Georgia Bulldogs, led by former Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, come in the initial rankings as well at 1. Georgia actually has a more impressive resume to date than Alabama, thanks to beating Notre Dame who has enjoyed a resurgence this season under Brian Kelly and beating then #17 Mississippi State. Georgia has a chance to ruin the Tide’s season twice: first by beating Auburn before the Tide do, which could knock the Tigers from the rankings then they will get their shot at the Tide in the SEC Championship Game.
The playoff committee has released their initial rankings and after a few years of understanding what the committee is looking for, the rankings aren’t all that surprising. Alabama Crimson Tide, the humongous death star that hovers over the college football world is in the rankings at 2. Did you know that Alabama was not ranked in the initial college football playoff rankings? The first three weeks, Alabama was on the outside looking in. On week 13 of the 2014 season, Alabama jumped to the #1 slot and has been ranked every week since.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are also listed 3 in the rankings as the Irish lost a nail-biter to Georgia 20-19 in the second week of the season. Since then, the Irish have beaten then unranked Michigan State Spartans, who are now ranked #24 in the country, along with #11 USC Trojans and upstart #14 NC State Wolfpack in consecutive weeks. The Irish have one of the hardest roads ahead as they still have to travel to #9 Miami Hurricanes and #18 Stanford Cardinals. If the Irish win out, they will for once have earned their status at the head of the table.
The Clemson Tigers are in a great position to defend their national title from last season after being ranked 4 in the committee’s top four. Clemson, who was replacing 2015 ACC Offensive Player of the Year in DeShaun Watson after he was drafted #12 by the Houston Texans, have quietly slid beneath the radar of most people despite averaging over 32 points per game. Clemson has three wins over top-15 opponents this season already and takes on #20 NC State this weekend and could earn a top 10 win over Miami in the ACC Championship Game.