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Quinn's Corner: And, the rankings are in...

Breaking down the first CFP rankings of 2017
Quinn's Corner: And, the rankings are in...
Posted at 1:35 PM, Nov 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-01 14:35:04-04

Tuesday night marked the release of the first College Football Playoff rankings for the 2017 season. There's obviously a lot of football left to be played, but here's some initial reactions to the opening top ten. 

1. Georgia - Sagarin SOS ranking: 51, AP ranking: 2

In the eyes of the committee, Georgia has the best win of the year thus far, on the road vs. Notre Dame. The Bulldogs haven't been pushed since their visit to South Bend, and really only have one tricky game left, Nov. 11 at Auburn. There's a strong chance they win the SEC East, and remain undefeated heading into the title game. 

I thought Alabama would debut at #1 based mainly on the eyeball test, but understand why the committee decided to give the 'Dawgs the nod. Although their Sagarin SOS numbers are similar, the win over the Irish gives Georgia the slight edge at the moment.

JQ's verdict: Spot on

2. Alabama - Sagarin SOS ranking: 55, AP ranking: 1

Bama will have plenty of chances to impress the committee going forward, with three games remaining against the committee's top-25 - LSU, @ Mississippi State, @ Auburn. What sets The Tide back at the moment is the complete tank job this year by Florida State. Had the Seminoles found themselves anywhere near the top-25, there's a chance Bama lands at number one. Still, if Saban's crew keeps winning in impressive fashion as they have all year, it won't be long before they find themselves on top. 

The fascinating scenario that could present itself - despite the overall strength of the league being down, would the committee ultimately take two teams from the SEC if Bama and Georgia both run the table, and play to an epic finish in the SEC title game? 

JQ's verdict: Spot on

3. Notre Dame - Sagarin SOS ranking: 12, AP ranking: 5

The Irish are where they're at because they've played one of the toughest schedules in the country, and have the best loss of the pack - a one point home defeat to Georgia. Two stout tests still remain - trips to both Miami and Stanford. Based on where they sit today, there's very little doubt the Irish will be in if they win out. 

Notre Dame's presence also complicates things for Power 5 leagues - if they do win out, there will be at least TWO conferences that won't have a representative. If the committee takes both Georgia and Alabama along with the Irish, that would mean THREE Power 5 leagues will be out. Would they actually make that move? 

JQ's verdict: Spot on

4. Clemson - Sagarin SOS ranking: 4, AP ranking: 6

The computers like Clemson's schedule so far. The JQ eyeball test isn't quite so sure. 

The win against Auburn looks good, but how impressed should we be with wins over Louisville and Virginia Tech at this point? Are the Tigers paying enough for the loss to a 4-4 Syracuse team? What role did Kelly Bryant's injury play in all of this?

Sure, Clemson has "looked the part" for most of the year, but are we overvaluing the eyeball test a bit at the moment?

Bottom line: smells like brand bias to me. 

JQ's verdict: Too high

5. Oklahoma - Sagarin SOS ranking: 28, AP ranking: 8

Oklahoma has one of the more impressive wins of the season against Ohio State on the road, and they'll have two more chances to collect wins against the committee's top-25 the next two weeks: @ Oklahoma State and TCU. 

While the Sooner's lone defeat was at home, and it was to Iowa State - look where the committee has the 'Clones ranked: #15. One fewer quality win in the eyes of the committee than Clemson, but a much better loss tells me a little something about the logic being used. I'd have Oklahoma at #4 personally, but they should have a chance to jump the Tigers if they keep winning. 

JQ's verdict: Too low

6. Ohio State - Sagarin SOS ranking: 37, AP ranking: 3

The Buckeyes can rack up the style points all they want, but Ohio State fans should be worried their team is behind the Sooners. Assuming both schools were to win out, head to head HAS to mean something when comparing these two teams. 

As it stands today, Ohio State will have just one game left against top 25 competition to impress the committee, perhaps two if Michigan can muster something the next few weeks. Would a Big Ten title game win over an undefeated Wisconsin team be enough to push the Buckeyes past Oklahoma, who could also have an additional top-25 win in the Big 12 title game? 

JQ thinks it'll be darn close. This is obviously a problem for not only the Buckeyes, but also the Big Ten. Ohio State could use some help along the way. 

JQ's verdict: Spot on

7. Penn State - Sagarin SOS ranking: 24, AP ranking: 7

In terms of making the playoffs, Penn State is likely cooked at this point. They'll need a ton of help just to reach the Big Ten title game, and with Notre Dame potentially figuring into the mix this year, it's highly unlikely a non-conference champion will get a shot. 

With the Rose Bowl hosting a semifinal game this year, a return trip to the New Year's Six is Penn State's most realistic path. So, so close - but just a bit short of the goal. 

JQ's verdict: Spot on

8. TCU- Sagarin SOS ranking: 46, AP ranking: 10

The Frog's resume features a lone top-25 win, and a lone top-25 loss. A trip to #5 Oklahoma looms in two weeks. 

TCU's best shot at glory? Consider this scenario: win out to reach the Big 12 title game, and hope Iowa State does the same. Would a revenge win over the Cyclones be enough to push them into the top four? If both Oklahoma and Oke State remain in the top-25, and someone else from the Big 12 crawls into the mix - it just might. There's some upside here. 

JQ's verdict: Spot on

9. Wisconsin: Sagarin SOS ranking: 69, AP ranking: 4

The Badgers are the first of two undefeated, yet "haven't played anybody" teams in the back half of the top ten. Wisconsin hasn't beaten a team anywhere near the committee's top-25 yet, and may not have that shot until the Big Ten title game. The Badgers need to hope Michigan gets their act together and finds their way back into the rankings. 

The real question here becomes, would the committee, in all their wisdom, really leave out an undefeated Power 5 champion? Hmmm....

JQ's verdict: Spot on

10. Miami - Sagarin SOS ranking: 44, AP ranking: 9

Despite not having any notable wins in the eyes of the committee thus far, and being ranked being Wisconsin at the moment, the 'Canes have one distinct advantage over the Badgers. The next two weeks, Miami will face top-25 competition in the form of Virginia Tech and Notre Dame.

In order to avoid the same scenario the Badgers could find themselves in, it would help Miami's case if the Hokies continue to play well, should the 'Canes beat them. It feels like there's a more reasonable path for Miami to make the playoff. 

JQ's verdict: Spot on

Missing in action: The Pac-12

There's always going to be at least one Power 5 league that misses the playoff, and this year is sure looks like the Pac-12 will be stuck in that position.

Washington (#12) is the best hope, and while they'll have two more shots at top-25 teams (Stanford, Washington State) prior to the Pac-12 title game, both of those schools are ranked 20-25. If the Huskies were undefeated at this point, they'd likely find themselves in the same boat as Miami and Wisconsin, but a 13-7 defeat to Arizona State likely did them in.

It'll take a lot of help to get the Pac-12 a seat at this year's table. 

 

Contact the writer: 

Joe@AM590ESPNRadio.com

Twitter: @JoeESPN590