With the third edition of the College Football Playoff Rankings set to be released, the Campus Insiders team projects what Nos. 2-6 will look like.
2. Ohio State – Should they miss the Big Ten Championship Game, the Buckeyes might just benefit. It’s one less game to play, and there’s no way the committee holds them out considering they will have beaten Michigan and waxed Oklahoma in Norman. One blocked kick isn’t enough to keep Urban Meyer out of the College Football Playoff.
3. Louisville – The committee likes the eye test, and Lamar Jackson’s play is about as pretty as it comes. Having taken down their last two opponents by the combined score of 96-19, this spot belongs to the Cardinals.
4. Michigan – Jim Harbaugh’s team has the best defense in the land. We don’t yet know what the team looks like without Wilton Speight guiding the offense, so his injury shouldn’t weigh on this decision.
5. Washington – The Huskies probably had the least-bad loss of the past weekend. It wasn’t as close as Michigan or Clemson’s defeats, but USC is a much, much better opponent than either Iowa or Pittsburgh.
6. Clemson – The Tigers have been playing with fire all season, and it finally burned them. Running through the remainder of the season without a defeat would jump Dabo Swinney’s team into the top 4. Right now Clemson suffers a one-week penalty for losing to an opponent it should have beaten handily.
2. Ohio State – Curtis Samuel is electrifying and J.T. Barrett is a Heisman-caliber player. As long as the Buckeyes win out, they’ll be fine.
3. Louisville – Despite the fact they’ve teetered a little bit in some close games, as long as Lamar Jackson is the quarterback of the team, Louisville has a shot. The Cardinals aren’t as complete of a team as the Buckeyes, but they can put up points in a hurry.
4. Clemson – Yes, the Tigers lost, but they should still cruise to an ACC title, and Deshaun Watson is still a monster. Clemson lost some key pieces from last year’s roster — specifically on defense — but it still has playmakers. With Wayne Gallman and Mike Williams there, Watson will keep putting up points.
5. Wisconsin – Defense wins championships, and defense is going to be what keeps the Badgers contending. Oh, and Corey Clement is kind of talented in that backfield.
6. Michigan – Wilton Speight may miss the rest of the season, and we have no idea whether or not John O’Korn can realistically lead this team. Michigan has the defense to contend, but I need to see what O’Korn can do in a full game against a top-notch opponent.
2. Ohio State – The Buckeyes’ sole loss is on the road to a team that is highly valued by the College Football Playoff committee (Penn State).
3. Louisville – The Cardinals are ranked ahead of Clemson despite the Tigers owning the head-to-head win. If the Tigers win the ACC crown, though, expect Dabo Swinney and Co. to overtake the Cards.
4. Michigan – The Wolverines won’t drop too far because of a close loss on the road. There may now be a quarterback issue in Ann Arbor. Can the defense and special teams take some of the load off of the offense moving forward?
5. Clemson – The Tigers fell at home to Pitt, which means nothing is automatic in terms of the College Football Playoff. A one-loss ACC champ should have no problem getting into the dance, though.
6. Wisconsin – Sure, the Badgers have two losses. But they came against Ohio State and Michigan, two of the nation’s best teams, in close contests. Paul Chryst and Co. may ultimately have a say in this year’s CFP race.
*I have been a proponent of Washington being in the College Football Playoff mix since the initial rankings. I think the Huskies may drop to No. 7 this week, but they still have a chance to move up with a closing kick and could still win the Pac-12. So, don’t hate me Seattle.
2. Ohio State – It’s as if the Penn State loss never happened. Ohio State doesn’t even need to play in the B1G title game to get into the College Football Playoff.
3. Louisville – More proof that an earlier loss doesn’t do much to hinder an elite team from playing for a national title. Especially if that loss came to another elite squad.
4. Clemson – I don’t believe both Louisville and Clemson will make it. I just believe this is how the CFP committee sees it now.
5. Washington – USC is on a roll, and hopefully the committee takes that into account.
6. Michigan – I would’ve had the Wolverines at No. 4 had it not been for the Wilton Speight news. The committee will want Michigan to prove it can win without its starting quarterback, if that is indeed the case.
2. Ohio State – Win out, and they are in the College Football Playoff, and it could come with an extra week of rest if Penn State plays in the Big Ten title game.
3. Louisville – Let’s all hope we get to see Lamar Jackson face off against Alabama’s defense.
4. Michigan – The Wolverines are in a tough spot if quarterback Wilton Speight is actually sidelined for the season – Jim Harbaugh has refuted earlier reports – especially with a trip to Ohio State looming.
5. Wisconsin – Great defense. Lackluster offense. That won’t get it done in the College Football Playoff.
6. Clemson – Living on the edge finally caught up with the Tigers.