Fresno State is the only other Group of Five team in the rankings.
It would be extremely hard for the committee to keep out an Alabama team that, through eight weeks, looks like the clear best team in the country.
Alabama and Clemson are Nos.
The Rose Bowl presented by Northwestern Mutual is a contract bowl which historically pits the Big Ten champ against the Pac-12 champ, which is projected in this ranking to be No. 5 MI against No. 8 Washington State. And the Irish haven't lost. The offense is sometimes bottom 10. Most notably, Kentucky will face a big test and host Georgia this weekend.
Both teams were ranked higher by the committee than by other polls. "Kentucky has a quality resume". Texas will trail Oklahoma and West Virginia in the Playoff rankings, but it'll be a good ways outside of the top 10. Ohio State (7-1) may have dropped a tough loss on the road to Purdue, but the Buckeyes find themselves at No. 10.
In 2015 and '16, two teams in the committee's first four made the playoff. So now, the Fighting Irish's three wins over teams with a +.500 record (Michigan, Virginia Tech and Stanford) don't mean as much as LSU's six (Miami, Auburn, Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss, Georgia and Mississippi State). We'll find out what the top 25 looks like heading into the final month of the season. Oklahoma 8. Washington State 9. What's the argument for Kentucky ahead of UCF right now?
Despite being 6-2 and being just a few plays away from an undefeated record, it didn't feel like the Iowa football team was getting the love they deserved.
As Pete Thamel noted Tuesday night, UCF is starting five spots higher than it did in 2017.
Based on the opening playoff rankings, it appears the committee highly values how the losing opponents of the playoff hopefuls fare throughout the season. The next teams to follow should be some mix of the Michigan Wolverines, LSU Tigers, Georgia Bulldogs, and the Oklahoma Sooners.
We then have undefeated UCF - who has yet to play a team with a winning record - sitting comfortably at No. 12, just waiting for any or all of those one-loss teams to stumble. But the Cougars are averaging almost 50 points per game and D'Eriq King is emerging as a legitimate Heisman sleeper.
But after the rankings were released, experts and fans alike were speculating best- and worst-case scenarios for their teams. We'd argue the former. The CFP committee selected Alabama over the Big Ten champion in that scenario, but this year would be much different.