The important thing to remember about early college football playoffs is that they are meaningless.
The home-or-break matchups that will determine the pursuit of the national championship are coming fast and furious with a must-see matchup this Saturday between No. 1 Tennessee and No. 3 Georgia.
Later in November, the Big Ten will be decided between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 5 Michigan, the crowded race in the Pac-12 will be cut down to one or two teams, and the Big 12 will offer either undefeated. A champion to include in the finals or home in the New Year’s Six bowl slate.
The history of the competition format tells us that all answers will be submitted on the first Sunday of December.
For now, all we can glean from the early stages of the 2022 season is that the committee loves the SEC — no surprise, obviously. The committee ranked No. 7 TCU lower and No. 4 Clemson higher than voters in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll.
Follow each game. Live NCAA college football scores
First steps:Tennessee leads Ohio State in the early stages.
Bowl Predictions:A loss doesn’t hurt Georgia, Tennessee’s chances in the College Football Playoff.
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These teams and conferences lead the list of winners and losers from the first round of the playoffs:
Okay, let’s call them. Tennessee is ranked No. 1, and it’s no surprise. The Volunteers have had a great season and can clinch the top spot with a win on Saturday against the Bulldogs, who are ranked No. 3. Alabama is No. 6, as the highest one-loss team entering Saturday’s game. No. 10 LSU, a top-ranked team with two losses. Right behind the Tigers is No. 11 Mississippi. So, to summarize: of the top 11 teams in the rankings, five are from the SEC. The league has several ways to qualify two teams.
Clemson and the ACC
Clemson wasn’t as bad for the ACC as it had been led to believe since coming in ahead of Michigan to finish in the top four. With the easiest remaining schedule of any of the top playoff contenders, the Tigers should feel very positive about their chances of returning to the semifinals after a one-year absence. Clemson comes in at No. 4 with wins over three other ACC teams: No. 20 Syracuse, No. 21 Wake Forest and No. 22 North Carolina State. (North Carolina was the fifth ACC representative at No. 17.) The committee celebrates the conference’s top-three finish and how Clemson rose to the top of the league.
Tulane is ranked first among five teams at No. 19, thanks in large part to a win over Conference 13 Kansas State. The Green Wave are still the only undefeated team in American play, with two crucial November matchups against defending conference champion Cincinnati and No. 25 Central Florida, the other Group of Five team in the rankings. Being in the driver’s seat for a Bowl bid could give Tulane plenty of room for error, and a loss in either of those two games won’t prevent the Green Wave from finishing out front if they get revenge in the American Conference championship game. of the package.
Dropping to No. 7 in the original rankings shows the obstacles TCU will face in reaching the national semifinals. Although the Horned Frogs have a strong case to finish ahead of No. 5 Michigan and No. 4 Clemson, it’s one thing to come in behind several other undefeated teams from the Power Five. Here’s what really hurts: TCU is one spot behind the Crimson Tide. This shows the committee’s love for the SEC and how at least one, and possibly two, one-loss teams from the conference are ahead of even the undefeated Horned Frogs the rest of the way. TCU needs help climbing the ladder and cracking the top four.
It’s splitting hairs to argue too much about the relative importance of No. 12 UCLA and No. 9 Southern California, both of whom won the Pac-12 by one loss and seem unlikely to finish in the top four. Still, finding the Trojans ahead of the rival Bruins seems to ignore the strength of each team’s resume and schedule. USC has one win against a team with a winning record, No. 23 Oregon State. UCLA has three: South Alabama, Washington and No. 14 Utah. While the Bruins only have one road win, that win over Utah is one of the best by any losing team.