November 30, 2022

College Football Playoff Rankings prediction: Georgia takes No. 1 from Tennessee, LSU may have a ceiling

CBS Sports graphic There were some significant results coming out of Week 10 that will…

CBS Sports graphic

There were some significant results coming out of Week 10 that will shake up the top of this season’s second College Football Playoff Rankings, not the least of which was No. 1 Tennessee losing at No. 3 Georgia. No. 4 Clemson lost as well, No. 2 Ohio State was pushed by Northwestern, and No. 10 LSU upset No. 6 Alabama. Will the CFP Selection Committee overreact to those results? Why wait and see?

With four weeks left in the regular season, we are here to predict what the top 25 will look like when the committee announces its field Tuesday night. It is a warmup act for the warmup act, which is every edition of the CFP Rankings before the final one comes out after conference championship Saturday.

Before we get to the rankings themselves, here’s a refresher listing some of key points the committee members consider when deciding a team’s ranking beyond their on-field record:

  • Strength of schedule
  • Conference championships (when decided)
  • Head-to-head
  • Results vs. common opponents
  • Results vs. ranked opponents

Thankfully, the committee’s definition of “ranked opponents” is different than what you’re used to seeing. The rankings they use are the prior week’s CFP Rankings. They do not consider where teams are ranked when the games were played either in the CFP, AP Top 25, etc. Using game-time rankings is the most worthless way to determine “ranked opponents;” in fact, the committee specifically forbids the use of any poll that has a preseason starting point.

However, because this is the first week of the CFP Rankings, technically no team has a win over a ranked opponent. I’m sure the committee can discern which teams are of higher quality on a schedule without referring to a list.

Notice that “game control” is not listed in the criteria. It never has been considered despite the term (or similar concepts) coming out of the mouth of the committee chairman at times the last few full seasons. (The CFP does not have a way to measure “game control” — I’ve seen the data the committee uses — but let’s not kid ourselves: They do talk about it.)

With all that in mind, here is how the CFP Rankings will look this week. Keep in mind: This is not necessarily how I would vote if I were on the committee. I am merely predicting what they will do Tuesday night.

Note: This projection is based only on results to this point. It does not reflect the final forecast for the playoff. The complete bowl playoff and bowl projections through the end of the season can be found here.

College Football Playoff Rankings prediction