Coastal champ. NC State lost, but impressed against Clemson and could remain ranked (noteworthy here that the Irish beat the Wolfpack comfortably; the committee can factor performances against common opponents). Navy and Stanford lost, but this was a net positive for ND.

Both beat ranked teams in road shootouts. Both also saw their schedules take dings; Clemson’s W over Virginia Tech is a little less impressive now, as is Oklahoma’s over Ohio State.

Clemson’s win over Auburn is still holding up well, and Clemson doesn’t have OU’s bunch of one-score wins against ehh teams. Also, the committee has verbally indicated it prefers teams with offense/defense balances; OU is about as imbalanced as you can get.

A little more respect for the rest of the Power 5 unbeatens.

Wisconsin could rank ahead of Miami, despite the Canes picking up a top-20 win, because UW’s won much more comfortably and has a slowly improving schedule. Northwestern and FAU have become decent wins.

Miami’s wins over VT and Toledo are much better, though.

TCU’s win at Oklahoma State and close loss at Iowa State both lost a little shine in Week 10, but the Frogs are in fine shape.

Auburn and Penn State are similar, each with lots of comfortable wins and two close losses on the road to ranked teams.

One-loss Washington’s schedule is a liability, but UW should be getting credit for having an elite defense.

Two-loss club!

I think MSU should be higher than this, based on its wins, but this is already a huge jump. MSU might have as many ranked wins as anybody, depending on Iowa and Michigan, with losses in overtime (at 6-3 Northwestern) and to the No. 3 team. Also in play: head-to-head over Penn State, if the committee decides the two are otherwise close.

USC’s only losses are on the road at No. 3 and on the road at Wazzu, with major injury issues throughout. The Trojans have a solid list of wins, but likely none in the top 25 this week.

I was hoping you’d stop reading this group before it became time to discuss Ohio State. Throwing the UCF smoke bomb now.

Let’s bump the Knights up a little! Added a road win over 6-3 SMU, nearly holding the Mustangs to a season low in scoring. Memphis win holding up well. We also might be close to counting that FIU blowout as a really nice win.

Two- and three-loss club!

It turns out ¡EL ASSICO! really was one of the year’s best and biggest games. What a time.

Iowa just dropped a beer truck on Ohio State and holds the head-to-head over ISU. Iowa State’s incredible wins over Oklahoma and TCU mean they can’t fall very far after losing close at 6-3 West Virginia, though.

Seem high for a couple three-loss teams? A 6-3 USC debuted at No. 20 in this week last year before beating Washington, with 6-3 Florida State at No. 18.

Re: LSU, how do you boot a team for slightly outgaining Alabama in a loss at Tuscaloosa? If these rankings happen to be right, LSU’s win over Auburn will be one of the 10 best wins of the year, based only on opponent.

MSU and VT have lost to the two best teams they played and spent Week 10 either losing or goofing around with UMass.

Wazzu holds a head-to-head over USC, just beat Stanford, and has a quietly impressive Boise State win, but has two blowout road losses.

Memphis was ranked last week, as I’d hoped. Wins over Navy and UCLA lost some juice, though.

As for the rest of this group? The 20s always feel like a grab bag. This week could make Wisconsin’s full schedule suddenly look decent or Clemson/Notre Dame look a little weaker or what have you, but these things fluctuate. Twenty-five is a pretty strange number of teams to rank, even though it’s traditional. Ranking 20 always feels like it’d be a little more natural, and if you go to 25, you might as well go to 30 or 40.

Source