SRZ Special: CFP Week 2 Rankings Predictions

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Ahead of the second rankings of 2017, the Spartan Red Zone crew offers their top four teams in the country. Not much has changed at the top, but MSU’s win over Penn State coupled with Ohio State getting blown out in Iowa City, the teams waiting for a top-four spot are coming down to the wire with just three weeks left in the regular season.

Zachary Swiecicki (@zachswies)

  1. Georgia
  2. Alabama
  3. Notre Dame
  4. Clemson

Bubble: Oklahoma, Miami, Wisconsin, TCU

The top five should not change. All five teams won, some more convincingly than others, but none impressive enough to shake up the rankings. Notre Dame struggled to put away Wake Forest and Oklahoma saw Baker Mayfield become the new Heisman favorite after a 598-yard, two-touchdown performance in Bedlam, but again, nothing crazy enough to move teams around.

The biggest changes from the past week should be in the 6-15 range, with Ohio State, Penn State, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech and Iowa State all losing.

There seems to be three distinct tiers now: 1) UGA, Bama, ND, Clemson 2) OU, Miami, Wisconsin 3) TCU, Washington, Auburn. Following records, resumes, and eye tests, a team in a lower tier would need the dominoes to fall into place for a chance to move up a tier.

Some of those dominoes could tip this coming week. Upset-minded Auburn hosts Georgia. The Fighting Irish face the undefeated Hurricanes in Miami. Alabama travels to Mississippi State. Oklahoma plays TCU. And Wisconsin hosts red-hot Iowa.

Joey Ellis (@jellis1016)

  1. Georgia
  2. Alabama
  3. Notre Dame
  4. Clemson

Bubble: Oklahoma, TCU, Miami, Wisconsin

Oklahoma is steadily climbing the CFP ranks with a wild Bedlam win in Stillwater over Oklahoma State. Outside of Georgia, the Sooners still hold the best non-conference win in the country against Ohio State and have a pivotal Big 12 showdown this week when they host TCU. If OU wins out, winning the Big 12 Championship game against presumably TCU, the Sooners have a great case to be one of the four top teams.

TCU is in a similar boat to the Sooners. The Horned Frogs control their Big 12 destiny as they head to Norman this week for a huge clash with Oklahoma. The Frogs have already beaten OSU and their lone loss to Iowa State — which doesn’t look nearly as bad as it did at the time — is nothing to hang their hat on. It’s rather simple for TCU to have a shot at the playoff, win out the rest of the way and hope for slip-ups from teams ahead of them.

Many people aren’t exactly sure what to make of Miami, but the Canes throttled 13th-ranked Virginia Tech in their most impressing showing of the season. Miami has a huge matchup this week when they host third ranked Notre Dame, and has a great chance to add a signature win before facing Clemson in the ACC title game. Miami needs to win out to contend for the playoff.

With Ohio State and Penn State going down this past weekend, Wisconsin is the Big Ten’s last saving grace to represent the conference in the playoff. While a weak resume is the easy knock on the Badgers, the committee would have an awfully hard time keeping out an undefeated and Big Ten champ power-five team, if they were to take down Ohio State or Michigan State in Indianapolis.  

Kyle Turk (@KyleTurk5)

  1. Georgia
  2. Alabama
  3. Notre Dame
  4. Clemson

Bubble: Oklahoma, UCF, Wisconsin, Miami, Washington

I have half a mind to move the Sooners into the No. 4 spot following their win at Oklahoma State, but Clemson’s win over NC State was solid, and shows their championship mettle. There’s still the chance that a loss is out there somewhere on their schedule, probably in the ACC title game. Meanwhile, Miami  could do themselves, and quite a few teams, a favor by beating Notre Dame this weekend.

UCF was criminally underrated as the No. 18 team in the nation last week. The schedule they’ve played is not much better than Alabama or Wisconsin, but they’ve made a lot of their wins look easy. They deserve to be a top-ten team, but I have a feeling the committee will underrate them for the rest of the season.

As Joey mentioned, it seems as though Wisconsin is the Big Ten’s best shot at a Playoff team. Ohio State or Michigan State might be in the conversation if they win out, but there’s a lot of teams in the way. If the Big 12 and Pac-12 both shoot themselves in the foot, there’s a possibility that the winner of MSU-OSU has a road to the Playoff, but Wisconsin seems like the safer bet.

Andy Chmura (@andy_chmura)

  1. Georgia
  2. Alabama
  3. Notre Dame
  4. Clemson

Bubble: Oklahoma, Miami, Wisconsin, TCU

I still think the Sooners have a strong case as the No. 4 team in the nation, especially with a big-time Bedlam win. They’re also still riding one of the biggest road wins in the country over Ohio State, although a shocking Buckeye loss to Iowa somewhat depletes that victory. In spite of Oklahoma’s success last week, Clemson finding a way to get it done on the road against NC State will be enough to keep them in Playoff territory.

One of the most interesting teams in the Playoff race is Notre Dame. The Irish have just about as difficult of a schedule as anyone can imagine, but without a conference championship, they will never make the Playoff as a two-loss team. The Irish have three tough games remaining against Miami, Navy and Stanford and they need to find a way to top all three of them to secure their spot in the Playoff.

Wisconsin survives as probably the Big Ten’s last chance at a Playoff berth. A Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis would be their only signature win, but there’s one problem. The stacked Big Ten East continue to beat each other up, leaving the Badgers’ “signature” win opportunity perhaps not so signature. Miami is still riding a fairly easy schedule, but a win against Notre Dame and Clemson in the ACC Championship Game would unquestionably put them over the top provided they remain unbeaten.