The first set of CFB Playoff rankings are out. The SEC is represented well at the top, as the Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide made the Top 4. Not only that, but they’re also the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country now.
The rest of the conference might be down, but its top two teams are carrying the flag right now. And you should expect that trend to continue.
Here’s what we can take away from this.
If everything holds, #1 vs. #2 may happen in December
You won’t find many arguing with you that UGA and Alabama are the two best teams in the country. Georgia has put together a terrific resume, which will be improved upon as the season progresses. Alabama still has plenty of opportunities in front of them, and they’re so far ahead of everyone in the SEC West.
And to that point? We might have ourselves a defacto playoff game in Atlanta. Georgia and Alabama are the frontrunners to win their respective divisions at this point. Unless something dramatic happens, there’s a damn good chance that both represent their respective divisions in the SEC Championship Game. And with the way things look, it might very well be #1 vs. #2. That would be quite the show, eh?
Georgia’s impressive resume put them at the top, and they might stay there for a while
At the time, UGA’s win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in September was damn impressive. But ND was going through some struggles. Now, though, with the Fighting Irish looking better each week, Georgia’s W looks better and better with each passing game. They’re the only team in the country besides the Oklahoma Sooners who have a win against a Top 6 team right now — and Notre Dame is ranked 3rd. The Sooners, of course, lost at home to the Iowa State Cyclones.
The Ohio State Buckeyes have a win against a Top 10 team — Penn State — but it’s fair to say that UGA might have the most impressive win against anyone this season. That, combined with their clubbing of the Mississippi State Bulldogs puts them ahead of everyone. And with the Irish continuing to succeed, that victory in South Bend puts the ‘Dawgs in the driver’s seat going forward. They might stick around there for a while, too.
With all that said... a lot of time is left, and a LOT can change
In the last three years, five teams have been able to stick through the Top 4 from bell to bell. The Florida State Seminoles did it in 2014, and Alabama and the Clemson Tigers pulled it off in the last two years. In fact, ‘Bama and Clemson went wire-to-wire as the #1 teams in the last two seasons, too.
But apart from that? There’s been a lot of volatility. Two teams who were in the Top 4 in the first rankings were out of the polls by the fourth. That being the 2015 LSU Tigers and 2016 Texas A&M Aggies. The Aggies weren’t even in the Top 25 from Weeks 4-6 last year. LSU made its way back, but finished at 20th in the final rankings.
The Michigan Wolverines hung at No. 3 for four weeks last year, but after their loss to Ohio State, they weren’t able to recover and stood outside at 6th by season’s end.
To that point, no team that’s started #3 has EVER made the CFB Playoff.
And then of course there was the wacky 2014, where three of the Top 4 in the first rankings couldn’t make the final. The two Mississippi teams — State and the Ole Miss Rebels — finished Top 10, but were at 7th and 9th. Auburn dropped all the way to 19th after holding the 3-spot for two weeks, going from 9th to 14th, then 15th to 19th, where they’d stay.
And remember: In the last three years, there’ve been at least two teams outside the Top 4 who have wound up making the CFB Playoff. Your team that’s hanging around, or even down in the teens, may still have a chance to make a run.