The first College Football Playoff Rankings of the 2016 season have been released, and defending champ Alabama sits atop the top 25.
The 12-person selection committee tasked with the challenge of putting together the third College Football Playoff released its initial top 25 on Tuesday night, and the group selected Alabama as the best team thus far in the 2016 college football season.
Clemson, which finished as the national runner-up last year following the Tigers’ close loss to the Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff title game, checks in at No. 2 this week. Dabo Swinney’s squad has wins over Auburn, Louisville and Florida State, three teams that are in the top 22 this week.
Michigan is No. 3 in the initial College Football Playoff Rankings, as Jim Harbaugh’s squad has wins over Colorado, Penn State and Wisconsin, three top 15 teams this week. There’s no question that the Wolverines’ schedule is stronger than a lot of college football observers thought back in the preseason.
The real surprise of the night was one-loss Texas A&M checking in at No. 4 over Washington, which finished fifth this week. The Aggies, of course, have a loss to Alabama. However, Kevin Sumlin’s squad did have a third-quarter lead over the best team in the country.
Fans of Chris Petersen’s Huskies should not go into full-on panic mode. Keep in mind that a game with Washington State and a possible Pac-12 title game looms. So, an undefeated Washington team should be able to get placed above an A&M squad that has already played the toughest game on its schedule and lost.
Things are far from being set in stone. This is the first of six sets of rankings. What really matters is the final one, which is released on December 4. But if the season ended today, the matchups for the College Football Playoff would be No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Texas A&M in the Peach Bowl and No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl. The winners of those two semifinal matchups would meet in Tampa on January 9 for the national championship.
Of course, we all know that the College Football Playoff Rankings very likely will change. But, it’s always fun to debate about college football.
Top 25 College Football Playoff Rankings
4. Texas A&M
6. Ohio State
12. Penn State
18. Oklahoma State
19. Virginia Tech
20. West Virginia
21. North Carolina
22. Florida State
23. Western Michigan
24. Boise State
25. Washington State